Authors: Eric Bettinger
October 1, 2005
Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University

This paper was prepared for the Program on Education Policy and Governance conference: Mobilizing the Private Sector for Public Education. The conference, held on October 5 and 6, 2005 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, was co-sponsored by the World Bank.

In 1991, Colombia attempted to improve enrollment rates through a unique partnership between the public and private sectors. The program, called the Plan de Ampliación de Cobertura de la Educación Secundaria (PACES), sought to take advantage of excess capacity in the private sector. The Colombian government issued private school vouchers for students entering 6th grade, the start of Colombian secondary school. The vouchers targeted the poorest third of the population and were renewable so long as the recipient made adequate progress towards secondary school graduation.

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