Higher education in times of pandemic

COVID-19 raises new challenges to addressing higher education in Colombia.

The use of new tools and learning models, which encourage the development of new skills in technology and self-learning, and the opportunity to make Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) more accessible to everyone, are some of the challenges faced by higher education.

There are currently 360 active HEIs and 13,555 active academic programs.

On average, between 2007 and 2018, 42% of the students who enrolled in public HEIs were admitted. In the case of private HEIs, 79% were admitted.

The Economics of Education Laboratory (LEE), together with the School of Economic and Administrative Sciences of the Universidad Javeriana, provide considerations that will help HEIs address the negative effects of COVID-19.

Some of the consequences of the pandemic on higher education could be: a drastic drop in enrollment, an increase in the dropout rate, a decline in class quality, an increase in impacts on the mental and emotional health of students and faculty, and an increase in social inequalities (since individuals with lower income are most susceptible during the crisis).


Bogotá, May 11, 2020 The team of the Economics of Education Laboratory (LEE), together with professors from the Economics Department of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, developed the document titled “Higher Education in times of COVID-19: State of the Art and Prospects”, which proposes a series of perspectives and recommendations addressed to the HEIs, which will allow them to adequately manage crises and help mitigate the effects of the pandemic on their own and neighboring communities. The report also presents figures on the evolution of higher education in recent years.


The considerations are explained in the following 7 items:


Care for the mental and physical health of the members of the educational community.

Mitigate the decline in enrollment and expand financial support programs.

Rethink pedagogical strategies, educational methodologies and evaluation mechanisms.

Encourage research, innovation and development.

Strengthen university management.

Promote entrepreneurship and job market skills for students.

Strengthen partnerships between HEIs and the production sector.

Between 2007 and 2018, there was an average of about 1.8 million students enrolled per semester in undergraduate programs, and 117 thousand in graduate programs. At both academic levels, there is an upward trend in enrollment. In addition, the number of graduates has grown over time at an average annual rate of 10%, in both levels (undergraduate and graduate). However, the crisis caused by COVID-19 has led to a decline in the income of many families, limiting the access of some people to higher education, especially to private education. The authors argue that this situation involves challenges that, if not addressed with relevant and well-designed policies, could have consequences in the short, medium and long term.


“This juncture is an opportunity to transform the manner and extent to which higher education positively impacts a society,” says Luz Karime Abadía, Co-Director of the Economics of Education Laboratory (LEE).


You can read the complete document “Higher Education in Times of COVID-19: State of the Art and Prospects” here.


You can also see all the COVID-19 analysis documents of the School of Economic and Administrative Sciences by visiting the website: https://cea.javeriana.edu.co/analisis_econom_negocios