In Brazil, basic public education suffers from a severe lack of resources, as evidenced by the fact that the ratio of students per computer is 33 to 1 while in private school this ratio is reduced to 17 to 1. This translates into bad academic grades, as reflected in the acceptance exams of universities. Paradoxically, public universities have a great prestige, but the students who benefit most from them are those who have been able to afford private education.
A witness of this situation, Matheus Goyas decided to do something to help students improve their grades on the standardized access test. So he created AppProva, a free app that simulates the questions of this test so that students can predict their performance and prepare in advance for those topics that need to be reinforced. This initiative led him to being chosen among the winners of the Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2018 for MIT Technology Review in Spanish.
"Teachers do not earn enough money to have a good life," Goyas says, whose mother is a school teacher in the public system. The young Brazilian enjoyed an education in private schools thanks to a series of scholarships, but not everyone has the same opportunities. That is why he insists on the free nature of AppProva. "It is easy to do good things when you charge for them, the difficult thing is to do them and not charge for them," he says. And he adds that this "enormous will to democratize access to quality education" is the reason behind all of his efforts.
This commitment of providing a free service to the student is covered with the sale of the data obtained and its analysis to schools that wish to improve their academic results. "Private schools pay for access to data while to public schools it is offered through foundations that provide financial support," the innovator says. Thanks to this opportunity, schools can reinforce their academic programs on those points where they reflect the most deficits. "After two years of use, schools improve quantitatively the results of their students," Goyas states satisfied.
So far more than two million students have used the app - in Brazil, there is a greater use of smartphones than personal computers - and more than 1,000 schools enjoy AppProva within the services offered by Somos Educaçao, the company that bought AppProva and the one that Goyas works for now.
The adviser of the Executive Vice President and COO of the Inter-American Development Bank, Rafael Anta, jury member of Innovators under 35 Latin America 2018, considers that Goyas "has a brilliant background and a successful career as an entrepreneur" and values that despite being "an extremely complex challenge, he has chosen an adequate way to reach as many students as possible."