Education Secretary Nuño at yesterday's presentation of the new model. Education Secretary Nuño at yesterday's presentation of the new model.

After 58 years, a new educational model

Less content, comprehension over memorization and obligatory English among key points

Mexico’s 58-year-old educational system is going through an overhaul.


The country’s educational model, from preschool to preparatory school, has been updated, paring back the volume of content, favoring comprehension over memorization in language and mathematics and designating classes of English and social and emotional skills as obligatory.

The last time the federal government implemented a new educational model was in 1959 and although it has since been modified, the changes were not substantial.

The new one is a product of the educational reforms introduced by President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2013, and will be implemented for the first time in the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.

It was announced yesterday in Mexico City by Peña Nieto and Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño, who pointed to the need for an “educational revolution.”

One key modification to the education system is the granting of managerial and study plan autonomy to individual public schools, allowing for greater participation by parents in determining what subjects are to be taught.

Starting in 2018, the study plans of secondary schools will be created in accordance with those of preparatory schools, establishing a common curricular framework for the first time.


Textbooks will be rewritten by a group of experts starting next month, at which time teachers will begin a one-year training program to familiarize them with the new model and school autonomy scheme, explained Javier Treviño Cantú, an undersecretary in the Education Secretariat.

By the end of next year teachers are expected to be able to teach the basics of the English language, which will become a mandatory subject for all public education students.

The undersecretary said the new model will reduce the amount of information that students receive passively and instead help them “learn to learn.”

“We focus on key skills, like communication in [the student’s] mother tongue, Spanish and English; mathematical thinking and the exploration of the natural and social world, along with civic and ethical academic training.”

“This will be complemented with the development of social and emotional skills, and a strengthening of physical and artistic education,” continued Treviño.

The new model has had input from teachers, parents and representatives of business and private citizens, who contributed with over 300,000 observations.

Education authorities don’t expect to see any impact of the new model any time soon. Treviño said the first results will start to be measured in 10 years.

Mexico is dead last in educational standards as measured by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, yet spends more on education than any other member country.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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  • cooncats

    Of course they spend more but most of it is stolen. Pretty much like all the rest of the tax dollars in this country.

    This goes nowhere as long as “teachers” are allowed to buy and sell their jobs and there is no testing or qualification required.

  • Bill Geneau

    A serious dose of ethics, (North American) introduced at a junior grade level and repeated a senior school grade level with instruction on how to stop corruption.

  • I question the wisdom of, “Textbooks [being] rewritten by a group of experts,” at least for English language classes. I have seen the English exams written for the SEP exam and have seen how they emphasize obscure grammar over communication. The experts in English are from English speaking countries. There are many high quality Cambridge texts available that don’t need to be “rewritten.” As to the testing of it, by adopting the PET, KET, and FCE series of Cambridge, expanding competency can be measured to a B2 level.

    As to the teacher competence, I’ve seen texts used in public schools with CD tracks for every exercise allowing the teacher to not be competent in the language of the class. All English teachers should have a minimum of a C1 competency as measured by CAE, IELTS, or TOEFL. Second language teachers can be excellent teachers, but only if they have a high enough proficiency. What is great about second language teachers is that role modeling they do; like their students, they are Mexican, and their students can succeed just like they did with a second language.

  • While I appreciate much about the new model, it won’t make a difference without a change of mentality regarding education. Education is a leveler in civil society where excellence is celebrated as a result of ability and hard work.

    The private schools in Mexico seek to avoid the levelling effect by protecting their privilege. The schools want to keep their profit so there is an incentive to give high marks even when high marks are not deserved.

    The public schools in Mexico are damaged by the conflict between the government and the teachers’ union. Mexico has laws that respect the right of workers to organize, so the government needs to simply stop the animosity that has actually resulted in violence. The students are pawns in the struggle, where failing students allows the government to blame the teachers’ union. When blame is the focus, there is a failure of responsibility.

    This new model will bring in some needed reform, but until education is allowed to function without regard to economic privilege and without regard to anti-union bias, then it is really dead on arrival.

  • Allan Kennedy

    Good news. Ignore all the moaning, groaning pessimistic critics – and there’ll be quite a few – and work to give the wonderful children and young people of this country the best education they can get. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Said Churchill, or somebody like that. Too true. The best is yet to come.

  • K. Chris C.

    “Hence the familiar fact that the more the state “plans,” the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.” –Hayek, “Road to Serfdom”

    An American citizen, not US subject.

  • kallen

    These are positive changes. While there is much that needs to be done, I wish Mexico well and continued sucess.