Within the last months, more than 20,000 Venezuelans have arrived in Medellin due to the crisis in their country. Of that number, 743 are studying in Colombia’s educational institutions, from kindergarten to high school, according to the mayor’s office of Medellin.
According to a statement from the mayor’s office, it is important to “make it easy for these young people to continue with their education through the Education Department, and to protect the fundamental right to education for all, regardless of their nationality.”
According to official statistics published in El Tiempo, the towns with the highest levels of children and teenagers from Venezuela enrolled in public educational institutions are the Medellin neighborhoods of Manrique, Villa Hermosa and San Antonio de Prado.
“Until now, the principal issue that we have seen with these students is their lack of basic documents. For this reason, public workers from the Education Department are prepared to guide these adolescents through the process with the Colombian Migration Department, and help to legalize their situation in the country”, the statement read.
Students that cannot be legalized in time to attend classes, either because they do not have documentation or they do not meet migration requirements, will be directed to someone who can orient them to test their level of education and see in which year they can enroll.
According to Luis Bernardo Velez, the Secretary of Social Inclusion, it is important to know how many Venezuelans, including adults, children and elderly, currently live in Medellin in order to develop a plan to ensure that they receive the proper attention.
“We need the National Government to direct us with regard to the Venezuelan population. There is not currently any information or system to provide us with migration numbers, or anything else about what is happening with these people; each jurisdiction has different reports and are handling things in their own way”, said Velez.
The secretary indicated that simply finding housing for migrants has become complicated. The shelters being used were developed for natural catastrophes and are meant to be temporary.
The Municipal Administration also appealed to local businesses to avoid exploiting Venezuelan migrants that are arriving to the city.