Education in Colombia
Education in Colombia includes nursery school, elementary school, high school, technical instruction and university education. A typical Colombian studies 11 years and attempts to complete the secondary level of education.
In the 19th century the education system in Colombia revolved around the Catholic Church.
Nursery school in Colombia 
Most of the 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. When children of Colombia learn how to read and write, they are usually transferred to the elementary school. 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.
Elementary school 
Elementary school comprises 5 years of formal education. Children usually enroll into grade 1, at age five. The net primary enrollment (percentage of relevant age-group) in 2001 was 86.7 percent. The completion rate (percentage of age-group) for children attending elementary school (primaria) in 2001 totaled 89.5 percent. In some rural areas, teachers are poorly qualified and drop rates are high. In urban areas, on the other hand, teachers are generally well prepared and knowledgeable of their profession.
Due to the insufficiency of existing institutions to accomplish the full coverage of the children's population, the public education system has adopted the "automatic promotion" as standard practice (Decreto 230 de 2002), yet the teachers know little to nothing to teach these students which makes them much less educated than many schools in the U.S.A. Schools also are almost an entire year long, running from the last week of January until the last week of November, with a three-week break in June, and another week break in early October.
High school 
Secondary and fourth education is divided in basic secondary (grades 6 to 9) and mid secondary (grades 10 and 11). Net secondary enrollment in 2001 was 53.5 percent. School life expectancy in 2001 was 11.1 years. Mid secondary school is usually referred to 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 pre-school and elementary teaching. Traditional academic school, however, represents most of the offer in urban areas.
In order to access college or technical education, high school students must write the State Test "pruebas de estado" provided by Instituto Colombiano para el Fomento de la Educación Superior - ICFES.
University education 
Superior education is divided into under-graduate degrees and post-graduate degrees and is regulated by the 30th law of 1992. Most of the university degrees are 5 years long. Technical formation usually lasts 3 years. Post-graduate education includes specializations, masters and PhD programs.
Education for Employment and Human Development 
Education for Employment and Human Development is regulated by law 1064 of 2006 and the 2888 decrete of 2007. This kind of Education provide a degree of Technical Education, provides skills and talents to improve the level of subsistence. Education for employment involves technical skills necessary to the performance of work through the formation of "labor competences", which is a Colombian strategy to standardize and certify human resource, expanding and diversifying the formation and training of human resources. It includes the education provided by the enterprises to their employees. The Colombian government promotes this kind of education as an alternative for the university education, which is not accessible for the majority. Some institutions that provide this services are : SENA (national service of learning); CESDE; ANDAP; INCAP among others.
Non profit organizations working to fill the education gap in Colombia 
There are hundreds of well-run non profits in Colombia that are helping to close the education gap. To support their efforts, the Colombian diaspora has begun to organize and channel resources to them from the United States. One of the largest examples is the Genesis Foundation. Other organizations like Colombia Progresa raise scholars the education of kids in Colombia.
- (Spanish)Ministerio de Educación Nacional de Colombia
- Portal Educativo del Ministerio de Educación Nacional, Colombia Aprende
- ICFES - Instituto Colombiano para el Fomento de la Educación Superior, organismo que regula la educación superior en Colombia.
- ICETEX - Instituto Colombiano de Crédito Educativo y Estudios Técnicos en el Exterior
- SENA - Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje
- ANDAP - Academia Nacional de Aprendizaje
- World Bank; Colombia