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Through its social responsibility program “Escuela Plus”, Directv delivers an innovative methodology for the education system in communities with limited or scarce resources in the country. Consequently, it helps with their educational development and aids in providing tools to the people in this communities for their economic development, reducing some of the existing inequities in the poorest regions of the country. Furthermore, Directv achieves this by strengthening the relationships with and between the government, educational institutions, the communities and itself.
“Escuela Plus” is a social responsibility program designed to deliver an innovative educational methodology through the use of the latest technology available in satellite telecommunications to the communities with scarce resources and limited access to both good education and technology.
The program consists of providing audiovisual educational content (along with the training and equipment necessary for its use and viewing) to primary and secondary educational institutions throughout Latin America. The objective of the program is to enhance the educational experience and material available for the students. To achieve this, the program combines four key elements: state of the art technology, excellent and unique educational content, innovative methodology and constant support and service to ensure the program works accordingly. In the case of Peru, the program has recently been established and is in the stage of teachers’ training and evaluation of enhancement and optimization options to further maximize the utility of the program. Currently, 1192 schools are using the program and all is being done with direct coordination with the Ministry of Education.
“Escuela Plus” is directly related to four of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and in helping to create a better world. The program promotes quality education in places with low educational standards, allowing for a better and more complete education of the children. Considering that good education is necessary for economic growth, the program helps in reducing poverty in the regions where it is implemented (as better education will bring better jobs and opportunities) and, in the long run, helps reducing inequalities between the people in these regions and the rest of the country. Finally, besides the coordination with the educational institutions and the government, Directv works with partners Disney, National Geographic, Discovery and others to ensure the program works perfectly.
As it has been always present in his life, for Rolando, social responsibility is much more than just his work. As he states in the interview: “I been doing social responsibility since I was 16-17 years old”.
Rolando has always been “in the lookout for social activities and foundations on which to participate”. For him, being able to help people and society is a vocation, he really “like helping others and likes doing it a lot”.
There was a time when Rolando was about to resign to Directv, but his social responsibility love and commitment was far too much to let him make that decision. He had been asked to dedicate more of his time to his business responsibilities and less of it to the social responsibility activities (the social responsibility division in Directv Peru didn’t exist at the time). Not willing to let go a person with high potential in the company, when the managers learned of his decision to leave, they decided to give him the opportunity of taking charge of what would become the new social responsibility division of the company. Immediately, Rolando accepted the offer and hence started to dedicate 100% of his time at work to that which really motivates him and for which he has a passion for: social responsibility.
For Rolando, social responsibility is almost his way of living or the meaning of his life. When he refers to his current job position and his day to day life activities, he states: “I do this at work and I also do volunteer work on weekends”.
Escuela Plus was created in 2007 and is currently present in 8 countries of the Latin-American region, connecting more than 9,076 schools from rural areas, having trained more than 44,249 teachers (through its subsidiary program Escuela+ Academy) and benefiting more than 667,389 students throughout the region.
In Peru, the program was initiated in 2010. In the short time elapsed since then, Escuela+ already has a presence in all 24 departments of the country and has the objective of taking the program to the most remote zones in these departments. Effective 2018, the program has been implemented in 1,192 schools, benefiting more than 85,000 students and is currently in the stage of intensive training for teachers in order to be able to increment the presence of the program in many other schools throughout the country.
As a result of the program’s success in the country, a better coordination between the public educational institutions with greater needs and the government have been created. Likwise, the program has allowed for an expansion of the electrical power grid and telecommunications systems on a national level, reaching places that weren’t able to access this simple and basic needs in the highly technological world of today. All of this has enabled for a strong relationship to be generated between Directv, the schools involved and the ministries of education, social inclusion and communications and transportations of Peru.
As of today, the actual economic impact that the program, in Peru, has had is not quantified. This is because the initial focus of the program was on expanding its coverage and educating teachers. However, Rolando is currently working on the economic impact evaluation throughout this year.
Is important to notice that, with the implementation of Escuela Plus in Peru, the division of social responsibility in Directv Peru was created and, with it, it was possible to bring to Peru all of the Directv’s social programs included in its Generation Directv program. As a result and with the aim of implementing this programs in the country, Rolando’s position was created. Furthermore, in the countries were Escuela Plus is further developed (like Colombia and Chile), the social responsibility divisions have teams of 6-7 people, reason why it can be expected that Rolando’s team should grow in the close future.
The program also allows for the company to promote its brand image through the use of a healthy and pure marketing, product of a non-remunerative activity such as social support to communities. Additionally, it increases the company’s presence in the different regions of the country and its rural communities. In turn, this generates a greater brand exposure and knowledge, as well as potential new costumers and raises the top of mind effect of the brand.
Finally, the program has managed to strengthen the relationships between Directv and governmental entities such as de ministries of education, transport and communications and OSIPTEL (the government’s telecommunications sector regulating agency).
A good and high quality education provides the students of today with more opportunities in the future. By receiving an education with high standards (compared to the one currently being received in the regions where Escuela Plus works), the graduating students have more chances of getting accepted by universities and even applying to funds and scholarships that may help them study in some of the best universities in the world. These students will then return to their communities to make positive changes and will get better job opportunities than they would have gotten before.
In the long run, this benefits society. The program provides the children in schools with access to technology, which, in turn, provides them with a window of opportunities, information and knowledge, while reducing the technological gap that exists between them and other children that live in places with better opportunities. Also, the program helps teachers improve their classes as it provides educational content 24 hours a day, 7 days of the week for the entire year (this content can be recorded) and helps educational institutions remodel and improve their facilities.
As if benefiting society wasn’t enough, the program also benefits the environment. As the schools targeted by the innovation are in rural places with scarce resources, where sometimes a good electrical grid is not available. In these cases, solar panels are built to provide energy for the schools and program’s equipment
Rolando Dávila Ponce de León, Social Responsibility Coordinator
Directv is a satellite television service provider. It differences itself from its competitors by distributing, acquiring and producing unique and exclusive content and by maintaining itself at the forefront of technological innovation for television entertainment.