President López Obrador said Tuesday he would support ending admission exams for public universities.
“I don’t support admissions tests,” he told reporters at his morning press conference. “I think everyone should have the chance to study. If they are behind there should be a catch-up period so that they can study, but we shouldn’t reject people.”
He noted that 60% of students at the National Autonomous University (UNAM) are from poor families because UNAM automatically admits students who come from UNAM high schools, while only 35% of students at other public universities come from poor families.
“In the neoliberal period, they used the excuse that young people hadn’t passed the test to reject them,” he said. “But it was a lie. It’s not that they didn’t pass the test, it’s that there were no spaces, because there was no budget for the universities; it was a pretext to privatize education.”
The president added that a central part of his political project is improving access to higher education, and that his government is working on opening 100 public universities around the country.
“Everyone needs to have the opportunity to study,” he said. “I don’t believe in the policy of rejection, it’s a thousand times better for a young person to study than to have them on the street.”