Colombian Education System
The Colombian education system is made up of: early childhood education, preschool education, basic education (five grades of primary and four grades of secondary), high school education (two grades and ends with the bachelor’s degree), and higher education. Education is compulsory for children aged between 6-14. The language of education is Spanish.
Educación básica (primary education) is compulsory for children aged 6-14, and is provided by both public and private schools. Programs has a nominal duration of 9 years, and are usually taken at a colegio or at a liceo or instituto.
Secondary education is divided in basic secondary (grades 6 to 9) and mid secondary (grades 10 and 11). The upper-secondary education (usually beginning at the age of 15 or 16) offers many different ‘tracks’, which all lead to their own ‘Bachiller’ after a curriculum of two years.
Admission to Higher Education
Admission to university higher education requires a Bachiller Académico/Comercial/Técnico certificate obtained by passing the state exam (Examen de Estado) administered by the Instituto Colombiano para la Evaluación de la Educación (ICFES).
Higher Education system
Higher education is being offered by private and public institutions. There are four different types: universidades (universities), instituciones universitarias or escuelas tecnológicas (university institutes or technological institutes), instituciones tecnológicas (technological institutions) and instituciones técnicas profesionales (technical training institutes).
Bachelor / Pregrado
The bachelor stage is called Pregrado. Pregrado programs take 4 to 7 years to complete. Upon completion the degree of Licenciado is usually awarded.
Master / Maestría
Admission to the Maestría requires an entrance examination and a Licenciado degree or professional qualification. Maestría programs have a nominal duration of 1 to 2 years and are concluded with a thesis. The degree of Magister is awarded upon completion, which offers direct access to PhD programs.
Doktor / Doctorado
Admission to Doctorado programs is only possible with a Maestría degree. PhD programs take an average of 4 years to complete.