New School Fund: Back to the People

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New School Fund: Back to the People: Student-Driven, Context-Specific, Active Learning

Bogota, Colombia
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The New School Fund (FEN): Back to the People rethinks learning systems to improve the quality, relevance, efficiency, and sustainability of education. By adapting its innovative New School model to local community contexts, FEN aligns education with need.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if collaborative learning approaches could inspire cooperation, confidence and compassion?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Unable to design different solutions for diverse populations' needs, the Colombian education system forgets many children. FEN founder Colbert revolutionized this system, her New School model focused on students and communities. Amidst subsequent political volatility, however, the program's success has stagnated, leaving a growing number of children unserved by the education system, their futures left to the whim of political will.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

By creating its own education incubator, Volvamos a la Gente helps the Colombian education system remain unscathed in an environment of political turmoil. With Colbert’s expert guidance, the Fund supports existing New Schools, ensuring quality and integrity in implementation, while expanding its curriculum to address new populations and different contexts. For every school, the Fund works with students, teachers, administrators, and communities, alike, to transform conventional practices into children-centered, active, participatory, and collaborative learning approaches. Such curriculum inspires cooperation, confidence, and compassion, foundational values of an ethos of peace necessary to generating large scale social change.
Impact: How does it Work

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

From its beginning, the New School has transformed the Colombian education system. With the support of the Ministry of Education and World Bank, the New School’s rural curriculum was established in 30,000 schools reaching over 2.5 million students, such that UNESCO deemed Colombia’s rural education system a leader in Latin America. In addition to such institutional acclaim, internal diagnostics reveal that New School students have closer relationships with their parents and communities, noticeable by families around the region. but the Transferring this success to subsequent populations, the Fund has partnered with US AID and UNICEF to expand its impact to 8,700 displaced children and 9,200 tutors to date. Given the Fund’s success, the New School model has inspired and guided education reform in thirteen other countries, including Brazil, India, Mexico, and Vietnam.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Partnered with the Colombian Ministry of Education from the beginning, FEN lies at the intersection of government and citizen sectors. Such institutional support and nonprofit perseverance are a powerful combination for sustaining meaningful change. Expanding the network, FEN now partners with community groups, like the National Federation of Coffee Producers, and plans to continue building relationships with the business and nonprofit worlds.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

While many organizations seek educational reform, none apply such an ingeniously flexible model as FEN. Designed to adapt its methodology and curricula for different populations, FEN constantly reinvents its active, participatory, and cooperative learning strategy for each context. By working directly with communities, FEN has designed an adaptable model of education that integrates student-centered, student-driven and community-oriented curriculum with interactive and experiential learning, unparalleled in its field.

Founding Story

With a mother who founded teacher-training colleges in Colombia, Colbert has always been drawn to the challenge of integrating education and society. Her interest piqued in university, when her experiences with rural teachers illuminated the dichotomy between education theory and reality. After earning her Masters in Sociology of Education and Comparative Education from Stanford University, she began working in rural schools with Colombia’s Ministry of Education, where she introduced the New School model. After serving as Vice Minister of Education for UNICEF, among other important positions, Colbert founded the Back to the People Foundation to be able to promote and innovate the New School, independent of her position.


Great informations thanks for sharing it with us.