What is INEA?

INEA, short for Instituto Nacional para la Educación de los Adultos, is a program based out of Mexico that is designed to give adults from Spanish-speaking countries a new opportunity to receive a primary and secondary education. It was founded by former Mexican President José López Portillo in 1981 as a means to help thousands of individuals in Mexico who grew up in poverty and had to abandon their educational pursuit at a young age. It is run by the Mexican consulate, but has expanded outside of Mexico and into the United States via non-profits such as The Matthews House.

We talked to Yamel Alfaro, our INEA instructor with The Matthews House, to learn and share more about the program:


How many people usually attend INEA?

I have four students attending one day a week for two hours.


What subjects are taught within these classes?

Beginner students are learning to read and write in Spanish. Intermediate to Advanced students learn general topics equivalent to subjects taught in elementary school, middle school, and high school.


What motivates individuals to pursue this education?

One motivation is the ability to be independent. My students want to do regular activities such as reading or writing without the help of someone else. Simple things in life, such as reading and responding to a text message or note from their child’s teacher is incredibly meaningful to them. Also being able to give more help back to their families by doing activities such as going over their children’s homework is exceptionally important to them. Reaching this level of independence makes them more confident and motivated to explore new job opportunities – so many doors open when education is made available.


What do they hope to gain from it?

Once they have gone through the program, they will receive a high school equivalency certificate that is recognized by the Mexican government. However, my students are more interested in the knowledge they gain from INEA than from the certificate itself. As mentioned before, they have more skills to offer to their families, jobs, and communities – which means the world to them.


What subjects are covered in INEA?

Students are first taught how to read and write in Spanish. Once they have become proficient in reading and writing, they are able to move on to other subjects such as math, science, more advanced Spanish, and civil topics. In math, we cover arithmetic operations, geometry, and algebra. In science, we cover time, seasons, the solar system, and topics pertaining to the Earth.


The Matthews House’s Involvement

The Matthews House brought this program to Fort Collins five years ago. That year, we had four students graduate and a wonderful ceremony in which people from the Mexican consulate attended. That same year, we had two beginner students who had learned how to read and write after just four months of attending the program.

I know INEA is a wonderful project and I think The Matthews House is a super awesome agency that cares enough about our community to bring this type of programs to our locality. I know even when we only have four students, those individuals are worth a million to me.


This information is reflective specifically of our spring semester until we adapted due to regulations around COVID-19.

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