Last Tuesday, April 5, on CNN en Español’s Encuentro program, Claudia Palacios interviewed Escuela Nueva’s Vicky Colbert. During the interview, which was conducted entirely via Skype, Palacios praised Colbert for receiving the 2011 Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership, as well as for her work as the Colombian Vice Minister of Education and as UNICEF’s Director of the Regional Office of Education.

While the interview took place in Spanish, we have translated the best bits for you here:

Speaking with Palacios about Escuela Nueva’s educational model, Colbert explained:

“What we have tried to demonstrate for many years is that yes, you can improve the quality of education of the poorest schools in the country. [By creating a student-centered educational model,] we transformed the learning environment to truly be active and participatory.”

On teacher training, Colbert said:

“[The Escuela Nueva Foundation created] a very effective teacher training [program], focusing on practice instead of theory. [As a result, the model was easy to replicate because it] demonstrates that we can transform the classroom with minimal teacher training.”

Regarding the expansion of the Escuela Nueva model, Colbert added:

“Not only did [the model] become national policy in Colombia but 40 countries have also visited us and we have exported this model to more than 16 countries, reaching over five million children. … So at this time Escuela Nueva Foundation is advising countries like India, Vietnam and East Timor. Countries that want to build social cohesion and citizenship.”

Colbert alluded to a study published by the University of London, which revealed that Escuela Nueva’s students “not only improved in terms of educational results, but also learned to be more democratic and peaceful.” By “learning to learn and to be a leader,” students “are more prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st century,” Colbert said.