Escuela Nueva Foundation ∗ Colombia

Source: Escuela Nueva Website

Escuela Nueva Foundation
Fundación Escuela Nueva
Quality Rural Education

Escuela Nueva Foundation is a social enterprise that works in spreading its pedagogic model for quality education in rural areas (especially in multi- grade and poverty-stricken schools), which has been already adopted in many countries.

The Escuela Nueva Foundation in Colombia is internationally recognized for its pedagogic model for quality rural education in rural areas, especially in multi-grade and poverty-stricken schools. The model has attracted the attention of many countries’ governments due to its success in raising school quality. This relates to a comprehensive focus on academic improvement, equity in educational opportunities, and the community’s involvement – the model counts, for example, with a Children’s and a Parents’ government that run the school.

Escuela Nueva operates as a social enterprise that generates surpluses to reinvest them in its social objective (to strengthen Escuela Nueva pedagogic model) and enlarge its area of impact. This has allowed it to reduce its dependency to external financial support.

Escuela Nueva sustains itself by selling the model to governments, NGOs, private schools, as a package of consultancy services. These include the settlement of pilot schools, the co-participatory adaptation of its prototype guides and learning materials (their methodological structure), and technical assistance (training to different stakeholders) for the application and implementation of the model and for the community’s involvement. This way Escuela Nueva capitalizes on its know-how on the systematization of school processes to promote stakeholder ownership of it, and on the adaptation of the model to different contexts, offering an educational solution to improve quality, effectiveness, equity, and sustainability of education.

Escuela Nueva also relies on other financial sources, including donations from different agencies sponsors, online donations, volunteer workers, visitors’ fees, and parity funds schemes with foundations.

Escuela Nueva doesn’t implement its model. It only provides technical assistance to already existing schools. Whatever their financial scheme, Escuela Nueva claims its model is in itself a tool to make schools highly self-sustainable because:

it is systemic – works with teachers, students, and parents in all educational aspects;

uses the promotion of social participation as its transversal dimension – all stakeholders participate in educational decisions, which motivates their ownership of the projects;

it is trans-sectoral – it promotes the formation of skills as the basis of entrepreneurship reducing rural children’s migration to the cities, and an emphasis is put on children’s application of their knowledge within their family and community;

it complements the training of local stakeholders with mechanisms for the discussion and dissemination of innovations;

it is cost-effective – although initial expenses are heavy not so the future incidental ones;

♣ it promotes interculturality – the national curriculum is reinforced but they place a strong emphasis on the relevance of education and the appreciation of rural life and local knowledge. This has immediate effects in the community’s life and, as a result, in the involvement of parents in the learning process.