Challenging Inequality through Education in Colombia


As Colombia emerges from decades of conflict, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos – winner of the 2016 Nobel peace prize –- has made education is one of the three main pillars of government policy. This is essential both to make the hard-won peace sustainable, and to overcome the enormous challenge of inequality.  

A project funded by UNDEF “Todos por la Educación (TxE) in Colombia” implemented by Fundación Compartir supports education as a priority for citizens and policy-makers alike. It positions highlights why education and civic responsibility are essential, while documenting the differences in educational outcomes between rural areas and urban areas, and how these differences entrench inequality and lead to division and tension.  

The project concentrates its effort in six areas: Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, Cartagena, Quibdó, and Manizales. It recently conducted a series of workshops (pictured) attended by the Secretary of Education, education experts from academia, region al partners, student representatives, teachers, and trade unionists. These workshops serve to shine a light on the economic injustices related to education at the national level and to show how understanding local needs is required to build a fairer education system.  

After the workshops, the project team produced its own investigative report on educational inequalities and their negative impact at the national and local level. The project is developing a comprehensive media strategy that will sustain and promote awareness on the link between education and inequality. The project goal ultimately is to produce social transformations through the empowerment of young people as key actors and influencers of public policy and development.