Fundación Escuela Nueva: Pass or Fail – the Ups and Downs of Public Sector Innovation

Fundación Escuela Nueva: Pass or Fail – the Ups and Downs of Public Sector Innovation

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Abstract

FEN tells the riveting story of Vicky Colbert, a public servant turned social entrepreneur, who, over the course of four decades, transformed rural schools in Colombia through developing and scaling an innovative education model called Escuela Nueva. The Escuela Nueva model is a child-centred pedagogical model, developed initially for multigrade classrooms in rural Colombia and now applied to primary schools around the world. Through Colbert’s work in the 1970s-80s, the Escuela Nueva model was implemented in over 20,000 rural government schools in Colombia. However, a push for decentralisation in the country in the late 1980s and early 1990s resulted in a decline in the use of the model. As a result, Colbert and her colleagues established a non-governmental organisation, Fundación Escuela Nueva (FEN), to support and sustain the model. Today, the model has influenced the education systems of more than 20 countries in Latin America and worldwide.

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