Tomás Recart

Organization: 
Enseña Chile
Year founded: 
2008
Country: 
Chile
Website: 

By enlisting Chile’s top university graduates to teach for two years in low-income communities, Enseña Chile improves educational opportunities for impoverished students.

Focus: Education
Geographic Area of Impact: Chile
Model: Hybrid Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 23,000 (2012)
Annual Budget: US$ 2 million (2012)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 40%
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Chile, 2010

Background
The lack of educational opportunities in Chile is a systemic problem due to budget constraints, public policies, school capacity, prevailing ideology and weak evaluation practices, among others. Enseña Chile aims to reverse the educational gap by bringing top graduates from diverse backgrounds to the field of education. The objective is to transform classrooms in underprivileged schools and significantly influence the learning and aspirations of students. In bringing Chile’s top university graduates to teach for two years, Enseña Chile aims to create a critical mass of leaders who understand public education challenges, the possibility of solving the problem and will commit to be part of the solution. As these professionals go on to other careers, they will take with them their transformational experience in the classroom and an interest in improving the quality of education in Chile.

Innovation and Activities
Enseña Chile is based on the successful Teach for America model, recognized for creating a corps of leaders committed to improving access to excellent education regardless of socio-economic circumstances. Many join straight after finishing college, but others have gathered professional experiences outside the education sector. All applicants need to have demonstrated skills in leading and motivating teams, such as campus initiatives, community organizations or sports teams.

Enseña Chile has adapted the model for the Chilean and Latin American context. By bringing bright college graduates and professionals to teach in underprivileged schools, they provide a significant contribution to bridging the inequality gap. Although Enseña Chile believes that good teachers have similar characteristics independent of culture, the organization has been adapting the Teach for America model in the way these competencies are measured and trained, and in teacher training.

Enseña Chile draws a highly competitive application pool, and selects teachers based on eight fundamental criteria, including ability to organize/achieve goals, leadership and perseverance. Training for teachers is based on the “Teaching as Leadership” model, divided into two phases: an intensive training period prior to the start of the school year, followed by support activities during the two years of work.

In 2009, Enseña Chile selected 29 teachers to work in 14 schools. In 2012, it will expand to 70 schools with 160 teachers, reaching 25,600 children in four regions in Chile, with plans to expand to the entire country. Teachers receive a salary from their school; the rest of the budget comes from corporate donations.

The Entrepreneur
Tomás Recart studied civil engineering at Pontificia Catholic University and later received a Master's in Public Administration in International Development from Harvard University. Prior to founding Enseña Chile, Recart worked with the Catholic University of Chile Centre for Public Policy Research. There he created a tool to monitor and establish incentives for improving school attendance and founded a school. These experiences convinced him that in order to achieve social and economic equality it is necessary to systematically incorporate leadership into the educational system. In 2006 he met Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America, regarding adapting the model for implementation in Chile. After developing a plan and adapting the programme to the Chilean context, Recart formally co-founded Enseña Chile in January 2008. He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader 2011.