The Colombian education system

A system overview and calender

The Colombian education system

The literacy rate in Colombia is around 90%. Education is mandatory until middle school and most people continue to study until the end of secondary education. Since 2012, all mandatory stages of education have been provided for free, and are subsidized by the state.

The stages of education in Colombia are preschool; basic (primary and secondary or bachillerato); middle education and higher education. According to the PISA report, 47% of students obtain a result that is below the international average. Colombian education is not rated as highly as the Chilean or Mexican systems, but is regarded as being better than in Argentina.

In recent years, the Ministry of Education has taken action to improve the coverage of basic primary education in rural areas. Given the positive results of the program, they are now trying to improve the reach of secondary education in these areas as well.

Basic education in Colombia lasts five years. Secondary education lasts four, and middle education (vocational) lasts two years. After this, you will be awarded a diploma of bachiller when you complete a higher education course.

The Ministry of Education  offers several pages in English as well as a link to a Google translation of the site. You can click here  to get a general idea of the Colombian system for education.

School calendar and holidays

In Colombia, there are two school calendars - A and B. The usual calendar is A, which starts at the end of January and has four academic periods, finishing in November. There are holidays for Easter, in June-July, and a week in October. All official and public schools use calendar A. Private schools tend to use calendar B, which starts at the beginning of September, and finishes in June. Both calendars have a month or month and a half of holidays for Christmas.

Further reading

Does this article help?

Do you have any comments, updates or questions on this topic? Ask them here: