Bogotà - An innovative model of education centered on collaboration between teachers and families

Initiated in 1975 in rural Colombia, Escuela Nueva – “New School” in Spanish – is a learning model set up in response to problems of education, incomplete schooling, high dropout rates, high repetition, weak school-community relationships, low teacher morale, ineffective teacher training and the lack of children’s learning materials. Since then, it has been adapted to urban and migrant populations and adopted by 16 countries, reaching over 5 million children.

Escuela Nueva provides a cost-effective, replicable and scalable solution to improve quality basic education in low-income schools. Through its child-centred and collaborative learning approach, it transforms the traditional classroom and promotes entrepreneurial skills: learning to learn, lead processes, team work, decision-making.
Bottom-up, it impacts the entire education system by involving all stakeholders; top-down, through influencing education policy.

Students learn in small groups using interactive, reusable modules, designed to promote dialogue, critical thinking and application of knowledge to family and community. Modules allow students to advance at their own pace. Children use learning corners with local materials, a small classroom library and are organised in school governments with committees and instruments promoting participation. This has proved an excellent way of handling diversity in age, grade, gender and culture. Teacher training is experiential and teachers modify their role from transmitters of facts to facilitators and advisers of children. They support each other and promote positive attitudinal change through learning circles and local networks.

Future perspectives:

Escuela Nueva’s boldly original approach has enormous potential for implementation worldwide, within various educational levels and for addressing rural, urban and migrant populations’ needs. Its collaborative learning approach unlocks entrepreneurial skills and attitudes and strengthens life skills, curriculum and learning materials.

Featured partners and stakeholders:

Key stakeholders are also beneficiaries, such as children, adolescents, teachers, families, communities and education administrators.
Close partnerships with: Ministry of Education Colombia, Secretary of Education of Boyaca / Santander / Putumayo, etc., Ecopetrol, The National Federation of Coffee Growers, Motorola Foundation, Skoll Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, UNICEF, World Bank, Red Cross, Plan International, etc.