With its green hills and quaint valleys hidden under a layer of fog, the department of Antioquia in Colombia, looks very much like a landscape out of a fairytale. However, it was once the scene of violent conflict, which is still not over.
Between 2004 and 2006, about 163,000 people became internally displaced. If in 2005, 90% of children went to primary school, less than 50% of the young people went to secondary school in 2007.
But the department represents also 13% of the country’s GDP, the second most important department after the capital, Bogota, according to 2011 government numbers, and represents thus a great potential for young people.
A project managed by Antioquia’s Secretary of Education and supported by the World Bank increased the opportunity for youth to receive quality education and acquire skills demanded by the labor market, thus improving their potential to pursue a higher education path or a successful career.
Through subsidies for students, grants for school and improved pedagogical methods, adapted to the youth’s living reality, almost 60% of young people in the 25 poorest municipalities of Antioquia went to secondary school in 2012 and almost 73% all over the department.
A little more than 82% of students of those enrolled finished school, compared to only 78% five years before. Almost 30% of the students go on to university, an increase from 23.3%.
International experts, brought together with the help of the World Bank, came to Antioquia to give workshops on how to teach students problem-solving, team work or conflict resolution in school.