Education in Colombia: Is There a Role for the Private Sector?

Latin AmericaThis article was written by Andre Izecson de Carvalho, Yiwen Looi, Fabio Saad and Joseph Sinatra, members of the Lauder class of 2014.

In recent years, the government of Colombia has faced several obstacles in its attempts to catalyze socioeconomic progress, not the least of which has been working to end a drug war and regain control of most of the territory that had been lost to guerrilla groups. However, as Colombia enters a phase of economic stability and growth, it faces yet another enormous challenge: offering high-quality education to its citizens.

All education systems share a common goal: to give their citizen-beneficiaries broad access to a quality education. Other cultural and structural similarities notwithstanding, the Colombian education system stands in stark contrast to most other Latin American countries. In Colombia, for-profit education is forbidden by law. Consequently, the task of providing access to quality education lies exclusively in the hands of the government and private, not-for-profit institutions. Given this scenario and the experience of other emerging economies, is there an opportunity for Colombia to reexamine the role of the private sector in its quest to continue improving educational quality and access?

Originally Published January 02, 2013 in Knowledge@Wharton

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