Government Unveils Plan to Fight Addiction, Violence in Mexico Schools
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April 2, 2013

MEXICO CITY - The Mexican government announced a strategy on Monday to prevent addiction and violence in elementary and middle schools in 57 districts with high incidences of both.

Mexico's education and health ministries are to jointly implement the plan, which is expected to reduce rates of addiction and violence within a year, said Roberto Campa, vice interior minister for social security at a joint press conference.

At the press conference, Mexican Health Minister Antonio Kuri Morales said the multi-pronged strategy includes promoting sports among youth, with the help of the National Sports Committee (Conade).

Enrique del Val, vice minister of planning and evaluation of education policies, said the strategy also includes extending the part-time schedule at some schools by 50 percent, or 400 hours, for the 2013-2014 school year.

That measure will increase the number of full-time schools from 6,700 to 8,200 in the next school year, he said, adding that the goal is to have 40,000 full-time schools as part of the National Social Security Plan for Violence and Delinquency Prevention.

The strategy also calls for delivering laptop computers to students in the fifth and sixth grades, with the government earmarking 1 billion pesos (81 million dollars) for the effort.

Other measures include increasing the number of scholarships for top high-school students, boosting access to technological schools and improving public universities.

The authorities have found that alcohol and tobacco are the main sources of addiction among youngsters aged from 12 to 19, with a significant increase among women users, Kuri said, adding officials will monitor the strategy on a monthly basis to measure its progress.

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