Eduardo Esteban Pérez León, a mathematics and technology teacher at Instituto Técnico Guaimaral, Cúcuta, Colombia, saw so many social problems and conflicts affecting the childhood and youth of his country, that he completely changed course, and went from working in a multinational as a mechanical engineer to be a teacher of basic education to give true meaning to his professional and personal life. He initially started teaching in Bolívar, Venezuela, in 2007, but is now back teaching in his home city of Cúcuta.
An important objective in his career has been to be able to promote education in this region, through of strategic alliances with private companies, government entities, foundations and NGOs, managing more than one hundred thousand dollars in educational resources for different school institutions. Innovation has been his focus, via the creation of educational resources for students with and without disabilities, which have been distributed free of charge, thanks to different sponsors with whom resources have been managed, helping in 62 schools in the city. Among these are magazines, mobile applications, different software, braille cards, board games, albums, ebooks, calendars, 2D animations, virtual and augmented reality, videogames, devices, reality shows, novels, dance, murals, comics and theatre, all developed and deployed to enrich the learning journey of thousands of students.
Eduardo Pérez sees his greatest achievement as developing didactic tools for students with disabilities, together with promoting a string of events on prevention of problems such as drug addiction, bullying, and cyberbullying. These include the magazine "Cúcuta Against Drug Addiction" which contains drawings of drug prevention murals in different colleges; 2D animations of comics with lessons on teenage pregnancy, sexting and bullying; software and applications that help blind students learn geometry, help deaf students learn multiplication tables and to learn how to spell in Colombian Sign Language. He has been an ambassador for the British Council initiative “Programming for Boys and Girls”; lectures to a range of conferences and organisations including the Ministry of National Education, Computers to Educate, NGO UBUNTU, Rotary International; and promotes UN Sustainable Development Goals and global citizenship in his city.
These innovations are helping and he has seen the results of 10 educational projects he developed decrease the school dropout rate from 5.25% in 2015 to 0.5% in 2020; an inclusive YouTube channel of content attract over 1,000 subscribers and 98% satisfaction rating from students who have taken part in the projects.
He has won prominent awards including “Good practices in the incorporation of technologies” from the OEI Organization of Ibero-American States and the SM foundation, Mexico, 2017; "Best Teacher of Iberoamerica” in 2018 for academic excellence awarded by the Fidal Foundation; acclaimed as a "Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert" in 2019, winner of the national contest "My teacher My hero" from the Terpel Foundation, 2019 and in 2020 UNESCO awarded him the "Emir Jaber al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah" Prize in recognition of his work in developing technology-based resources for people with visual and hearing disabilities.