The Colombia Education Policy Research Program aims to generate rigorous evidence to support education policies that increase educational opportunities for all students. The Colombia Education Policy Research Program works directly with education policymakers and changemakers in Colombia to innovate and test the most promising education initiatives throughout Colombia.
Current questions we are asking:
- How does receiving a voucher for private secondary school impact earnings and employment 30 years later?
- Do students have the necessary information to make decisions about their higher education options and financing? How can technology be useful in giving students more information?
- How can we address learning gaps between high- and low-income students in Colombia?
- How can we address the increased prevalence of mental health issues among students?
- Education Quality: Enrollment across socioeconomic groups has increased at all levels of the education system over the last few decades, especially in early childhood education and higher education. However, education quality remains a concern as efforts switch from increasing enrollment to focusing on learning outcomes. Colombia’s PISA scores are well below the OECD average, and the national SABER exam demonstrates gaps in achievement between high- and low-income students.
- Equity in Access: While there is a substantial, diverse offering of tertiary education programs (university, vocational and technical training, and others), students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds access higher education at a much lower rate than their wealthy peers. Reasons for this persistent gap are due in large part to financial barriers, a lack of information about higher education, and individual behavior. Colombia has the highest returns to higher education out of all the Latin American countries, but low-income students are not benefitting from this advantage.
Director, Center for International Development
Sumitomo-FASID Professor of International Finance and Development, Harvard Kennedy School
Photo credit: Matthew Rutledge. Bogota skyline (south half of the city) from 41st floor of the torre colpatria.