Colombia’s president highlighted falling dropout rates across the country during a national tour.
Juan Manuel Santos underscored the government’s achievements in education over the past two years while speaking in Ibague, the capital of the Tolima department. According to the head of state, from 2010 to 2011, the collective dropout rate in preschool, elementary and secondary school fell from 4.89% to 4.53%.
He emphasized a government subsidy program that provides about 120,000 young Colombian with $365 every six months to assist with school fees.
Yet Santos’ message of success contrasted with recent reports of corruption in Colombia’s education system. In February, a government audit revealed widespread dishonesty in the education system, with 100,000 students “invented” in order to secure funds from the national treasury. The president estimated this could have cost the government up to $75 million, diverting resources from other important areas.
Santos began the national campaign Monday in the hope of garnering support and promoting his administration’s accomplishments since taking office in 2010. “It is very important that people understand what government is doing, what it has left to do because that is one way of monitoring and controlling the progress of any government, and it is why accountability is so important” said Santos.
The president and his ministers will visit several major cities and municipalities to promote the recent successes of the government from July 23 to August 6. Each day will be dedicated to a different topic. Santos will be in Cartagena Tuesday, speaking on the country’s recent advances in mining and energy.
Later in the week Santos will visit Medellín, Valledupar and Bucaramanga, to reaffirm the government’s progress with regards to national security, early childhood support and technology.