Skoll Foundation


Escuela Nueva Foundation

Skoll Entrepreneur(s): Vicky Colbert
Award Year: 2007
Focus Area(s) Addressed: Education and Economic Opportunity

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As a child, Vicky Colbert was convinced that sustainable development and democracy could not be achieved unless all children were educated to become future citizens of society. She became a professional educator and sparked a revolution that would empower poor children throughout the developing world. She developed Escuela Nueva (New School), which evolved from a local innovation into an effective national policy adopted by Colombia’s Ministry of Education. Escuela Nueva’s impact was so significant that Vicky was able to replicate it throughout Latin America as a regional adviser for UNICEF. She started the Escuela Nueva Foundation (ENF) and, over the next decade, duplicated the program in 16 countries. In 2000, concerned that government reforms and a lack of shared standards were weakening the program, she left UNICEF to build ENF’s capacity to ensure the quality of existing programs and continue international replication. Vicky has added many innovations to the model.


  • On Oct. 29, 2013, Vicky won the 2013 WISE Prize for Education.
  • Through Nov. 2012, Escula Nueva (EN) signed a cooperation agreement with Enseña por Colombia (ECO), an education nonprofit that’s part of Teach for All, another Skoll awardee. EN carried out four experiential teacher workshops to contribute to ECOs’ pedagogic training with a new perspective about the teacher’s role.
  • The Vietnamese government announced in 2012 that it will implement the Escuela Nueva methodology across the country.
  • During September and October 2012, EN advanced efforts for the international application of the EN model. They began the Project for Rural Basic Education Improvement in Puebla, México, as well as a International Study Mission with the Iraqi Ministry of Education and UNICEF.
  • In 2009, provided 87,000 low income children in Colombia with NEW EN self-paced, self-directed learning materials, covering 30% of the rural primary student population, furthering efforts to reach new cohorts of students.
  • IN 2008, EN trained 6.6K teachers in Colombia in the EN model, reaching an additional 8% of the total rural teacher population. EN trained 100% of school principals in the EN model in the Colombian departments of Boyacá (260) and Quindío (31).
  • EN trained 6% of the total teacher population of East Timor (450). Around 1,500 practioners have joined its global EN Learning Network and online community.



© 2015 Skoll Foundation.