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Reviews of National Policies for Education: Tertiary Education in Colombia 2012

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In Colombia, the beginning of a new century has brought with it a palpable feeling of optimism. Colombians and visitors sense that the country’s considerable potential can be realised, and education is rightly seen as crucial to this process. As opportunities expand, Colombians will need new and better skills to respond to new challenges and prospects.

The government is therefore determined to address key challenges confronting tertiary education in the country: expanding enrolment and improving equity, increasing quality and relevance, and making governance and finance more responsive. Colombia has more than a decade of progress under its belt, and the energy to reach ambitious policy goals. Getting there in practice will involve dialogue and consensus-seeking among all stakeholders, as well as new resources and new rules.

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Vision, structure, governance and management of the Colombian tertiary education system

This chapter examines Colombia’s vision for tertiary education, and how well the Colombian tertiary system is organised in terms of its overall structure, governance and management systems.

The chapter begins with a discussion of the reforms the government proposed to Law 30 in 2011, the debate that followed, and what that debate revealed about public attitudes towards tertiary education. It closes with a summary of recommendations, including the need to (i) review and simplify the current hierarchy of tertiary degrees and qualifications, and create clear and transparent pathways to higher-level programmes and qualifications; (ii) review the supply of and demand for tertiary education graduates at all levels; (iii) integrate SENA more fully into the tertiary education system; (iv) agree an accountability framework; and (v) build national goals into institutional decision-making processes.

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