Opportunities and Challenges to Support Out-of-school Children and Youth through Flexible Education Models:

Case Study of Colombia

This report presents findings from the first phase of research in Colombia. Based on an extensive review of data and documentation from existing flexible education models (FEMs) in the country, a thorough review of national education policies and legislative frameworks, and interviews with key informants, key findings include:


  • While official statistics are lacking, a significant proportion of the population are out of school. Flexible education models (FEM) are a formal education strategy to meet the needs of those young people, and can be adapted in a number of ways to fit the local context.
  • Colombia has a strong legal framework around FEMs and the right to education for all, and a menu of FEMs are one way of guaranteeing that right. However, the flexibility of FEMs, which are developed and implemented at the local level, also poses a challenge in how to monitor, do rigorous follow-up, and ensure quality of FEMs.
  • Given the high numbers of out-of-school children due to COVID-19, Venezuelan migration, and internal conflict, there is a need for FEMs; however, there are challenges with institutional support at the national and secretariat level to encourage the development of FEMs due to under funding, coordination issues, institutional capacity, and lack of opportunity for certain populations.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and new government entering office in mid-2022 provide an opportunity to prioritise FEMs, but greater coordination, collaboration, and understanding will be needed.

Date: March 2022

Author(s): Ana María Restrepo-Sáenz and Daniel Agudelo-Navarro

Preferred citation: Restrepo-Sáenz, Ana María and Daniel Agudelo-Navarro. Opportunities and challenges to support out-of-school children and youth through Flexible Education Models: Case Study of Colombia. University of Auckland and Accelerated Education Working Group (AEWG), 2022.

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