School eBook Chapter-Columbia
The Republic Of Colombia is located in the northwestern part of South America, bordered on the east by the Caribbean Sea and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. They are the 27th largest country in the world and have the second largest Spanish speaking population after Mexico. The government is representative democratic, with three branches and an elected president, similar to the United States. The capital of Colombia is Bogota. I choose this Colombia because I thought it sounded interesting and I did not know much about it before this assignment.
Colombia spends approximately 5% of its gross national income on education (www.nationmaster.com). This is higher than average for South America. Even so, urban schools tend to be very overcrowded and rural schools generally will have inadequate facilities. Also, teachers in those areas have a tendency to not show up for classes. Many of the teachers are terribly unqualified. A study conducted by Universidad de La Sabana found that teacher’s education generally had no relationship to what they were actually teaching (Carmargo). Also, rural areas may only offer the first five years of schooling (www.compassion.com).
The average school year runs from February to November. Basic education is required starting with preschool. Even so, the enrollment rate for preschool is approximately 38%. Enrollment for primary is 84% and secondary is 55% (www.bgcenter.com). This is due mainly to the cost of tuition in the secondary level and above. Also, there are relatively few schools in rural areas. Primary basic is from first through fifth grade, or 6-10 years old. Secondary basic education is from sixth to ninth grade. After this, students are placed into Middle vocational schools that run 10-11th grade. Depending on the curriculum, there are different specialties such as business, academic, or technical training. In their final year of Middle education students take a test called the Saber 11, a standardized test similar to the SAT. The test can be taken as many times as necessary to pass. Passing this test allows access to the universities and private colleges. At the end of their schooling the student is awarded the title of Baccalaureate (www.nationmaster.com).
Colombia’s laissez-faire attitude toward education is having a negative effect on its economy. Children in rural communities are not getting past the basic primary education, which dooms them to very low paying jobs. Most families in these areas cannot afford tuition, so they send them to work. The military has been known to take some of these children and turn them in to spies and informants for the government. Teachers have disappeared due the armed internal conflict that has plagued Colombia (Price). Teachers are not held in high esteem, and the country is constantly trying to recruit teachers from other countries.
By the time students get to college, the biggest problem they have is access to financial aid. The average cost of college in Colombia is 100000. Only one in ten has the ability to acquire financial aid assistance (Melguizo). This puts the average college dropout rate around 36%.
Colombia is struggling…