Colombia’s nationwide EFL policy and the construction of equity in policy documents

Daniel Correa Villegas

EFL policy, Equity, Columbia bilingual, Policy papers


The Colombia Bilingüe (Colombia Bilingual)1 program was introduced by the Ministry of Education (MEN) in 2004 with aims of increasing the teaching and learning of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at primary, secondary and tertiary education level. However, this program has failed to reach its set language goals and has come under strong criticism. Scholars suggest that Colombia Bilingual has not only been unsuccessful in improving English skills but has resulted in unequal practices by favoring language instrumentation, marketization of language services and stratification of people. This paper offers a Critical Discourse Analysis of seven policy papers set forward by the government that have introduced and given continuation to this program. I will argue that the construction of equity in Colombia’s EFL policy is framed within a limited interpretation that has mainly given priority to improving Colombia’s international competitiveness while overlooking other important elements of equity such as autonomy, identity, and equality. I will conclude that the presence of social efficiency messages in the policy documents substantiates previous studies’ criticism and highlights the importance of policy documents towards reaching more equitable language learning practices.

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Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies