Publication: Education Reform in Antioquia : A Relevant Experience for Colombia

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Laverde, Marha
Faced with alarming results, the Government of Antioquia, oversaw the preparation of the Quality Improvement for Basic Education Project by the Secretariat of Education and Culture, which together with the Pasto Project, this Bank operation covered the neediest municipalities, and, was among the first decentralized education loans in the country and, indeed, in the Latin America region. This note examines the project that encouraged the decentralization of educational services, and closer coordination between the Department of Antioquia, the mayors, and members of the municipal councils. This is particularly impressive considering that these changes were introduced prior to the enactment of the new decentralization law (Law 715 of 2001). Its positive results allowed Antioquia to share some useful lessons with the rest of the country, notably that decentralization can work when there is sufficient support facilitate the management of the education system investment, in its development at the level of the department, and municipalities. To facilitate the replication of this experience, the project team designed, and applied a Participative-Collaborative Technical Assistance model. Some innovative approaches were also adopted to address the prevailing, low coverage rates, which included "hiring" school places from private, non-profit schools run by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and rationalizing teacher deployment and student-teacher ratios. The evaluation of the project revealed that the private sector schools, contracted by the Department were able to continue offering quality educational services, and, the project was instrumental in empowering all actors in the education community, and in ensuring the smooth implementation of the quality improvement actions. The education culture has been affected positively in Antioquia; society has become aware that investment, and public attention in this area is the best way to achieve social and economic progress, and thus face the challenges of a changing and globally competitive world.
Laverde, Marha. 2004. Education Reform in Antioquia : A Relevant Experience for Colombia. en breve; No. 43. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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