The Ministerio de Educacion Nacional (Ministry of National Education) has complete authority over the educational aspects ofColombia, and it puts forward the principles for both civic and private edification at all levels. The Columbian government provides for around 85% of elementary education, 60% of secondary education and 40% of higher education. In recent years, research has shown that there are 375,951 students attending preschool, 4,386,398 students going to elementary school. 2,425,496 students present in secondary schools and 475,000 students registered in higher education.
Education inColombiais divided into the following categories:
- Preschool Education (Educación Preescolar)
- Elementary Education (Educación Primaria)
- Secondary Education (Educación Media)
- Higher Education (Educación Superior)
Private schools play an important role in the Colombian educational system. They are chiefly operated by a variety of religious and private sector organizations. There are two academic calendars: “A” and “B”. Calendar “A” is used by most of the country and is divided into two cycles or semesters. The first semester lasts 18 weeks, starting in February and finishing in June. The second semester lasts 20 weeks, opening in July and concluding in November. Calendar “B” is used in the southern states of Valle,Cauca, Nariño andPutumayo, where the first semester of the calendar starts in September and ends in December. The second semester begins in January and ends in June. Both calendars follow a 198-day school year. Fundamental primary education lasts for five years, followed by one year of pre-school education. A new system is gradually being brought in which restructures the education system with reference to periods of basic education. Triumphant completion of studies leads to the Bachillerato in the field of the student’s choice. As said, “higher education is provided by university institutions, Institutes of Technology, Technical Professional Institutions andMilitaryAcademies. The first three types include both official and private institutions. In university institutions, each faculty is divided into departments. Distance education is provided by universities and regional centres” (Colombia: Education System. p.1).
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