Compulsory Education Age
5–15 years old
The issue of homeschooling is far from being a mainstream topic of interest for educational authorities in Columbia. However, the Ministry of Education has begun watching the movement closely: looking for experts and people involved in homeschooling and alternative education, talking to them, and gathering information.
The ministry plans to have guidance and policies written by 2022.
Homeschooling is not a legally recognized issue in Colombian legislation; as such it is neither forbidden nor encouraged. There is no mention about homeschooling in any law, although some laws do address mandatory education, including ages and grades. This can be confusing for the state officers who believe education is only achieved through public schooling. Very few have heard about homeschooling and not all of them believe it's legal, leaving it largely ignored. If parents decide to homeschool, they are not required to inform authorities, nor do their activities receive any kind of supervision. A joint research group of the main Colombian Public University, National University of Colombia, and Oviedo University in Spain have been conducting an investigation about “education without schools” in Colombia, for which they are asking families to complete a 100-question survey. The number of families involved is uncertain.
Homeschooled children can remain completely outside the public school systems, even if they decide to enter into higher education. In order to do so, pupils must take a nation-wide state scholastic test (Saber 11) which is a prerequisite for entering higher education, granting the title of Bachiller (“Bachellor”). This test is administered by a national government agency. In order to register for the test, pupils must be 18 years of age or older, but they are not required to be enrolled in any educational institution. As long as their test result matches the admission requirements of the higher education institution of their choice, they can be admitted. This is regulated by the National Decree 299 (2009).
Pupils of any age or grade level can also re-enroll in public school if they have been out of the system for any reason. This is done via a special process called validación (“validation”), recognized by the law as a special variety
of formal schooling. Although designed to be an entrance mechanism to formal education for children left out of the school system for reasons as varied as forced displacement due to armed conflict, extreme rural isolation, the repeated failure of
a grade level in the private school system, or any other exceptional circumstance, validation is an entry mechanism that can also be used by homeschooled children. Public and private institutions offer validation programs that also allow pupils to
skip any given grade level, or to take two or more grade levels in a given school year. National Decree 2832 (2005) establishes regulations for this process.
Ana Paulina Maya
World School Colombia
Comunidad de Familias Cristianas Educadoras en el Hogar
Contact: Alvaro Giraldo and Melissa Uribe
Calle: 165 #54-90 Bogotá
Phone(s): +573202322953 and +573102426353