The literacy rate in Colombia was approximately
88% in 1987; 90% of children in the appropriate age-groups in
urban areas and nearly 70% of children in rural areas attended
primary school. Private schools account for 15 percent of the
enrollments at the primary level, 40 percent at the secondary-school
level, and 60 percent at the university level. The principal reason
for the rapid expansion of the education system was the massive
increase in public outlays for education (Colombia
- Education). In 2004 92.8 % of adults and 98.0 % of youth
are literate (UNESCO
statistics). Colombian diaspora has begun to organize and
channel resources to Colombia from the United States. One of the
largest examples is the Genesis Foundation.
The constitution provides that public education shall
not conflict with the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church;
courses in the Roman Catholic religion are compulsory. Private
schools have freedom of instruction, and there are a number of
Protestant schools, principally in Bogotá. The national
government supports secondary as well as university education
and maintains a number of primary schools throughout the country
Spanish is the dominant language of education. There
are 198 days of attendance.
Colombian educational system has three levels: preschool,
primary and secondary level.
Preschool level (38 % of children
Children over one year old are provided with daycare and nursery
school in "Hogares Comunitarios" (community homes) sponsored
by the National Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF acronym in
Spanish), where mothers from the community take care of their
own children, as well as the children from the immediate neighborhood.
There are also a large number of private kindergarten facilities,
but most of the time the high fees are very restrictive to the
average family (Wikipedia).
- Day Care and Nursery (children 1 to 5 years old)
- Preschool and Kindergarten (children 4 to 6 years
Primary level (84 % of girls
and 83 % of boys are enrolled)
- Grade 1 to 5. The primary education is mandatory
and free; it starts at 6.
Rates of attrition had decreased, and rates of graduation had
improved since the 1960s. The repetition rate had also gone
down slightly. Nevertheless, only 62 percent of those students
who entered primary schools in urban areas finished sixth grade,
and in rural areas the rate was just 18%. The variations were
quite large, ranging from 34% to 81% in urban areas and from
9% to 41% in rural areas. The grade repetition rates were quite
high, ranging from 20% in the first grade to 7% in the fifth.
Students in urban areas completed an average of 3.7 primary-school
grades, whereas those in rural zones completed an average of
only 1.7 grades (Primary
Secondary level (58 % of girls
and 52 % of boys are enrolled)
- Grade 6 to 9 - Basic secondary education. Inefficiency
and low quality were also major problems in Colombia's secondary
schools, although to a lesser degree than at the primary level.
At the secondary-school level, 55 percent of all teachers had
completed university studies, students used modern learning
aids in class, and teaching materials of high quality were generally
- Grade 10 to 11 - Mid secondary education.
Mid secondary school is usually refereed as Vocational school,
as there is a selection of technical, arts, and academic schools
to choose from. Technical schools offered specialized training
in industrial subjects (mechanics, industrial chemistry, welding,
farming) and commercial topics (accounting, office clerk). Other
schools specialize in religious studies (Seminar schools for
future Catholic priests), and teaching for preschool and elementary
teaching. Traditional academic school, however, represents most
of the offer in urban areas (Wikipedia).
Inclusive Education in Colombia