Grade Level of Students Participating
Vía Educación’s programs serve students ranging from pre-school through high school (ages 3-18). In their school-based programs, the direct beneficiaries are teachers and administrators. Through the design, implementation, and evaluation of educational strategies and methodologies for the renewal of school culture, Vía Educación empowers educators to transform their schools and improve education for their students.
In addition to the school-based programs, Vía Educación also operates community programs that engage adults and young people to transform their social environment.
Number of Students Participating per Year
In school year 2015-2016, Vía Educación works directly with more than 800 teachers in 170 schools in Mexico, benefitting more than 20,000 students and their families.
Year Organization Began
Relationship to the public education system
Vía Educación is an independent, non-profit organization that works with students and teachers in public school classrooms and also provides after-school, family, and community programming. In the five states where Vía Educación implements programs – Nuevo Leon, Mexico City, State of Mexico, Jalisco and Puebla – the organization works closely with the Ministry of Education. This relationship is critical because the Ministry of Education’s approval and involvement is needed to implement school-based programs.
Organization’s Vision and Mission
“To generate opportunities for sustainable social development through the design, implementation and evaluation of educational strategies.”
Vision: “Be a reference organization on articulation of change, able to unleash the potential of the society to transform itself”
Brief Description of Program Activities
In 2016, Vía Educación operates four programs in Mexico.
The two school-based programs aim to broaden opportunities for students’ development by improving the quality of education and community within the school.
- Renovación de la Cultura Escolar (Renewal of School Culture)
This program aims to engage all stakeholders – principals, teachers, parents, and students – in improving the quality of education and making the school the center of the community and the best place to work, learn, and participate. Vía Educación operates Renovación de la Cultura Escolar in partnership with the Ministry of Education in Nuevo Leon, where Vía Educación has been chosen as one of 12 organizations to collaborate with the Ministry.
In this program, Vía Educación works with schools by hosting specialized workshops, facilitating collaborative discussions, and supporting the design of self-assessment tools. The program focuses on renewing four components of school culture: education management, teacher performance, school climate, and social participation. The social participation work is oriented toward strengthening the school’s Consejo Escolar de Participación Social, or CEPS (School Board of Social Participation), a school-based parent voluntary body constituted as part of Mexico’s 2012 education reform. In each school, CEPS lead participatory projects for the whole school community.
- Comunidades de Aprendizaje (Schools as ‘Learning Communities)
This program focuses on improving the academic performance of all students in participating schools and strengthening relationships within the school community. Students, parents, teachers, and principals work together to democratically define goals and to implement strategies.
Comunidades de Aprendizaje was developed by the Centre of Research in Theories and Practices that Overcome Inequalities at the University of Barcelona (CREA, in Spanish) and it is also implemented in Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. Vía Educación was chosen to implement this program in Mexico.
Vía Educación also operates two community-based programs to strengthen the social fabric and develop civic engagement skills.
- Jóvenes Atiempo (Youth Ontime)
This program focuses on developing young people’s sense of responsibility and their “belief in their potential as protagonists of their own development.” The primary strategy is building support networks among youth by organizing high school students to mentor secondary school students. Each high school student will mentor at least 10 secondary school students and will receive training and support from Vía Educación.
The program is intended to help secondary students get to high school; high school students get to university; and all students to “act proactively developing participatory projects for the common good of their communities.”
- Red SumaRSE Iniciativa 2.0 (Red SumaRSE Initiative 2.0)
This program promotes citizen engagement in six vulnerable communities in the metropolitan area of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. Vía Educación facilitators provide training to participating citizens – both youth and adults – to carry out participatory projects that solve their community’s most critical needs. Through this work, participants develop their capacities to act as agents of change.
The Iniciative 2.0 is a project of Red SumaRSE Nuevo León, which is comprised of 27 companies who fund the project as part of their social responsibility work. The United States Agency for International Development also provides funding.
Program Content: Intrapersonal Competencies
The programs designed by Vía Educación all have the organization’s Citizen Participation Methodology at their core.2 Across the programs, the goal of performing participatory projects is to change citizens’ mindsets and skills, so that they come to understand themselves as agents of social transformation. “By the end of the methodological training cycle they realize that they have all the skills and means to organize themselves as one collaborative group” and even to organize others around them “in order to work toward a greater goal: the improvement of their social environment.” Self-efficacy is, then, a key intrapersonal competency that Vía Educación’s programs foster.
Program Content: Interpersonal Competencies
Vía Educación’s programs promote distributive leadership, democratic deliberation, collaboration, assertive communication, negotiation, and empathy.
One strategy for building interpersonal skills is that program facilitators assist beneficiaries to identify their own strengths and opportunity areas as a group. Afterwards, the group is supported to think about how they can draw on the strengths of those around them to complement their own strengths.
Program Content: Cognitive Competencies
Vía Educación’s programs support beneficiaries to make decisions for the common good by promoting cognitive competencies such as problem solving and project planning, including prioritizing needs and identifying risk and safety factors.
Program Content: Attitudes and Values
Vía Educación sees attitudes and values such as respect, peaceful coexistence, and acknowledgment and appreciation of diversity as the basis for collaborative work between teachers, students, and citizens.
Program Content: Pedagogy/Active Engagement of Students
How the program actively engages students In Vía Educación’s pedagogical approach, teachers are seen as facilitators of student learning and young people take on leadership roles in the classroom and the community. Drawing on Vía Educación’s strategies, teachers transform their classrooms into “democratic spaces where students can think, share their opinions and propose solutions for the needs of their surroundings. Students then get to know different processes for learning and participation aside from the traditional model where they just receive information; they become sources of information and unleash their potential to transform their communities by themselves.”
1 All of the information in this table comes from the organization’s website and phone and email communication with the organization’s coordinator of communications in May and June 2016. All quotations are from the email communication.
2 Comunidades de Aprendizaje has its own philosophy and approach, designed by CREA. Dialogical learning is a fundamental element of the program.