Flexible Education for Overaged Youth on the Move: Policy Discourses and Appropriation Practices in Urban Public Schools in Colombia
Consuelo Sanchez Bautista

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of Minnesota

Primary Discipline

Comparative Education
Armed conflict not only limits education opportunities for youth on the move?or youth moving across a territory for various reasons, such as conflict, violence, poverty, and famine?but also creates a problem when they seek to return to classes designed for younger students. Global education policies, such as flexible education, aim to remedy this situation and improve access to education for out-of-school and overaged populations. The bourgeoning literature on flexible education has reported that although this approach to education has increased both access to education and learners? academic performance, dropout rates from these programs remain stubbornly high. This paradoxical situation of youth on the move leaving flexible education programs designed to be adapted to their needs is the puzzle that lies at the center of my inquiry. Most of the research in the field of education in conflict-affected zones has pointed to individual and family characteristics to explain dropout rates. In contrast, my research explores how policy design and implementation practices influence and shape the opportunities for overaged youth on the move to (re)enroll in formal education and continue studying until they eventually graduate from high school. To understand policy formation and appropriation processes that can address complex problems of mobility and education, my project is a qualitative comparative case study that examines a flexible education policy at national and local scales in Colombia. This study incorporates a mobility and diversity perspective to provide theoretical and practical insights on how to address the educational needs of a diverse population in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, mobility backgrounds, and livelihood needs. In this process, this research puts into debate the adaptation of the stationary institution of schooling to the realities of diversity, mobility, and uncertainty to prevent dropout rates.
About Consuelo Sanchez Bautista
Consuelo is a doctoral candidate in the Comparative International Development Education program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a former Fulbright ? Colciencias Fellow. Her scholarship examines the complex relationships between education and migration, particularly in contexts affected by armed conflict, violence, and forced displacement in Latin America. Consuelo has been involved in peacebuilding and peace education projects in some of the regions most affected by the armed conflict in Colombia and has researched forcibly displaced children and youth access to education in Ecuador. Her research has drawn on qualitative methods to explore issues concerning public policies and practices related to migrants? and refugees? access to rights and social inclusion in origin and destination countries. She holds master?s degrees in Spanish Linguistics, Spanish Philology, and Sociology and has broad experience working with public, private, and multilateral development organizations. Through her research and teaching, she has always sought to strengthen the links between scholarship and public policy with the aim of informing decision-making processes for children and youth affected by conflict and displacement.

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