Colombia Challenge your Knowledge
::: Ministry of National Education

Quality Assurance System

Colombia has established a Quality Assurance System for Higher Education. The purpose is to ensure the quality of institutions and academic programs, and to promote their continuous improvement. The system has three inter-related components: Information, Evaluation and Development.


A set of information systems supports the supply of information, evaluation processes and plans for institutional improvement. The systems are:

National System of Higher Education Information, SNIES. 
SNIES provides reliable data on Colombia s Higher Education Institutions and the programs they offer, and generates consolidated data and indicators.

Labor Observatory for Education. 
This system tracks Colombian graduates from institutions of higher education. It uses a variety of data to interpret the relationship between higher education and the work force. Its goal is to provide the best possible guidance on the relevance of education policies, the quality of programs and students career choices.

Higher Education Quality Assurance Information System, SACES. 
SACES contains information on the Qualified Registry process of academic programs. 

System for the Analysis and Prevention of Desertion in Higher Education, SPADIES. 
This system is designed to track individual students who are deemed at risk of desertion in order to prevent and lower drop out rates


With collaboration from academic peers and consulting agencies, the system evaluates programs and institutions when they are created in order to obtain or update their Qualified Registry (minimum quality requirements). The programs are evaluated periodically throughout their operation, or on demand as they seek accreditation. Students are evaluated before they start and upon completion of undergraduate studies through an accumulated competencies evaluation scheme.


The Ministry of Education offers a variety of mechanisms to support quality requirements, including: technical assistance in evaluation processes; coaching to improve plans for institutions that may have faced obstacles in obtaining Qualified Registry; projects to improve specific areas, such as infrastructure, research, and teacher training; and supply adequacy [?] at different levels or programs.

Appraisal and monitoring
Monitoring of institutions operations is done by checking and evaluating academic, administrative and financial aspects. This includes monitoring compliance with constitutional and legal regulations in higher education.

National Council of Consulting Agencies
in Higher Education, CESU

Created by Law 30 of 1992, the Council is composed of representatives of the higher education (teachers, students, institutions, and researchers), the private sector, and the government. The Council is responsible for advising the government on education policies and follow-up.


Cross-Sector Committee for the Assurance of Quality in Higher Education, CONACES 

CONACES is made up of a General Assembly, with representatives from the government and academia. It has seven committees, one per area of knowledge; a committee for Masters and PhD programs and another for Institutions. Its functions include evaluation of the requirements for the creation of higher education institutions and academic programs. It also advises the government on policies concerning quality assurance.

National Accreditation Council, CAN

Made up by seven CESU designated scholars with ample expertise, this council advises the Ministry of Education on matters concerning accreditation and programs that different institutions access voluntarily. Following an academic evaluation, the council issues concepts that the Ministry applies to issue High Quality Accreditation resolutions for programs and institutions.

Support Agencies

Institute for the Promotion of Higher Education, ICFES

ICFES designs and administers standardized tests that evaluate the Colombian education system. Students are required to take the tests before they start higher education, and upon completion of their academic program. The evaluation of these test results are used to make improvements in the education system.

Colombian Institute for the Development of Science and Technology, COLCIENCIAS.

COLCIENCIAS promotes and guides policies to strengthen research in science and technology as instruments for the country s development.

Colombian Institute for Educational Credit and Technical Education Abroad, ICETEX.

ICETEX promotes access to and permanence in the higher education system by providing educational loans to finance tuition and living expenses abroad. It is directed to students who lack economic resources.