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Colombians offered a virtual education

Thirty universities and higher education centers in Colombia are offering over 150 online programs, to benefit inhabitants in some of the country’s remotest regions as part of the Campaign for Virtual Higher Education. So far, the offer of online distance-learning courses extends to 154 programs, among them 41 technical courses, 40 technological courses, 21 undergraduate degrees, 48 specializationsand six master’s degrees.

«The online programs constitute a realistic alternative route to expand the possibilities of higher education for many people who would otherwise not have access to it,» said Education Minister Cecelia Maria Velez.

Velez confirmed that the costs vary and depend on the institution, but in many cases are more economical than face-to-face programs.

The campaign «seeks to motivate more Colombians to continue their education over a lifetime and promote an increase in the number of students in higher education, maximizing the benefits offered by new Information Technologies and Communication.»

Those interested can find information through the portals, www.colombiaaprende.edu.co orwww.mineeducation.gov.co, which list all the programs and universities, as well as conditions for application and course methodology.

Access to higher education in Colombia is lagging behind by international and regional standards. Current enrollment rates do not meet the country’s needs in terms of technological and economic development. Last year Colombian students staged a number of demonstrations in protest against the country’s tertiary education system. In one incident the rector of the National University in Bogota was held hostage for five hours by students until authorities arrived.

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