Opportunities and challenges to support out-of-school children and youth through Accelerated Education Programmes: Case Study of Colombia
Under the Accelerating Change for Children’s and Youths’ Education through Systems Strengthening (ACCESS) research project—led by the University of Auckland in partnership with the AEWG and funded by Dubai Cares under E-Cubed—this report presents findings from the first phase of research in Colombia. Key questions this phase of the research sought to explore are:
- To what extent does political commitment, capacity and will for institutionalising and integrating alternative and/or nonformal education (NFE) interventions such as AEPs exist within the national education system at present?
- Where are there current levers and opportunities for the AEWG to lead and/or support systematic change which would better promote increased access to AEPs for learners who need it?
Based on an extensive review of data and documentation from existing flexible education models (FEMs) in the country, a thorough review of national education policies and legislative frameworks, and interviews with key informants, key findings include:
- While official statistics are lacking, a significant proportion of the population are out of school. Flexible education models (FEM) are a formal education strategy to meet the needs of those young people, and can be adapted in a number of ways to fit the local context.
- Colombia has a strong legal framework around FEMs and the right to education for all, and a menu of FEMs are one way of guaranteeing that right. However, the flexibility of FEMs, which are developed and implemented at the local level, also poses a challenge in how to monitor, do rigorous follow-up, and ensure quality of FEMs.
- Given the high numbers of out-of-school children due to COVID-19, Venezuelan migration, and internal conflict, there is a need for FEMs; however, there are challenges with institutional support at the national and secretariat level to encourage the development of FEMs due to under funding, coordination issues, institutional capacity, and lack of opportunity for certain populations.
- The COVID-19 pandemic and new government entering office in mid-2022 provide an opportunity to prioritise FEMs, but greater coordination, collaboration, and understanding will be needed.
A think piece synthesis on some of the key findings from across the five countries researched in Phase 1 is available here.