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Colombia's Targeted Education Voucher Program : Features, Coverage, And Participation

By King, Elizabeth

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Book Id: WPLBN0000015650
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 0.2 MB
Reproduction Date: 2005
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Title: Colombia's Targeted Education Voucher Program : Features, Coverage, And Participation  
Author: King, Elizabeth
Language: English
Subject: Economics, Finance & business, World Bank.
Collections: Economics Publications Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: The World Bank


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Laura Rawlings, Marybell Gutierreb, Carlos Pardob, And Carlos Torres, E. K. (n.d.). Colombia's Targeted Education Voucher Program : Features, Coverage, And Participation. Retrieved from


In 1992 the Government of Colombia initiated an educational voucher program for secondary education. Its aim is to increase the transition rate from primary to secondary education by addressing one of the constraints faced by poorer students -- the shortage of space in public schools, especially in large cities. The program does this by tapping into the capacity of private schools which were already enrolling 40 percent of students at that time.1 Now five years after it started, the program has involved more than one-fifth of the municipalities in the country and close to 2,000 private schools, and has supported more than 100,000 secondary students. It is undoubtedly one of the largest programs of its kind in the world. This report is the first phase of an evaluation of the program. The central government is currently examining its support for this type of public subsidy for secondary education. But whether it continues or not in Colombia, there are lessons to be gained from the design and implementation of such a major program for the future. In this report we first review the program features in detail. We then examine its coverage and the participation of municipalities and schools, using data we have compiled from various administrative sources. Finally, we discuss the determinants of program participation in order to assess its success in reaching its intended beneficiaries, using the econometric results obtained by a background study (King, Orazem, and Wohlgemuth 1997). An important feature of the program has been the exercise of choice by municipalities and schools, as well as students, in participation. Municipalities can choose to join the program or not, and those that do also agree to financing 20 percent of the cost of the voucher, a partnership that is consistent with the country?s ongoing policy of decentralization. Within participating municipalities, private schools must elect to join the program or not, and eligible students must apply to qualify for the voucher.


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