Enova was created to attack Mexico's education crisis by bringing technology-based, blended learning courses to Mexico's poorest urban neighborhoods. Enova's solution to these challenges is the Red de Innovación y Aprendizaje (RIA) or the Learning and Innovation Network. This network represents a chain of seventy educational centers that provide underserved Mexican communities with quality educational opportunities and access to information technologies.
Enova's vision is to improve people's academic and vocational skills through technology. The RIA's aim is threefold: create digital citizens, produce educational impact, and generate opportunities for Mexicans to grow their knowledge and apply it in their schools, jobs, and communities. Enova's differentiating strategy is that, in addition to providing its users with access to technology, they develop the tools needed to use it effectively. Enova's model integrates four main components: 1) access to robust IT infrastructure, 2) selection and development of relevant educational content for all ages, 3) a blended e-learning model with skilled facilitators, and 4) analysis of each student's performance to revise and improve course content.
The RIA offers courses on basic computing, Internet and English skills for children and adults, as well as courses on how to find work through the Internet. Children can also enroll in Expedición RIA, a comprehensive learning route that seeks to improve the academic performance of primary and secondary school students and includes courses on digital literacy, English, math, writing and reading.
Enova is undergoing a comprehensive national expansion plan to extend the opportunities of the RIA to every state in Mexico. By thoroughly analyzing patterns of educational needs throughout the country, digital divide percentages and population densities, the organization has identified the need to construct 180 additional RIA centers by 2015.
The project involves the construction and operation of a national network of 180 additional digital centers in 40 different municipalities across the country. Once the network is fully operational, Enova will have the capacity to serve 480,000 users per year.
The 180 centers will be remodeled from March 2014 to July 2015 and will require of approximately five months per center. Sixty new centers will be opened during the last trimester of 2014, closing the year with a total of 130. By 2015, twenty new centers will be remodeled per month through July 2015. There will be a total of 250 centers by the end of 2015.
As a result of this expansion, Enova expects to have 880,000 students' registered. By the end of 2016, 1,400,000 are projected to have registered. Finally, by the conclusion of this commitment in 2017, 1,800,000 people are expected to be registered in Enova's 250 centers.
Despite high public investment in education, Mexico's educational system has the lowest performance in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) among OECD members. Furthermore, graduation rates are extremely low. For every one-hundred Mexican children, ninety-eight begin elementary school, sixty-two finish middle school, forty-six begin high school and twenty-five graduate. Of those students, only thirteen obtain a college degree and a majority of Mexico's youth will find it extremely difficult to compete in a globalized economy. The digital divide is also significant with some eighty-two million people lacking access to computers or the Internet, which means that a substantial portion of the country is excluded from the information society.
Increased media support and exposure would greatly serve to further Enova's mission. Enova relies on community referrals and its local reputation for marketing purposes. Furthermore, the organization believes that the educational impact generated by this project will be significant enough to attract media coverage on its own, but also feels strongly that documenting the progress of students benefiting from this expansion and sharing them with prominent national and international media outlets would exponentially improve current communication capacities.
Enova would benefit from a professional mentorship network with demonstrated expertise in the technology, education and public policy sector. The following members of the CGI community would be highly relevant for supporting Enova's growth: renowned public education policy experts, educational innovators from other developing regions, senior thought leaders from think tanks dedicated to devising new learning strategies, experts in community behavior and fellow members of the start-up community involved in the design of interactive software and educational games.
Given that the RIA project is not only the first of its kind in Mexico but in all of Latin America, Enova is in a strong position to provide best practice information to entrepreneurs looking to set up similar educational projects, improving access to technology and building Public-Private Partnerships.