President López Obrador presented his new education plan to the media this morning and will send it to the lower house of Congress today.
“Commitment fulfilled, teachers,” the new president declared after signing the plan at his daily 7:00am press conference at the National Palace.
“We’re going to present the general education plan, starting with the reform initiative to cancel the badly named education reform, repeal it and substitute the current legal framework with a new one,” López Obrador said.
The 2012 education reform implemented by the previous federal government was vehemently opposed by the dissident CNTE teachers’ union, which took particular umbrage at subjecting teachers to compulsory evaluations.
The union staged countless protest marches and strikes, primarily in Chiapas and Oaxaca where the union is strongest.
López Obrador pledged both during his election campaign and after his victory on July 1 that he would abolish the reform.
Today he said that his government’s plan would allocate more resources to the education sector and ensure that youth have the opportunity to continue their studies.
The president also said that teachers and parents had been consulted about the plan and that the government had entered into an agreement with them.
“. . . This is an important change, a difference with the way in which they acted when they implemented the badly named education reform against the will of the teachers,” López Obrador said.
Alongside the president at today’s press conference, Education Secretary Esteban Moctezuma Barragán methodically listed what he said were the inconsistencies and weaknesses in the previous reform.
Among them: the main stakeholders in the education sector were not consulted; the reform conditioned teachers’ ongoing employment on evaluations without providing them with prior training; excessive funds were spent on promoting the reform; students’ results in standardized testing deteriorated; and it was punitive and impacted negatively on workers’ rights.
Moctezuma told reporters last week that evaluation will continue under the new government’s education plan but that it will “only be used to offer information and training” to teachers.
“It won’t be punitive and linked to labor issues but linked rather to continuous training that the teachers of Mexico must have,” he said.
Other proposals include the recognition of teachers as fundamental agents of social transformation and that they will have the right to permanently access training and development programs.
It also stipulates that education be not only free, secular and mandatory – as currently specified – but also universal, equitable and excellent and that educational content and policies can be differentiated depending on the region of the country they apply to.
The government plans to make 10 million scholarships available to students from families with limited economic means. There will also be an increased focus on teaching indigenous languages.
The plan was developed after a national consultation that was conducted both online and in face-to-face forums.
Mario Delgado, the leader of López Obrador’s Morena party in the lower house of Congress, expressed his support for the new education plan and pledged that “not even a comma” from the past government’s reform would remain.
Source: Milenio (sp)