Due to a national shortage of education facilities the Colombian government has adopted an automatic promotion
policy. Despite this, many Colombians compare their standards favorably with those of America. From age 1 onwards children are seen in community daycare and nursery schools sponsored by the National Institute for Family Welfare. At age 6 they enroll at elementary school. Standards in rural areas compare badly with city ones where teachers are far better qualified.
Secondary education is divided to 4 years of compulsory basic secondary education, grades 6 to 9, and 2-year non-compulsory stage known as Middle Vocational Education (Educacion Media Vocacional), grades 10 and 11. Vocational Education offers different specializations (technical, business, arts, and others, including purely academic programs), and mostly available in urban areas.
Education for employment and human development aims to provide employees with technical skills that can help them improve their standard of living. The base model is a set of human competencies
on which employers and colleges build their training programs and curricula. This is a fundamental focus point of government because of an acute shortage of university places.
The Colombian higher education system comprises technical institutes, and technological and academic universities. Most of these align with government programs with the exception of those with church affiliations. Academic strata include undergraduate degrees, graduate programs, masters degrees and doctorates.
Sadly, access to tertiary education currently remains restricted to the sons and daughters of wealthy city dwellers. Until this changes, a tertiary education remains a dream for children trapped in rural squalor.