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| 6/8/2010 12:00:00 AM

Educating all in Colombia

June 8--A court ruling opens the door to free, compulsory primary schooling.

While politicos and Latin America analysts have been preoccupied with next month's presidential race in Colombia, a truly historic development has gone almost unnoticed. Thanks to the work of the Cornell Law School International Human Rights Clinic, Colombia has joined the ranks of nations that provide free and compulsory primary school education. Four years of work by the clinic and by the Colombian Coalition for the Right to Education came to fruition last week when the Colombian Constitutional Court ruled that charging tuition for public elementary school was a violation of the Colombian Constitution.
 
The immediate result of the ruling is that thousands of children for whom fees were an insurmountable barrier can now go to school. Ideally, the decision could also lay the foundation for the social and economic mobility that has long been missing from Colombian society. Even on a continent where the gap between rich and poor is among the widest in the world, Colombia's economic inequality is extreme: Political power, corporate might, arable land and vast wealth are controlled by a tiny minority. One factor in maintaining multigenerational poverty has been limited access to schooling for poor children.
 
Read more here.
 
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EDICIÓN 1855

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