Education reform in Colombia
Abstract. Public education is one of the largest components of the public sectorin Colombia, in term of its size, share of public expenditures, and geographic coverage. In 1997, Colombia had 85 thousand educational establishments, 390 thousand teachers, and 8.6 million students. In addition, public school teachers and educational staff comprise the highest percentage of public sector employment. During the last half of the 1980s, the Central government promoted a reorganization of the state administration to give municipalities a greater responsibility in financing and administering most public services. This paper examines various aspects of the public education system in Colombia and evaluates the impact of the educational reforms adopted in the last decade. Our empirical analysis suggests that with the exception of teacher salaries, which experienced a significant increase after 1994, the trends in several measures of educational outcomes are roughly similar both before and after 1994. It seems unlikely, therefore, that the education reforms had much impact on Colombia´s education system. The paper concludes by making a number of policy recommendations that could improve the allocation of resources in this large and important sector.
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