Planning Educational Change for the Primary Schools of Colombia

A Briefing

by Herbert S. Dordick

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An examination of ways in which Colombian and U.S. Agency for International Development educational planners can improve resource allocation to increase the quantity and quality of education in Colombia. This Memorandum presents the findings of a three-month pilot study that concentrated on the possible advantages of educational television for Colombia's primary school system. Three planning options were selected: (1) a minimal program, using present techniques and standards; (2) improvement of teaching quality through conventional means; and (3) improvement of teaching quality through the expansion of educational television (ETV). The most effective option is ETV, coupled with the training of presently unqualified teachers in the techniques of teaching with television. Expansion of ETV would require a broader coverage and an increased number of channels, which could be added to the existing network at $10-15 million each. The investment for ETV would be lower than for the conventional-means option, and not much higher than for the minimal-program option. The critical obstacle to educational improvement is lack of qualified teachers. By 1975, the second option would require a 12,500-per-year increase in qualified teachers, whereas with ETV, only 5,000 additional teachers would have to be trained per year and the use of associate teachers would eliminate unqualified teachers. Most of the $435 million cost to provide ETV in all primary schools would be allocated to higher teacher salaries, improved school facilities, and administration.

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