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    Colombia: an attractive destination for higher education, research and learning Spanish

    Alliance - Promoting Colombia as a destination for Higher Education Quality and as a campus for teaching Spanish.

    This Alliance aims at promoting Colombia as a destination for high quality tertiary education and as a campus to learn Spanish with a rich cultural experience.  This is an initiative launched together among Colombian governmental entities, such as Marca País, the Ministry of Education, ICETEX COLCIENCIAS and Instituto Caro y Cuervo, and accredited higher education institutions, grouped in the consortium called “ Colombia Challenge Your Knowledge CCYK”. The proposal “The Answer is Colombia” aims at showing Colombia as an attractive destination for higher education, research and learning Spanish.

    These are the allies integrating this initiative:


    Marca País Colombia resulted from a joint effort of the Colombian Government and the private sector with the purpose of showing the world why the answer is Colombia. It is responsible for promoting the great moment Colombia is going through and show the world what Colombia really is.

    The strategy to promote the country internationally is not focused only on a single aspect, but seeks to create a comprehensive image of the country on issues such as culture, environment, exportation, tourism and investment.

    Colombia is a country that has become a worldwide reference thanks to the talent and entrepreneurship of Colombians. This has led us to success in recent years in terms of security, economic and social development, foreign investment, foreign trade and tourism. The campaign slogan associated with this new brand campaign, The Answer is Colombia, seeks to present facts that are unique and a about Colombia is the answer. This campaign has room for all the subjects in which Colombia is giving solutions to the world. So this time we can say that regarding higher education, the answer is Colombia, for its innovation, technology and academic structure.

    Genoveva Pombo will participate in this Fair on behalf of the Marca País Colombia.



    The Ministry of Education is working to facilitate the insertion of Colombian tertiary education in an international context, maintaining quality and relevance conditions, by promoting the internationalization of higher education institutions  from Colombia and better positioning the Colombian Quality Assurance System.

    The Internationalization of Higher Education project works on three aspects: ( i ) the promotion of Colombia as a destination to access high quality tertiary education and a campus for learning Spanish; ( ii ) the improvement of internationalization projects in Colombian Higher Education institutions; and ( iii ) the creation of better conditions for internationalization, through agreements to facilitate academic mobility and cooperation between Higher Education Institutions and Colombian peers abroad.

    People who participate in this Fair on behalf of the Ministry of Education are:

    Natalia Jaramillo, Head of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation office and Yeni Jiménez Foreign Language Competencies Development Project.



    This entity, which is part of the Ministry of Education, is a financial institution of the State, of a special nature, which promotes and funds access, retention and graduation in higher education in Colombia and abroad through educational loans and international cooperation resources. ICETEX has a criteria to allocate credit which takes into account equity, coverage, quality and relevance, prioritizing low-income population and academic merit; to contribute to social and economic development.

    ICETEX within its portfolio of products and services has Scholarships for Colombians abroad in order to advance undergraduate and graduate studies. It also has a Reciprocity Program for foreigners in Colombia and scholarships for foreigners who wish to access Colombian higher education institutions in high-quality programs. It also grants mobility opportunities for teachers and researchers through the Invited Teachers Program, in which we host visitors for short stays in Colombian Universities..

    Diana Gomez will participate in this Fair on behalf of ICETEX


    Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation – COLCIENCIAS

    National Department of Science, Technology and Innovation- COLCIENCIAS – is a governmental body in charge of policies regarding Science and Technology. They promote research consciousness and innovation, increase human capital for science, and consolidate the different research institutions in the country.

    This institution coordinates the National System of Science, Technology and Innovation SNCTI. It also creates synergies and interactions for Colombia in order to foster a science, technology and innovation culture.  COLCIENCIAS promotes the scientific devolvement of Colombia and works together with the academic community of the country and generates capacity building projects with national and international stakeholders.

    COLCIENCIAS identify the strategic programs for the country’s development and generates alliances with international partners focusing on research and innovation

    The person representing Colciencias in this Fair is Libardo Gutierrez, Office of Internationalization.


    Instituto Caro y Cuervo – ICC

    Created in 1942, the ICC is a center of higher education learning under the Ministry of Culture, dedicated to scientific research in Linguistics, Philology, Literature, Humanities and History of Colombian culture.  This institute is also a higher education institution for teacher training and teaching specialists in these disciplines.

    Along its seventy years of foundation in Colombia, the ICC has achieved international recognition for the quality of its research and projects: “Building and regime Dictionary of the Spanish language”, “The Linguistic – Ethnographic Atlas ALEC Colombia”, “Colombia and indigenous languages, a descriptive view”. Based on these works, the institute has received important international awards as the Prince of Asturias ( 1999) Award, the Award Bartolomé de las Casas (2001 ) and Elio Antonio de Nebrija Prize (2002 ) .


    Created in 2011 by a Presidential initiative, this project leads the teaching and learning of Spanish as a foreign language (ELE ).  It aims to turn Colombia into the largest destination in Latin America to learn Spanish.

    These are the main work lines:

    1) Training of trainers -ELE – through academic programs such as a Diploma in Pedagogy and Didactics for teaching Spanish as a foreign language and the Masters in Spanish as a Foreign Language, which will be launched in 2015.

    2) Promoting Spanish courses at Colombian higher education institutions. At, you can find all the information you need to plan your stay in Colombia studying Spanish at the best Colombian universities.

    People who participate in this Fair on behalf of the Institute are:

    Carlos Jaramillo, Colombia ELE Program Coordinator and Gloria Viviana Nieto , Coordinator of Academic Initiatives Program ELE


    Red Colombia Challenge Your Knowledge (CCYK)

    Colombia – Challenge Your Knowledge® is an initiative of the network of 20 Accredited Universities of Colombia, supported by the Ministry of Education, ICETEX, Proexport, COLCIENCIAS and other strategic national allies to promote COLOMBIA as a destination for academic and scientific collaboration.

    CCYK’s main objectives are to promote and disseminate Colombian research, academic and outreach programs abroad, to strengthen the internationalization of these Accredited Universities, to study current trends in internationalization of Higher Education, and to promote quality processes in all Colombian higher education institutions.

    CCYK promotes active collaboration between Colombian Universities, making our country one diverse and increasingly integrated campus for national and international students, as well as a relevant and reliable partner for international academic collaboration.


     National Technical Services – SENA

    This initiative aims at encouraging the internationalization of SENA by promoting its status as a regional leader among technical training institutions. The workforce training is a key social, economic and productive factor for the development of the country.

    This internationalization strategy focuses on improving the quality and relevance of the programs SENA offers by reaching international standards. With the support of strategic partners and leaders in their field, this company is prepared to assertively respond to the challenges the labor market is currently facing. Thus, cooperation projects focus on transferring knowledge and technology in order to achieve excellence in both technical and general skills, and to contribute to the country’s competitiveness.

    This objective is achieved through a wide range of activities, for example, having a comprehensive professional development for trainees to develop soft skills; mastering a second language; and participating in international competitions. Furthermore, to meet the challenges of the productive sector, SENA does Research, and promotes Technological Development and Innovation by fostering applied research projects; promoting international exchanges; and offering technical assistance to international applicants. In addition, as a provider of Technical and Vocational Education, this alliance promotes international relations focusing on creating opportunities for dialogue and exchange with research institutes, universities, enterprises and institutions. SENA aims at exchanging good practices to obtain international certifications, reinforcing the integration of the country into the global economic dynamics.

    The person in charge of this initiative in SENA is Angela Galeano who belongs to the International Relations Office.



    COLFUTURO promotes, directs and sponsors graduate education for Colombian professionals through the Scholarships and Loans Program. This model has supported over 7,000 Colombians to conduct masters programs and doctoral studies in the best universities of the world.

    COLFUTURO is based on high standards criteria to select their beneficiaries. This entity has become a leading organization in selecting the best candidates and in evaluating the best graduate programs in the world.

    Besides the Scholarship and Loan Program, COLFUTURO has supported programs that promote international education at the highest levels such as Academic Advising, the Talent Recruitment Program and the Language Improvement Programs which offer assistance to applicants and prospective students who want to continue their studies abroad.

    Once they return from their programs, beneficiaries count on COLFUTURO Job Placement Program which aims at helping returning students to work for companies and organizations in the country.

    The representative from COLFUTURO in 2014 for the Nafsa Fair is Constanza Londoño.



    Colombian Quality Assurance System for Higher Education

    The Quality Assurance System (QAS) for Higher Education consists of three interrelated components: information, assessment and promotion.

    The assessment component has two levels:

    1. Qualified Registry: Is the instrument of the QAS through which the State verifies the mandatory fulfillment of basic conditions for quality academic programs and higher education institutions need to comply. CONACES is in charge of this.

    2. High Quality Accreditation: It is an act by which the State adopts and recognizes the quality of a program and institution. This is done through a highly complex process of evaluation in which academic peers are involved and thought a verification process carried out by the institution itself. The process of evaluation is related to the quality of its academic program, its organization and operation; and to the development of social functions. This accreditation is voluntary as it is established by Law 30, 1992 through which the public service of Higher Education is organized. The process of accreditation is under the responsibility of the National Accreditation Council.

    National Accreditation Council – CNA

    The CNA is an advisory board of the Colombian quality policy and an executor of the high quality accreditation processes for both academic programs (undergraduate and postgraduate) and higher education institutions. It is part of the structure of the Colombian Educative System, which complies with the educational policies defined by the Ministry of National Education and the National Council of Higher Education (CESU).

    Quality assurance procedures

    Main procedures

    • Accreditation of Undergraduate Programs in all levels of the educational level: Technical-professional, technological, face to face professional programs as well as virtual ones.
    • Accreditation of Graduate Programs: Master Programs, Medical-Surgical Specialization Programs and PhD Programs.
    • Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions (HEI)
    • Reaccreditation of academic programs and institutions of Higher Education.
    • Quality Enhancement

    Validity of the decision(s)

    Undergraduate, postgraduate and HEI are accredited for a period of 4, 6, 8 or 10 years depending on its quality level regarding three aspects:  self-assessment, peers concept and board judgment. In case the accreditation is not given, the program or institution can apply for a new evaluation two years after the previous decision has been made.

    Figures on QA/A procedures (2013)

    Undergraduate     754
    Postgraduate         42
    HEI                          28

    International activities

    Member of international quality assurance networks / organizations

    • RIACES

    External reviews, compliance with ESG/GGP

    The CNA has been reviewed twice:

    1-    2012: INQAAHE GGP
    2-    2012: ECA GP

    The person in who participates in this Fair on behalf of the CNA is Fernando Tellez, Internacionalization Coordinator


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