Education System in Colombia


 EducationSchool/LevelGrade FromGrade ToAge FromAge ToYearsNotes
PrimaryElementary Level156126 
MiddleBasic Secondary6912153 
SecondaryMid Secondary 1011  2All students are required to pass the pruebas de estado test given by the Insituto Colombiano para el Fomento de la Educacion Superior (ICFS) in order to receive Bachiller (secondary school) diploma.
SecondaryVocational school  15183Vocational schools offer 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.
TertiaryUndergraduate    4students must pass the official entrance examination, El Examen de Estado (The State Examination).
TertiaryMaster's    2Graduate education includes specializations, masters and Ph.D. programs
TertiaryPhD    2 

Primary Education

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

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.

Vocational Education

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.

Tertiary Education

Colombia EducationThe 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.

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