Carlos Slim, Mexican billionaire, launches free education platform

Global Business

Carlos Slim, Mexico’s richest man, just announced the launch of a new online platform that provides free educational courses intended to help Mexico’s poor.

CCTV America’s Martin Markovits reports.
Follow Martin Markovits on Twitter @MartinMarkovits

Mexico has one of the worst performing public education systems of the industrialized world. It’s something that homemaker Yesina Del Carmen knows all too well.

Pregnant at 15, Carmen never finished secondary school. And now she is happy that she is getting a second chance in pursuing her education.

Carmen is about to start a beauty course on a website called Launched by telecommunication mogul Carlos Slim, the website offers 72 free educational courses.

Available through Slim’s America Movil mobile carriers, the platform has courses in math, history, science and culture and offers free diplomas.

Mexico’s Department of Education has already agreed to validate the diplomas.

Carmen said she would have never been able to afford the course if it wasn’t for the website.

The launch coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Carlos Slim Foundation, which focuses on healthcare and education. The phone application is intended to give education access to everyone, at no cost.

Slim hopes his new initiative will help a country whose public education system is considered one of the worst among the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

However, some are concerned that Slim, who has an estimated net worth of $50 billion, will now have too much power in Mexico’s public policy sector and might use these educational initiatives for his own self-interests, since this free educational platform is only available through Slim’s telephone services.

There are also other concerns that Slims’s new initiative might be the start of private entities becoming an integral part of Mexico’s education system. A reminder that the country might not have the tools to fix its troubled educational system.