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    In higher education and research, the answer is Colombia

    Education is the best investment countries can make, because they secure both their present and their future.

    Colombia has set an ambitious goal: to position itself as the best educated country in Latin America by 2025.

    This major national purpose acknowledges quality education as the most solid foundation on which to build a country at peace that achieves equality. A country that guarantees equal opportunities for all children and young people regardless of their economic conditions. A quality education that contributes to shape better human beings, to transform their lives and to make their dreams come true.

    Thanks to the progress made in terms of coverage, more and more young people have access to higher education in Colombia. In 2016, 2,380,000 students enrolled in higher education courses.

    Natalia Ruiz Rodgers, Vice Minister of Higher Education, states that thanks to the programs and efforts made by this ministry, the most recent measure for high quality coverage rate (in 2015), which accounts for the population served by higher education institutions (IES, for the Spanish original) or by programs with high quality accreditation, was 15.7%. It is estimated this will increase to 16.9% in 2016.

    “Additionally, in 2015, the rate for immediate transition to higher education was 37.4%, so for every 100 high school graduates who finished secondary education in 2014, 37 immediately transitioned to higher education in the following year” says the Vice Minister Ruiz.

    Thanks to this, she says, the university dropout rate was down 3.8 points, going from 12.9% to 9.08% (preliminary figure) in 2016. For those pursuing bachelor’s degrees technical professions and for vocational technicians, this rate was 17.15% (preliminary figure) last year.

    “Ser pilo paga” (Being Smart Pays Off)


    Another successful program to promote higher education is “Ser pilo paga” (Being smart pays off) which, by December 31, 2016, had benefited 30,507 young people from 984 municipalities.

    An investment of COP 319,999 million collected from the Income Tax for Equality (CREE) were disbursed to support higher education in 2016. 79% of these resources (COP 252,172 million) were used to enhance the physical, technology and library infrastructure, COP 25,748 million were allocated to long-term strategic planning, COP 22,657 million were allocated to research projects and COP 19,416 million were destined to training educators.

    The Vice Minister also said that 2.9 trillion Colombian pesos were allocated to support operations in 32 public universities and that Stamp Taxes collected for these institutions amounted to COP 50 billion.

    “Without a doubt, we can say that in 2016 in all aspects of education in Colombia major steps were taken to improve. This is evidenced through increased coverage and higher quality. This is the Colombian Government’s goal, as it is aware that only through education can we build bridges that close gaps and achieve true peace to ensure a better country for our children and youth”, stated Minister Yaneth Giha.

    Entities Participating in NAFSA 2017:

    Ministry of National Education.

    The Vice-ministry of Higher Education was created as part of the organizational structure of the Ministry of National Education, with the reform introduced in higher education with Decree 2230 of 2003.

    The Vice-ministry of Higher Education supports the development and adoption of policies, plans and projects related to higher education in Colombia. This division is responsible for giving support to the Minister’s Office in the coordination and articulation of intersectoral relations with the bodies and agencies involved in the different roles of the system of quality assurance of higher education in the country.

    For more information please visit the  following link:


    ICETEX is the Colombian Institute for Student Loans and Technical Studies Abroad, which promotes the educational and cultural development of Colombia, particularly through student loans, as well as other national and international educational cooperation activities.

    For more information please visit the  following link:

    Colombia Challenge Your Knowledge

    Colombia Challenge Your Knowledge is a campaign of the network of accredited universities of Colombia in alliance with the Ministry of Education, ICETEX, Procolombia, 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, strengthen the internationalization of the Accredited Universities of Colombia, study current trends in internationalization, and promote quality processes in all Colombian higher education institutions. CCYK promotes active collaboration between Colombian Universities, converting our country into a diverse and increasingly integrated campus for national and international students, as well as a relevant and reliable partner for international education programs.

    For more information please visit the  following link:


    Colciencias, the  Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia, answers directly to the Presidency and leads the National System of Science, Technology and Innovation (SNCTI in spanish). The entity focuses its efforts in four specific areas: Education for research, Research, Innovation, and Mindset and Culture.

    For more information please visit:

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