The issue of home schooling in Colombia is far from being a mainstream topic of interest for educational authorities. Occasionally, however, press reports document isolated histories of families that for one reason or another have decided to take education into their own hands. There is an incipient level of organization for the home-schooling community in Colombia. Home schooling is not even a legally recognized issue in Colombian legislation; as such it is nor forbidden nor encouraged; it is just ignored. If parents decide to take the option of home schooling, they are not required to inform authorities, nor do their activities receive any kind of supervision. A joint research group of the main Colombian Public University, National University of Colombia and Oviedo University in Spain have been conducting an investigation about “Education without schools” in Colombia, for which they are asking families to complete a 100-question survey. The number of families involved is uncertain.

Home-schooled children can remain completely outside schooling, even if they decide to enter the higher education system. In order to do that, pupils must take a nation-wide state scholastic test (Saber 11) which is a prerequisite for entering higher education, as it grants the title of Bachiller (“Bachellor”). This test is administered by a national government agency. In order to register for the test, pupils are not required to be enrolled in any educational institution. If their result matches the admission requirements of the higher education institution of their choice, they could be admitted and hence have skipped formal schooling in its entirety.

Pupils of any age or grade level can level-up with formal schooling if they have been out of the system for any reason. This is done via a special process called validación (“validation”), which would allow them to skip any given grade level provided that they pass a special government examination test. Then they would be able to enter the next corresponding grade level. Public and private institutions offer validation programs that also allow pupils to take two or more grade levels in a given school year. Validation is recognized by the law as a special variety of formal schooling. Although designed to be an entrance mechanism to formal education for children left out of the school system for reasons as varied as forced displacement due to armed conflict, extreme rural isolation, the repeated failure of a grade level in the private school system, or any other exceptional circumstance, validation is an entry mechanism that could also be used by home-schooled children. National Decree 2832 (2005) establishes regulations for this process.