Recruiting Students for Initial Teacher Preparation Programs
Graduates from Upper Secondary Schools have a wide variety of Higher Education programs to choose from (in both public and private institutions). Among the options offered by the universities are programs in initial Mathematics teacher preparation for Elementary, Lower Secondary or Upper Secondary levels. Thus, unlike some other countries, Colombia does not require that future teachers complete a degree before entering teacher preparation programs (for example, a
Bachelor’s Degree in Pure Mathematics). That is, preparation as a Mathematics teacher constitutes professional preparation.
Thus, students who enter a Bachelor’s Degree program know from the beginning that they are being educated to be Mathematics teachers. However, it must be recognized that for some students becoming a teacher is not their first career choice. Some accept admission into teacher education programs in the hope that later they will be able to transfer to a program with higher social status (e.g. engineering). Some with such intentions, change their minds and remain in teacher education. It must also be recognized that Mathematics teacher preparation programs do not have a particularly high demand, despite the fact that there is a need for more Mathematics teachers.
Finally, another point to be made is that the students in teacher education programs do not have the highest scores on the admissions tests used by the universities. Perhaps that is why the government has launched a program of funding undergraduate studies for students who will enter initial teacher preparation programs.
Face-to-Face Instruction as the Main Mode of Delivery
Upon observing the national panorama of initial teacher preparation programs it is obvious that the majority of them are face-to-face. There a very few programs offered at a distance. This means that the preparation of teachers is carried out mainly in universities in large cities or in regional branches of those universities.
-  One indication of the need for Mathematics teachers is that the great majority of students in thelast semesters of the Mathematics teacher preparation programs have already been hired by privateschools before they graduate.