Lack of University Spots Cut Short the Dreams of Many in Mexico
Dudley Althaus - NBC News
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September 21, 2013

Young people in Mexico, who have formed the Movement of Candidates Excluded from Higher Education (MAES in Spanish) are demanding placement in institutions of higher learning - positions that the Secretary of Public Education insists do not exist. (

MEXICO CITY – Some 26 million children and young adults hit the books again in Mexico this fall, striving against the odds for the education they desperately want.

... For several decades, a succession of Mexican presidents have pushed to improve the country’s glaringly inadequate public education system. To the fury of powerful unions, President Enrique Peña Nieto and legislators are fine tuning reforms that would, among other things, force teachers to pass exams to keep their jobs. Striking teachers in August idled 2 million students in four Mexican states.

Most Mexicans of a generation ago, especially the poor majority, were lucky to finish six years of grade school. Today, virtually every Mexican child up to age 14 is studying, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Still, only half of Mexico’s current primary school students are expected to earn high school diplomas, the OECD estimates. Little more than a quarter will study beyond that.

Mexico this year ranks first among the 34 OECD countries for high school dropouts and last in the percentage of students seeking bachelor’s degrees. Only 12 percent of Mexicans in their twenties are studying, less than half the OECD average.

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