My Journal



Episode 9: Vicky Colbert: ‘The System Builder’

We are off to Colombia for this episode. Aldo has the great privilege to speak to Ms. Vicky Colbert who changed the education system in her country with her groundbreaking program and organisation Escuela Nueva.

Ms Vicky Colbert is founder & director of Fundación Escuela Nueva, an NGO  committed to improving the quality, relevance, and efficiency of education by rethinking the way we learn.
The best way to describe the Escuela Nueva model is as an innovative way of looking at students and offering them customised support at scale regardless of the circumstances and environments they grow up in.
Ms Colbert is a Sociologist from Javeriana University in Colombia. She pursued her graduate studies in Sociology of Education and Comparative International Education at Stanford University and has pioneered, expanded and sustained educational innovation from many organizational spheres, previously as Vice minister of Education of Colombia, UNICEF ́s Education Adviser for the Latin American Countries.
She has been recognized with several awards and distinctions in the fields of leadership and social entrepreneurship, such as the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, 2013 WISE Prize for Education, the Clinton Global Citizenship Award and the Kravis Prize. She has also been recognized as Outstanding Social Entrepreneur by the Schwab Foundation, Ashoka and the World Technology Network.
The Escuela Nueva approach to date has been implemented in thousands of schools in Colombia and is being exported to many other countries as we speak.
In 2017, Vicky was also awarded with the Yildan Prize for Education and for very good reasons. The jury was full or praise to Escuela Nueva and its unique approach stating that:
“Ms Colbert’s work demonstrates that high quality schooling can be cost-effective in the harshest environments. Her model excels in developing both intellectual and social-emotional capacities of its students – an inspiring testament to the fact that well-rounded progressive education is not a privilege reserved for students in developed economies.”
Vicky Colbert describes her own journey as one similar to that of the fairy tale ‘Cinderella’ stating: ‘We started with the most invisible and remote schools and they ended up looking like the school of the future’
For us: ‘Necessity is the Mother of Innovation’