The WISE Awards

Lights to Learn

Activity: Promoting quality education and community development in rural and marginalized areas of Latin America.

Name of the Organization: Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI).

Headquarter: Spain

Geographical reach: Latin America (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, and Uruguay)

Number of beneficiaries: 23,469 primary pupils and 1,073 teachers

Project Representative: Mr. Paulo Speller


2015 WISE Awards - Children beneficiaries, Peru

About the Project

Lights to Learn is a joint effort of the public and private sector in the fields of education, energy and ICTs. The project brings together five components:
  1. It provides electricity through the installation of photovoltaic solar systems,
  2. It offers Internet and IT equipment to the community’s schools,
  3. Teacher training,
  4. Community development, and
  5. Sustainability via basic training provided to members of the community that use photovoltaic solar systems and connectivity.
Context and Issue

Around 60,000 schools have been listed as being deprived of electricity in the Latin American countries where the project was implemented. They are located in rural communities historically left behind in terms of technological advances.
The Solution and Impact

Lights to Learn responds to OEI’s commitment to the right to quality education in the region. Through this project, OEI seeks to promote access to quality education and contribute to the strengthening of Latin American democracies. Using electricity and ICTs in the classroom to provide better education and to extend the school day, the project also offers technical and vocational education to illiterate adults.

The starting point of Lights to Learn was providing a multi-stakeholder solution to tackle the problem of access to quality education and to appropriate infrastructure in rural areas. The project, supported by the Ministers of Education of each participant country, has been adapted to their needs taking into account their institutional, legal and social context.

The benefits for the community are measurable and not only in terms of the increasing access to quality education. The economic activities and capacity building in the communities have also been impacted through online courses, rural health training, literacy training for adults, and improvement of ICT infrastructure in the communities.

In places where Lights to Learn has been implemented, schools are becoming the technological hub and community meeting point. The "Network of Lights to Learn schools" is being developed and there has been an increase of skilled teaching staff. In Paraguay rural schools have seen drop out rates being reduced between 2012 and 2014. In Uruguay every school in the country has been equipped with electricity and ICT tools.

The quality of learning is ensured through training plans for pupils, teaching staff and members of the community, combined with government programs and focused on the specific reality of each educational center. The impact is being evaluated nationally via internal assessments once the pilots are finalized, and the monitoring process is carried out by the National Commissions to verify that indicators have been met.

Future Developments

The sustainable development of LPA is guaranteed in the majority of countries thanks to LPA’s involvement in institutionalized government programs. Through the "Intervention model", the experience is systematized and it makes replication possible. The capacity of the OEI to establish institutional relations and generate project visibility has been key in achieving continuity. Future objectives are focused on extending the project in each of the 11 countries where it has been implemented and introducing it in three countries where it is currently in design phase.