Escuela Nueva Model
What is Escuela Nueva?
Escuela Nueva is an educational model designed in Colombia in the mid 1970’s by Vicky Colbert, Beryl Levinger, and Óscar Mogollón to improve the quality, relevance and effectiveness of the schools in the country. The program was initially aimed at rural multi-grade schools where one or two teachers simultaneously teach all grades. These schools typically exist in areas with a low population density in both developed and developing countries. Escuela Nueva is today a globally recognized and proven social innovation that improves the quality of education. It benefits children, teachers, administrators, families, and the community through four interrelated components: the curriculum and classroom, community, training, and management.
With simple, concrete strategies, Escuela Nueva promotes a classroom environment where students actively learn, participate, and collaborate; and strengthens the relationship between the school and the community. It is a flexible educational model tailored to meet the needs of each individual child, allowing students to complete units and advance to higher grade levels at their own pace.
The Escuela Nueva model focuses on the child. It improves retention and academic achievement, lowers the dropout and grade repetition rates, and develops values and social skills of civic, democratic behaviors and peaceful coexistence.
In the eighties and nineties, Escuela Nueva had a significant impact on education in Colombia. According to an international comparative study conducted by UNESCO in 1998, other than Cuba, Colombia provided the best primary education in all of Latin America to children living in rural areas. Also, with the exception of some major cities, Colombia became the only country in which rural schools performed better than schools in urban areas.
In 1989 the Escuela Nueva model was recognized by the World Bank as one of the three most successful innovations that had impacted public policy around the world. Additionally, in 2000 the Human Development Report by the United Nations selected the Escuela Nueva model as one of the three greatest achievements in the country.