This method has been used in Colombia since the 1970’s and has been getting more international attention including recently being highlighted in this New York Times column.
The foundation Escuela Nueva is located in Bogotá Colombia, they develop modules based on research about rural sector needs. Escuela Nueva has been adapted for 16 Latin American countries as well as Vietnam, East Timor and Zambia
Many studies have shown that this method is effective in rural settings, because it allows students to learn at their own pace and teachers to manage students at different levels.
We wanted to see if this program was really effective and how students, teachers, parents and administrators felt about education under the system.
The school is set in a lovely rural environment and the students come from all backgrounds. We talked to parents who told us:
Elementary level teachers told us:
We also talked to the school director, who pointed out that children with disabilities are included in regular classrooms and other students help them achieve positive results. We also observed several students with disabilities who appeared to be fully part of the groups working on the modules.
The children had a lot to tell us as well.
Our conclusion is that, at least at the school we visited, escuela nueva is well-received by everyone involved in the school process. The students participate in the same national tests and perform as well as students from urban districts. The model is well adapted to the rural environment, and allows students to have an opportunity for a better education than would otherwise be possible.
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