Visiting the Fiesta del Libro – Book Festival – and attending a talk by authors; enrolling a child in the program of comprehensive childhood care Buen Comienzo; taking advantage of the benefits of information and communications technologies in a public library; or attending concerts or film shows in the Unidades de Vida Articulada UVA – Articulated Life Units – are some of the advantages of Learning Cities, a distinction that UNESCO awarded to Medellín on 2017 for promoting and ensuring inclusive, equitable, and quality education, promoting long life learning opportunities.
Having the opportunity to learn in parks, educational centers, libraries, museums, government programs and cultural events is a benefit of living in a territory that vibrates with knowledge.
By fulfilling the commitment to provide equity in education, the city is implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 and 11, making it a great achievement to integrate a vision that transcends schools and includes other public spaces of the city, available for people to enjoy and take advantage of.
“What UNESCO does is to recognize these good practices,” says the Secretary of Education, Luis Guillermo Patiño, who testifies to the benefits of being a participant in this achievement. He says this while walking through yet another of the spaces generated for the enjoyment of city residents: The Feria del Libro y la Cultura (The Book and Culture Festival), an annual event that takes place in the Botanical Gardens and that gathers a wide cultural program in the northern area of the city.
“ACI Medellín has been very important for the city, because it has acted as an articulating ally between Medellín, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Presidency of Colombia and UNESCO. It has helped us to weave these relationships, to show these networks abroad and to showcase the city to the world as one having quality education.” Luis Guillermo Patiño, Secretary of Education of Medellín.
Education in Medellín includes more than 400,000 students from public and private institutions and connects inhabitants of all ages through programs created to provide coverage to the population of all conditions and possibilities.
Buen Comienzo, En el Colegio Contamos con Vos, Escuela Entorno Protector and Alianzas con Vos are a few of the most outstanding programs, in addition to other alternatives such as schools for inclusion, youth clubs and higher education scholarships, Sapiensa, which are articulated with other secretariats and public and private institutions in order to generate significant environments.
Being a member of the Global Network of Learning Cities of UNESCO-GNLC-, to which only 14 Latin American countries belong, assures Medellín has access to benefits such as the transfer of knowledge with other cities in the world, the promotion of public education policies and provision skills and instruments for the stimulation of education.
The commitment of the community to maintain its participation in this select group is also fundamental. Its purpose is to achieve the dream of improving the quality of life of the inhabitants through the enjoyment of learning.