It is a 10-year compulsory school in Colombia. Until 1990, the country had a centralized education system.
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Following a comprehensive reorganization and regionalization in 1990, a national education plan was developed which suggests that much can be decided at local level. The language of instruction is Spanish. Only scattered attempts have been made to prepare educational materials in local Native American languages. Large parts of the education program are private, 18% in primary and 32% in high school (2000). There are major differences in the provision of schools in cities and in the countryside.
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The elementary school is 5 years old and the pupils are 6-11 years old. About. 90% of children start school, but only approx. 70% complete 5 years. The high school is 6 years (4 + 2), and approx. 40% of the relevant age group starts in upper secondary education.
The country has 265 higher education institutions, of which approx. 50 is university. More than 60% of higher education institutions are private. The largest university is the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, founded in 1867.
Illiteracy is estimated to be approx. 8% (2000), with large regional differences between city and country.
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1960 Colombia’s guerrillas are formed
During La Violencia, the Communist Party had also established its own guerrilla forces, which up to the mid-1960’s controlled lands administered as independent peasant republics. The Communist Party formally established Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC, Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces) in 1964. They were led by Manuel Marulanda – “Tiro Fijo” (sniper) – and Jacobo Arenas. At about the same time, the priest Camilo Torres Restrepo was one of the initiators of the formation of the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN, National Liberation Army). Torres was killed in combat the following year. The ELN was procuban while the FARC oriented itself toward the Soviet Union. At this time, relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union were very strained.
The peasant guerrillas were met by “self-defense groups”, armed and paid for by the landlords with support from the military and sometimes foreign mercenaries. Without ever admitting it, the military also created paramilitary groups that have carried out massive human rights abuses on the civilian population and have been condemned by organizations such as Amnesty International.
In 1974, the newly elected Liberal President, Alfonso López Michelsen (also of Danish descent) sought to pay more attention to popular demands, but strong economic interests caused this policy to collapse. In 1978, only 30% of the unemployed received social benefits, and in rural areas the level was down to 11%. Currency income was predominantly dependent on the price of coffee in the US and Germany, which declined respectively. 20% and 36% of Colombia’s production.
Bogotá, Santafé de Bogotá, capital of Colombia, 7.2m. residents (2005). Bogotá lies like a narrow belt on a plateau at 2600 m altitude in central Colombia and is bounded to the east by a mountain ridge that rises 600 m above the city.
North of the old town, which still retains part of its colonial character, lies the so-called International Center with banks and offices in tall, modern buildings. From here, modern residential areas extend into a narrow belt to the north, while the poorer parts of the city have spread to the highlands to the south. Gradually, the city has also grown to the west, with industrial areas, an airport, a bus terminal and a large part of Colombia’s state administration.
In the central and northern parts of the city, supermarkets and shopping centers have replaced the open markets and the banks are lying side by side. The narrow streets and few thoroughfares create increasing traffic chaos, the closer to the center one gets and the air pollution is considerable.
Violence and robberies – from minor assaults to bomb attacks – are widespread in the city, and not only banks, but also hotels, larger businesses, carriages and closed residential areas are equipped with sharply armed private guards.
In the 1950’s and especially in the 1960’s, the city’s development accelerated, so the public service sector has had difficulty keeping up. Bogotá accounts for about a quarter of Colombia’s industrial production, primarily food, chemical and pharmaceuticals, textiles, machinery and cars.
The well-established Gold Museum, which contains jewelry and other gold items from before the Spanish colonization, is one of the most important of its kind in the world.
Bogotá was founded in 1538 by the Spanish conqueror Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada (1496-1579) and in 1740 became the capital of the Viceroy of Nueva Grenada. During the colonial period, the University of San Tomás was founded in 1580 and the Universidad Pontificia Javeriana in 1622, and both are still operational.
In 1810 the city tried to regain its independence, in 1816 Spanish troops captured it, but already three years after that Simón Bolívar expelled the last Spanish viceroy from the city.
In the new independent South America, Bogotá became the capital of Simon Bolívar’s Greater Colombia, which included present-day Colombia, Panama, Ecuador and Venezuela, but which was already disintegrating before his death in 1830. Then Bogotá became the capital of Colombia.
In 1948, opposition politician Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was assassinated in Bogotá, which became the beginning of one of South America’s most extensive uprisings, “bogotazo,” which destroyed several of the city’s buildings and developed into a ten-year civil war. The uprising occurred at the same time as the formation of the Organization of American States at the 9th International Conference of American States, the Bogotá Conference.