Mexico’s ‘lost generation’ of drug addicts

3/13/2016 Aljazeera

mexican drugsMorelia, Michoacan – “The third time I almost died was because of a speedball. I’d made a lot of money on a sale and I blew it up in my veins: coke into this arm; heroin into the other,” said Oliver Cortes Sanchez, 21, slapping first his left forearm, then his right.

His skin is pinholed with scar tissue and seamed with pale track marks. “I was surprised to wake up. The friend I was with didn’t abandon me. I’m not sure I’d have done the same. I lived among wolves back then.”

Oliver makes unflinching eye contact when he talks, all cagey sincerity. His fellow residents at the CeVIDA recovery centre outside Morelia – the capital of Mexico’s troubled western state of Michoacan – were playing a lively game of football on a dirt pitch, but the noise didn’t distract him. He and the other eight builders are all young recovering addicts or ex-gang members, working to complete CeVIDA’s new rehab centre.

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New rector of Mexico City’s public university vows not to raise tuition

03/02/2016 The Guardian

UNAM Biblioteca photo by Omar Omar

Incoming head of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México says affordable higher education is vital in a country rife with inequality.

If there is one thing that animates university students the world over, it’s rising tuition and fees. So, when asked about the potential for increased tuition or fees – with which students at public and private universities in Europe and the US have often had to contend – the new rector of the public Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Unam), Enrique Luis Graue Wiechers, wanted to be clear: “The fees won’t be changed.”

Graue Wiechers would have reasons to want to be clear: in 1999, when then-Rector Francisco Barnes de Castro pushed through tuition fees for Mexican students of about $75 per semester, the university erupted in protests, classes were cancelled and Barnes de Castro eventually was forced to resign. The strikes and protests lasted almost a full year and only ended when university administrators called in a couple thousand unarmed federal police officers to arrest the remaining protesters in February 2000.

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What Mexico Gets Right About Adult Ed.

education - pile of booksEducation Week 12/1/2015

Oaxaca is one of the poorest states in all of Mexico, with the third-lowest literacy rate and one of the highest percentages of indigenous people of any state in the country. Those factors add to the enormous task for the Instituto Nacional de la Educacion de Adultos (National Institute of Adult Education), or INEA, and more specifically, for the state counterpart here in Oaxaca, known as the Instituto Estatal para la Educación de Adultos (State Institute for Adult Education), or IEEA. Many of the people working out of a four-story building in the Colonia Reforma neighborhood in Oaxaca city, dedicating their careers to this cause, are paid little. And their counterparts, providing the direct assistance and teaching to these adults, are paid even less.

But for adults throughout Mexico, more than 140,000 local learning circles brought to bear by INEA provide guided instruction in basic literacy, reading, math, Spanish language arts, and even targeted instruction in a dozen native languages for indigenous communities.

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Mexico Spends Less on Education than Other OECD Countries

education - pile of booksTeleSur TV 11/24/2015

The Mexican government ranks last in annual spending per student among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, according to a new report made public on Tuesday.

The OECD report, “Education at a Glance 2015,” also revealed that Mexico spends less then US$4,000 per student compared to the OECD average of around US$10,000. Currently, the OECD, which was created in 1960, has 34 member countries, including Chile, Mexico, Austria, Australia, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, United States and Canada, among others.

The findings come despite seeing an increase in investment towards education as a percentage of the country’s GDP, which rose from 4.4 percent in 2000 to 5.2 percent in 2012.

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Mexico’s Teachers Gird for Mandatory Performance Tests

education - pile of booksWall Street Journal 11/13/2015

MEXICO CITY—Mexican teachers have taken to the streets for years to demand everything from higher wages to automatic jobs for new graduates. But starting this weekend, they will be mobilizing by the thousands for a quite different reason: to take the first teacher performance tests in Mexico’s history.

Around 126,000 primary and secondary school teachers, and 29,000 high-school teachers, are required to take the exams between this weekend and December. The evaluations are the core feature of an education overhaul that President Enrique Peña Nieto says is the most important part of his general agenda for reform.

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Mexico teachers demonstrate over reform

education2Financial Times 10/12/2015

Teachers opposed to Mexican education reforms on Monday closed nearly two-thirds of schools in the southern state of Oaxaca, and blocked some roads and shops, in a day of protest against an overhaul the government insists is unstoppable.

Largely peaceful protests spread to the western and southern states of Michoacán, Guerrero and Tabasco, as well as Mexico City, where a march on the main Reforma avenue was planned. That rekindled memories of teachers’ demonstrations before the reform was passed two years ago.

While Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has made liberalisation of the energy sector the cornerstone of his plans for economic growth and prosperity, it is his plans to improve the country’s nearly century-old public education system that he is now billing as the most transformational.

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SMU Tower Center launches unique research program for policy-based analysis of Texas-Mexico relationship

9/8/2015 Southern Methodist University

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies is launching an ambitious new program to research and promote policy-based discussion on the economic, political and social ties between Mexico and Texas.

The program is made possible through a $1 million gift from GRUMA-Mission Foods, a Mexican corporation with global reach headquartered in Dallas.  The program is designed to elevate the frequently fractured conversations about and between Texas and Mexico, creating a platform that examines shared issues through a policy lens. Plans include:

  • Texas-Mexico research, grants, reports, and white papers
  • Binational and bilingual annual conferences
  • Academic seminars and public forums

“Economics, energy, migration, culture, human capital, internet technology and cyber security are obvious topics for study, but the door is open,” said Juan Antonio González Moreno, Chairman and CEO of GRUMA. “We found in this program a tremendous opportunity to build a foundation for what should become the primary think tank on Texas-Mexico relations.” The list of potential topics is open to almost anything that impacts the relationship between Texas and Mexico.