Mexico’s Peña Nieto gambles in key education reform

July 22, 2015

7/21/15 Financial Times

peña-nietoMexican federal riot police took up guard outside the education institute of the state of Oaxaca, as authorities embarked on a high-stakes gamble to implement the country’s key education reform after months of paralysis.

A faction of the dissident CNTE teachers’ movement has repeatedly clashed with police, blocked roads and staged strikes and other disturbances since the reform was passed in late 2013 in a bid to ensure its stranglehold on the education system in several states is not broken, writes Jude Webber in Mexico City.

But in a surprise move, Oaxaca state governor Gabino Cué and President Enrique Peña Nieto’s spokesman announced that the State Public Education Institute of Oaxaca, known as IEEPO, was being scrapped, and that the state government would set up a new institute fully under its control.

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Mexican Attorney General to Reopen Ayotzinapa Investigation

July 10, 2015

7/10/15 teleSUR

AFP

AFP

The Mexican Attorney General’s Office announced Thursday it will resume its investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ training college. ​Federal Attorney General Arely Gomez Gonzalez met with relatives of the missing students for the first time in nearly four months. Relatives had previously broken off talks with the government after feeling frustrated with the course of the investigation. The Attorney General’s Office had considered the case closed in December, having determined that the missing students were killed and their bodies burnt after having been turned over to an organized crime group by municipal police.

However, the relatives of the forcibly disappeared students do not support the government’s conclusions and have alleged the government is engaging in a cover-up. The Attorney General’s Office agreed to pursue new lines of investigation, although Gomez did not specify what leads they would pursue.

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Mexican government wants to tame disruptive teachers’ union

July 6, 2015

07/06/15 The Washington Post

They have seized public plazas and filled them with sprawling tent cities. They have burned government buildings and choked off a city’s gasoline supply. They have held marches and torched ballots and closed schools for weeks at a time.

Mexico’s rowdy public school teachers’ union — particularly the branch based in the southern state of Oaxaca — has long been a thorn in the government’s side, as it wages its battle against President Enrique Peña Nieto’s restructuring of the education system.

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US now has more Spanish speakers than Spain – only Mexico has more

June 30, 2015

06/30/15 The Guardian

dictionary_spanish_englishThe United States is now the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico, according to a new study published by the prestigious Instituto Cervantes.

The report says there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the US plus a further 11.6 million who are bilingual, mainly the children of Spanish-speaking immigrants. This puts the US ahead of Colombia (48 million) and Spain (46 million) and second only to Mexico (121 million).

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Thousands of Mexican Teachers Protest Against Education Reform

June 26, 2015

6/24/15 teleSUR

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP - Getty Images

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP – Getty Images

Thousands of dissident teachers took to the streets of Mexico City Wednesday, declaring a 24-hour strike to protest against the education reform promoted by President Enrique Peña Nieto. The protest follows a decision taken recently by the country’s Supreme Court which declared the reform and the controversial teacher evaluation tests to be constitutional. The evaluation is the main source of anger from the CNTE teachers’ union, which is an alternative to the mainstream national union SNTE. The teleSUR Correspondent in Mexico, Eduardo Matinez, reported that at least 10,000 teachers have joined the strike, adding that other sections of the country have taken part in the protest for the first time. Today’s march started in the capital’s Revolution Monument, before going to the Senate and concluding at a rally in the Secretariat for Public Education (SEP) headquarters.

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Mexico Education Reform: Serious Setback

June 25, 2015

6/24/15 Latinvex

education - classroomGabriel Sánchez Zinny, president of Kuepa.com: While the Mexican government and the teachers’ unions keep fighting over proposed education reforms, students’ ability to find a good job and develop a competitive skillset to prosper in their careers is being irrevocably damaged. Students from Oaxaca, where some of the main union resistance is located, and other states, will finish only 80 days of classes, compared with more than the 180 days in other countries. In an increasingly automated, on-demand sharing economy, the competition for talent in the 21st century is global, and Mexican youth will be at a clear disadvantage with respect to the their peers in other countries. Teachers’ unions and political leaders should care. As Martin Ford states in his recent book, ‘The Rise of the Robots,’ ‘as more and more routine white-collar jobs fall to automation in countries throughout the world, it seems inevitable that competition will intensify to land one of the dwindling number of positions that remain beyond the reach of the machines.’ Today, more than 70 percent of jobs require some use of technology, the contract between employer and employee is broken, and learning to adapt and change is a critical skill for moving up in an increasingly mobile labor force. In this context, Mexico, where less than 15 percent of young people graduate from university, more than 50 percent drop out of high school, and the quality of education is low, the debate between the teachers unions’ and political leaders over halting education reform sounds flawed and outdated.

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Mexico Temporarily Cancels Teacher Testing in Oaxaca, Michoacan

June 22, 2015

06/22/15 Telesur

oaxacaThe Mexican Secretariat for Public Education (SEP) announced Sunday it has suspended the teacher evaluations in the states of Oaxaca and Michoacan, saying “the necessary conditions” were not in place for the process to go ahead. The decision follows a series of protests and boycott threats by the teacher’s of the CNTE union, which staunchly opposes the proposed evaluation process. Authorities said the evaluations were conducted as planned in other states of Mexico like Chiapas and Guerrero, where dissident teachers also advised they would attempt to disrupt the process.

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