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Despite Reforms, Experts Say Mexico's Education System Is Plagued By Inequality

Lisa Nikolau - Humanosphere
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April 3, 2017
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Mexican university offers scholarships to deported students from US (CGTN America)

Education experts in Mexico met last week to discuss inequality, which they say will be the greatest challenge in reforming the country’s education system.

At a seminar at the College of Mexico last Thursday, the director of Mexico’s National Institute of Educational Evaluation, Sylvia Schmelkes, said that while Mexico has seen incredible growth in the national educational system, it has always overlooked the poorest areas and indigenous communities, Crónica reported.

“We have reached children in these areas with a backwards service,” Schmelkes said, “judging by the differences in infrastructure, resources, the training of educators outside of the daily operation of schools, and the support they receive from supervisors.”

Patricio Solís, coordinator of the seminar and research professor at the Center for Sociological Studies of the National Institute, said that the relationship between social inequality and education is a double-edged sword. He said education can be a vehicle for reducing inequality and increasing social mobility, Crónica reported, but that education can perpetuate social inequalities when certain socioeconomic, racial or ethnic groups lack equal access.

Solís also said that experts estimate that young adults in the highest income groups have seven times greater access to higher education compared to their low-income peers.

Mexico scores dead last in education standards among the members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, yet spends more on education than any other member country. Solís and other experts say the country’s failing and outdated education system has perpetuated the high level of economic inequality in Mexico.

But the country will soon roll out a new education model that aims to scrap the current model – notorious for relying on rote memorization and complicated bureaucracy – in favor of higher-quality education where teachers are qualified and children “learn to learn” in different ways. Mexican Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño said one ambitious goal is to have all students speaking English and Spanish within two decades.

Read the rest at Humanosphere

Related: Deported Students Find Challenges at School in Tijuana (NPR)

Related: Mexico Reforms Education Law to Benefit Deportees (CIS)

Related: Right to Education Still Elusive for Indigenous People in Latin America (Inter Press Service)

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