Paraguay Educa, an organization with a proven track record in educational innovation, has taken on the challenge to develop the first fully localized EdTech Portal in Paraguay. The aim is to co-construct a more resilient education community nation-wide.
The EdTech Portal is being developed with the kind support of the Dubai Cares Foundation, after a rigorous application and selection process that concluded successfully in December 2019. The next phase of the project began immediately with a national and international exploration to seek out innovative products and services that can support the development and foster the interest of students and their families, teachers and principals, and all other stakeholders of the education community interested in continuing education, that is, lifelong learning.
The project began in February 2020 by first building an identity and choosing a name: META. The Spanish acronym, which means “GOAL”, stands for “Technology-based Educational Medium for Learning”, but more than just serving as an acronym, it serves as a reminder of our goal: to innovate learning in Paraguay by fusing it with technology. While it doesn’t translate into English too well, the acronym does hint at our focus on encouraging all users to develop metacognitive skills by means of technology. The META EdTech Portal Team is composed of professionals in education, technology, content, communication and evaluation, who engage with each other and interested stakeholders to construct and co-construct educational resources.
META will be developed over the course of five years and on a 3,000,000 USD budget. If we had to use infant development as an analogy, we would say it is now strengthening its structure and absorbing knowledge to take its first, if decisive, steps. Its development will be progressive and its achievements will be evaluated and monitored constantly.
The development of META has been planned in two distinct phases. The first phase will focus on teachers, the fundamental stakeholders in constructing the future for all students. Paraguay Educa will reach out to them to identify their needs and interests as well as their habits and capabilities. This phase also includes offering online communities for peers to exchange experiences and ideas with each other, develop collaborative projects, and to connect with other users in dynamic creative spaces.
The second phase will focus on reaching students and other people interested in continuing their education. They will be given access to a suite of tools, content developed following the national curriculum of the Ministry of Education, and courses which focus on skills necessary for distance learning.
The financing organization, the Dubai Cares Foundation, is part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives. It is a global philanthropic organization based in the United Arab Emirates which seeks to provide children and young people in developing countries access to quality education through the design and financing of integrated, impactful, sustainable and scalable programs. It also finances pilot programs and initiatives that show significant and valuable evidence for governments, policy makers and civil society in order to provide them with a reliable educational framework for the future.