“Todos a Aprender”: Colombia Puts Learning at the Center of its Education Policy

˙ PREAL Blog

This post is also available in: Spanish

While most governments in Latin America have begun to focus on education quality, Colombia is one of the few to put learning at the center of its education policy, set clear learning goals and develop specific steps to reach them. 

Indeed, the explicit objective of the country’s newly announced “Todos a Aprender” (Learning for All) program is to raise students’ reading and math scores on the national 3rd and 5th grade standardized examination by 25% in 3,000 of the country’s at-risk primary schools by 2014.

To accomplish this, the ministry of education will establish clear learning goals, regularly administer standardized tests, and help make teachers more effective by strengthening leadership at the school level, establishing learning communities, and providing tutoring by master teachers. “What we want as a government,” stated President Juan Manuel Santos in announcing the initiative “is to do all we can to ensure that our children are educated in the best way possible and with the highest possible quality.”

Although it is not clear how effective the combination of policies that Colombia has chosen will be, the government deserves praise for its clear focus on raising test scores, and its systematic approach to making that happen.

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