School in Colombia
In Colombia, a country located in South America according to allcountrylist, children go to primary school for five years. The secondary school lasts four more school years. Everyone learns together. And after another two years you can do the Abitur, which is called Bachillerato (pronounced: Batschiljerato) here. If you want to study at the university, you also have to take the ICFES.
Only a few children attend kindergarten. Every kindergarten year has its own name. The year before last is called children and is derived from the German word kindergarten. The children are around 3 to 4 years old. The year before school is called Transición, which means transition. The children are 4 to 5 years old. They start school when they are 5 or 6 years old.
Not everyone goes to school
97 percent of children go to school. So 3 out of 100 children do not go to school. Poverty is the main cause. Parents cannot pay for school books or the way to school. Or they want their children to help them around the house or in the fields. More children do not go to school (or leave school) in rural areas than in cities.
Subjects and grades
In primary school, all children learn to read, write and do arithmetic. In secondary school, there are subjects such as math, English, biology, sports, Spanish, arts, religion, technology and computer science, and social sciences. Statistics, philosophy and economics are added in the 10th grade, the upper level.
Each school in Colombia can determine the type of grading system itself. Most often a system from 0 to 5 or from 0 to 10. 5 or 10 are the top marks. You have to get at least a 3 or a 6 to pass.
It often happens that the classrooms are too small. Actually only 20 students fit in, but 45 children are in the class. It gets really tight then. A school uniform is common in most schools.
Not all children are fine
3.9 percent of people in Colombia live in extreme poverty and have less than $ 1.90 to live on a day. As many as 28 percent of all households are classified as poor. Of course, this also creates major problems for the children of these families. You have too little to eat or you don’t go to school. Large slums have emerged on the outskirts of large cities such as Bogotá or Medellín. Here people have neither electricity nor running water.
Violence, drugs and gangs
Because violence and drug crime are part of everyday life in Colombia, many boys and girls grow up with it. It often leads to them becoming criminals or drug addicts themselves. Or they join criminal gangs. Those who grow up with violence resort to violence more quickly than means. And without education and without any prospect of work, young people have no prospects. After all, the situation has improved in recent years. The state is fighting violence and drug traffickers harder than before.
Child labor is also a major problem. According to the law, children in Colombia are only allowed to work from the age of 15, and certain work is only allowed from the age of 18. However, 4 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 still work in Colombia. Slightly more boys (4 percent) than girls (3 percent) are affected.
Some of them are forcibly recruited and forced to work. The FARC, a guerrilla group, has recruited children and young people to fight for them or to work in the drug trade. Girls were used as couriers to collect protection money. In the meantime the FARC is being dissolved and so it is to be hoped that the situation will improve for the young Colombians too.
Most of the working children work in agriculture – on plantations for coffee, sugar cane or cotton – and on the streets, selling goods or begging. Others collect recyclable rubbish at the dumps. Girls often work as domestic servants. They often have to work 60 hours a week and sometimes they don’t even get paid for it. Working in the coal mines is particularly dangerous for health. Because coal, but also gold and emerald, is often extracted in illegal mines, children can also be used here.
Children on the street
Many of these children are street children. So you no longer have a home, but live on the street. In the city of Medellín alone, there are 25,000 children working and 11,000 children who are homeless. Most of the time they use drugs, many beg or steal. You sleep in the open air, for example in parks or under bridges. When they get sick they have no money for a doctor or for medicine.