International Baccalaureate (IB) schools
Possibly the most popular and recognisable course offered at international schools in Colombia is the International Baccalaureate, or ‘IB’. There are 30 IB World Schools in Colombia offering one or more of the three IB programmes. Ten schools offer the ‘Primary Years Programme’, nine schools offer the ‘Middle Years Programme’ and 28 schools offer the ‘Diploma Programme’.
A detailed description of the aims and curriculum of each programme can be found on the official IB website, but we will describe what each entails in basic terms.
Designed for students aged 3-12, the Primary Years Programme aims to develop the child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in everyday life. It focuses on six transdisciplinary themes of worldwide importance, teaching knowledge and skills from six different topic areas with a particular emphasis on inquiry.
The Middle Years Programme encourages students of 11 to 16 to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. Focusing on intellectual challenge, it encourages young students to make links between their studies in traditional subjects and the real world. The MYP aims to develop communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement to allow students to integrate more easily into 21st century life.
Recognised and respected by the world’s leading universities, the Diploma Programme challenges students aged 16 to 19 by addressing their social, intellectual, emotional and physical well-being in order to prepare them for success at university and beyond.
On the website, prospective international students can filter search results by programme, country and even province to discover an institution with a course perfectly suited to them.
Other international schools
There is no shortage of international schools in Colombia, the majority are found in Bogota though there are some outside of the capital. Fees and the quality tend to be much the same across all the schools. While expensive in relation to the local market, fees in Colombia are on a par with a private education in the U.S. or Europe.
There are French, English, German or Spanish (castilian) speaking schools. Each one will follow the schooling model from the country they are affiliated with.
The following are examples of the different types of international school:
- American curriculum: Colegio Nueva Granada
- German school: Colegio Andino
- French school: Liceo Frances Louis Pasteur
- Swiss school: Colegio Helvetia
- Spanish (Spain) school: Colegio Reyes Catolicos
In Colombia international schools have a high proportion of local students as well as expat kids.
For information about specific schools in Colombia, we would suggest consulting the directory provided by UNCOLI, the Association of International Schools. Its website also contains information about activities and help for parents. You can download a list of all the bilingual and international schools in Colombia here.
Furthermore, there is a website called Los Mejores Colegios (The best schools) available in Spanish, aimed at informing parents of the best private schools in Colombia, whether they are religious, international, single sex, or mixed.