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Unlocking the Future of Education in Colombia


Education is a key pillar of economic and social development. For every $1 spent on education, as much as $10 to $15 can be generated in economic growth. Yet, in many developing countries, education is facing a profound crisis. This project will address the problem in Colombia by supporting research that helps scale up educational innovations to improve teaching and learning.

The education deficit in Latin America
In Latin America, 48% of school graduates cannot understand a basic text, 62% are not able to perform simple calculations, and dropout rates are increasing. One of the reasons behind poor student performance is the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to education, which is unable to keep students engaged and is not meeting the needs of the knowledge economy.

In the last decade, a number of innovations based on information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been introduced to schools to address these challenges, but several have not achieved the expected results. Education technology experts believe the situation is now different, thanks to more recent innovations in the Internet and related technology.

Change on the horizon
Computers, mobile devices, and Internet services are now more affordable in Latin America. These technologies allow users to create platforms that can analyze large amounts of data (often referred to as big data). Big data can allow for the design of more personalized learning and let teachers track student performance in real time. Thanks to innovations like these, it is now possible to fundamentally change the structure of teaching and learning.

Innovations to spur success
The project will support research that can contribute to scaling up educational innovations that improve teaching and learning in Colombia. More specifically, the project aims to
-identify good practices to effectively integrate ICTs into the classroom
-test educational innovations and progressively scale successful ones by transferring research findings to other schools in the country
-propose appropriate policies to scale e-learning solutions
-build knowledge leaders to promote the effective adoption of ICT-based innovations in schools

A team of ICT in education experts at the Universidad EAFIT (Medellin, Colombia) will lead this project.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
30 months
IDRC Officer
Ben Petrazzini
Total Funding
CA$ 976,000.00
Networked Economies
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Project Leader
Claudia Maria Zea Restrepo
Universidad EAFIT