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International Education: Focus on Colombia

Student/Country Focus

   The January 2018 Student/Country Focus is provided by Jose Vicente Devis from Colombia.

Jose Vicente Devis

I am Jose Vicente Devis from Colombia. I was born in Bogota, but I have lived in different cities of Colombia and in the U.S. I am a proud Latin-American but also very grateful for my Lebanese heritage. I come from a big loving family composed of my parents, five sisters and one brother. Unquestionably, they have had a key role in my personal development and professional success.

Jose's Education and Experience in Colombia

I studied psychology and a few years later did an MSc in Psychology, where I conducted an action research on the strategies to develop empathy as a way of stopping the bullying dynamics within a school.

Now, I am doing the Education and International Development MA at the IoE and I feel really privileged to be studying here not only because of the prestige of UCL and of our Institute, but also because I am being fully sponsored by Chevening Secretariat and the FCO.

Even before I graduated from university I started to work in education as a tutor and also volunteered to provide basic literacy skills to children with vulnerable backgrounds. Soon after graduating, I started to work as psychologist and counselor in private and public schools in Colombia. In these institutions, I had the opportunity to grow into different school management positions and after some years, I was appointed as Principal for a Middle School and then a High School in one of the best schools in the country. Before that, I was the head of a language and learning support center. Also, I have been a lecturer, a tutor and a researcher at La Sabana University (my Alma Mater), teaching Educational Psychology.

I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by great professionals and educators, and this, in combination with hard work and commitment, has led to great achievements such as being the country’s No. 1 in the national end of school test (named Saber 11°) and to establishing a school-based social inclusion program that really changes people’s lives and has a meaningful impact in the community.

However, all that is now behind me. As I often tell my students: to achieve your goals, you need to work very hard, love what you do, be bold enough to take risks and have the strength to stand up when you fall. So, I have left my home and friends to come to the IoE to develop the best skills and network so when I return to Colombia I can take part in the educational revolution my country so desperately needs. My goal is to help develop and implement the educational reform that is required (considering the peace treaty between the FARC guerrillas and the National Government) for all the players involved in the conflict.

If you want to learn more about the Colombian peace treaty with FARC, you can download the original or translated (to English and French) documents here.

Featured Resource

Finally, I want to recommend the book Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia. The story of a man, his traveling library and his efforts to educate children in rural Colombia.