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Fundación Escuela Nueva

We're an NGO that contributes to improve the quality, relevance and efficiency of education through the Escuela Nueva Activa model.

Escuela Nueva, meaning 'New School' in Spanish, transforms the conventional school model by rethinking the teaching and learning processes to ensure that every child, everywhere, receives high-quality, accessible and relevant education. We contribute to improve the quality, relevance and efficiency of education by rethinking the way we learn.

Hall of Fame


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Hall of Fame

HundrED 2021

HundrED 2020

HundrED 2019

HundrED 2018

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Target group
Students basic
March 2024
A child-centered education model that puts cooperative, constructive, personalized and active learning over memorization and passive learning and empowers children as part of a selfgoverning community

About the innovation

What is Escuela Nueva?

Children have the right to basic education in most countries. Despite this, there are some areas where access is not guaranteed, particularly for children from more deprived backgrounds or isolated areas.

In rural areas of Colombia, ifchildren do have the opportunity to go to school, the quality of education may be lower than in more urban or wealthier areas. Many students attend multi-grade schools with a wide range of ages in a class. There has typically been an emphasis on lecture-like rote learning, with little relation to daily lifein rural areas. This inequality in education provision contributes to a continuous cycle of poverty and to wider social inequity.

Fundación Escuela Nueva was founded over 30 years ago to improve educational opportunities for the most vulnerable children in rural Colombia. What started as a grassroots project is now a large foundation influencing government policy inseveral developing countries. Their guiding philosophy is that education should be accessible, high-quality, and relevant to students.

Escuela Nueva teaching methodsincludesmall group working, dialogue, and cooperative learning. Children interact, collaborate, and learn with each other. Teachers do not stand in front of the classroom and lecture, but act as facilitators to guide discussions and support learnersas they work through their learning guide workbooks. Students are involved in every element of how the school operates. They make decisions about how and what they learn, promoting democratic values.

The learning guides are designed and adapted to ensure they are relevant and reflect the contexts in which students are living. There are activities for learning outside the classroom to enrich the curriculum and there is an emphasis on encouraging families to participate in education. The use of learning guides is flexible in order to meet the individual needs of the children who work through them at their own pace.

Ongoing teacher training is a core component of the Escuela Nueva model. Instead of a focus on theory and academic study, teachers are trained using the same methodologies as used in the classroom with the students. In this way, the strategies are modeled clearly to the teachers.

Such child-centered learning has been seen to improve academic achievement, reduce dropout rates and develop social ideals such as democracy and peace. In oneUNESCO study, Colombia was ranked second in the world for rural education provision. Some rural areas have even outperformed some urban schools. Successes in the rural communities have led to Escuela Nueva becoming the national policy for both rural and urban education in Colombia.

Fundación Escuela Nueva (FEN) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded by the creators of Escuela Nueva. FEN hasshared themodel across 40 countries and 12 countries have adapted and implemented the model through government policy reform and global partnerships.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

In Colombia alone, the Escuela Nueva model has been adopted in tens of thousands of schools, proving that fundamental changes to education can be made on a grand scale. Around 20 other nations have started using the Escuela Nueva model, including Vietnam, Uganda, India, Brazil, and the Philippines. Escuela Nueva has been developed to be easily replicable and scalable.

HundrED Academy Reviews

A transformative innovation within the formal, public, mainstream education system is what we need, and Colombia's EN shows to the world that is possible.

Proven track record, 3rd party evaluation of the innovation, grounded in strong educational research, Easily implemented, student focused. It's a winner!

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

Receive technical assistance and support

FEN aims to build a global movement focused on improving the lives and opportunities of the most vulnerable children and young people through quality education and will gladly support other organizations in furthering this goal.

FEN offers technical assistance and support in the full implementation of programs and the development of customized educational solutions -in various contexts- in the principles and strategies of Escuela Nueva Activa.This begins with an initiation workshop, which is followed up by the provision of Learning Guides, training on how to use the Learning Guides,monitoring visits, andsupport sessions (both on-site and online).

Affect change within schools
The most crucial step is to integrate the principles of the Escuela Nueva Activa model in more schools around the world.

Escuela Nueva is a model of active, cooperative, self-paced learning and experiential teacher training. By shifting the focus of education to the learners, the model promotesan active, reflective and participatory learning process. Teachers act as facilitators of learning rather than presenters of facts. The role of supervisors, andprincipalsis seen as orienting rather than controlling, serving as a motivator for teachers to continue the innovation. Partnerships between teachers, learners, and the local community are promoted, offering parents, relatives, and the community at large the opportunity to participate in school activities.

Create a connected community
The creation of a learning community to generate and manage knowledge amongstFEN's coalition of partners is central to the project.

FEN connects their partners to generate interactions and exchanges, shareexperiences and good practices, to create publications andpromote academic events. As well as this, FEN works to foster strategic alliancesacross various sectors that help to consolidate the Escuela Nueva Activa movement, and finance the development of strategic projects.

Research and evaluation to measure impact and innovate

FEN promotes research and evaluation around the principles developed by the Escuela Nueva Activa model -in partnership with institutions and academics- to measure impact, innovate, and promote continuous learning.

FEN works with the education community tocontinue designing metrics and indicators for implementation, instruments for monitoring and measuring non-cognitive and academic dimensions.

Spread of the innovation

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