Mexico to ‘reform’ education

Feb 15, 2013 by

Source: via PwC – EdLive

The country has passed a national ‘education reform’ bill that will reassert government control over the education system, wresting it from the hands of a corrupt teachers’ union leadership. Mexican unions have a long history of control by political parties and by corrupt and violent bureaucracies. The teachers’ union is one of the worst examples. The Mexican Congress approved the measure on December 21, 2012. Mexican unions were already stunned and reeling from pro-business changes to the labour law passed in September. The education overhaul was supported by both of Mexico’s major pro- business parties and by the left-of-centre Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). It was opposed by some PRD legislators, a new left party called Morena, the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE), and the powerful opposition caucus in the teachers union, la CNTE. President Enrique Peña Nieto said that he wanted to reestablish the government’s role as director of the country’s education system and create a system based on genuine merit.

Peña Nieto’s new law modifies Article 3 of the Mexican Constitution, one of the three revered articles that arose from the demands of the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920, leading to the establishment of free, public, secular education. The other two recognised workers’ rights to organise unions, and redistribute land to indigenous and peasant communities. At the centre of the changes is a national teacher evaluation. Other important elements of the law are a census of schools, teachers, and students, and standardisation of the responsibilities and salaries of school principals and other supervisors.