In Ecuador, the access to public universities is free, but according to a law passed in 2011 by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, student acceptance is segmented by a proficiency test that classifies students´ performance. As a result of this national benchmarking and admissions law, numerous academies and training programs have emerged to prepare perspective university students.
This seemingly representative measure placed the population from rural areas, with limited economic resources and geographically separated from the general population, at a serious disadvantage. In order to level the playing field for young people who take this test, the young innovator Diana Medina has founded alau.ec, an online school that offers specialized courses and didactic materials to help students to pass the entrance exam. Some of the alau.ec´s materials can be accessed online free of charge, and their courses, which cost on average between $350 and $450 (between 300 and 400 euros) can be completed online, from any corner of the country with an internet connection, whether from home or from the internet access sites, called info-centros, provided by the government.
As proof of their success, Medina has provided statistics: more than 500 students who completed alau.ec´s online courses achieved scores above 880 points from a total of 1,000 (the minimum score for admission is 601 points). In addition, over 40.000 young people have accessed the materials published by alau.ec free of charge. Medina´s future vision is to convert alau.ec in an online, higher educational platform.
According to the executive director of the postgraduate program at the Catholic University of Peru, Medina´s project “is coherent and has identified her target public”.