Education Secretary Nuño. Education Secretary Nuño.

New English strategy needs 1,020 teachers

High school graduates expected to be proficient in English 20 years from now

The federal government has job openings for 1,020 “highly proficient” English teachers to staff Mexico’s teacher training colleges.


The federal Education Secretariat (SEP) is to announce today an 800-million-peso (US $44.5 million) National English Strategy that intends to produce high school graduates who are proficient in English in 20 years’ time.

The first step will be to recruit 1,020 English teachers and train 127 who are already in place at teacher training schools, known as normal schools.

An important element, not surprisingly, is that “all teachers must speak English,” something that is not currently the case as studies have found that many teachers assigned to give English classes have limited command of the language.

In 20 years’ time, high school graduates will be expected to have attained a B2 intermediate level, following the international standards of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).

A B2-level English student can understand the main ideas of complex text, interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity with native speakers, can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and can explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

For the SEP, English is an “essential tool that tool that facilitates dialogue in an increasingly interconnected world, for both students and teachers.”


To achieve its goals, the Education Secretariat will promote learning English throughout the entire educational trajectory of Mexican students, from preschool to high school.

English will not only be taught as a second language but through teaching other subjects in it as well.

Along with classroom teaching, the SEP intends to make use of new electronic and digital educational materials and a long-distance education platform known as Learning Management System (LMS).

The federal education strategy is designed to “remove all barriers keeping students from being proficient in English.” To this end, the SEP will design special programs and materials for indigenous students, who will receive textbooks in their languages, and will learn English as a third language.

The Education Secretariat has signed collaboration agreements with international institutions such as England’s University of Cambridge, which has already updated study plans and designed them to teach English as a second language.

The embassies of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States will also collaborate by evaluating the quality of English teaching.

Along with the Mexico-United States Commission for Educational & Cultural Exchange (Comexus), the SEP will promote scholarships in the two countries, while the National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES) and the Federation of Mexican Private Institutions of Higher Education will promote teacher training efforts.

Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño told Radio Fórmula that the English strategy is a process, observing that Mexico’s public education system is “gigantic,” being one of the world’s five largest with 34 million students.

Source: El Universal (sp), Radio Fórmula (sp)

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  • Güerito

    Why does Mexico fall below Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia, Indonesia and China (among many others) in English proficiency?

  • Commander Barkfeather

    What is the ratio of Mexicans who speak English as a second language and how does it compare with Americans who speak Spanish as a second language?

    • darysrealm

      I do not see the relevance of the question when the topic is bringing the proficiency of English to a higher level in Mexico. I have taught English in Mexico and I understand the challenges.

    • Regina Netterfield

      52.6 Mill Spanish speakers in the U.S. “The National English Programme in Basic Education has to date been introduced in 18% of Mexican public schools reaching an estimated 6.7 million
      Thirty-three per cent of Mexican businesses participating in this study use English as the main language of internal business communication, while 47% use English as the main language of external business communication
      The data revealed that respondents felt that their reading skills were strongest overall: 12% indicated they were fluent at reading English, 27% advanced, 44% intermediate and only 17% felt they had poor or basic reading skills. Writing was ranked by respondents as the next most pro cient skill: 8% felt their writing skills were uent, 18% advanced, 47% intermediate
      and 27% indicated their writing skills were poor or basic. Speaking in English was ranked by respondents as constituting their lowest level of pro ciency: 8% felt their speaking skills were fluent, 16% advanced, 38% felt they were intermediate at speaking English and 38% felt they were poor or basic at speaking in English”
      Taken from British council (2015)English in Mexico: An examination of policy, perceptions and in uencing factors.

  • Güerito

    This article from El Universal yesterday says Mexico needs 150,000 new English teachers just to have one teacher per public school. And that half of all current English teachers are incompetent:

  • alance

    The federal government in Mexico City doesn’t even have control of its educational system in a number of states including Chiapas, Oaxaco, Guerrero and Michoacan. The public educational system in Mexico is dreadful and corrupt.

  • Anny Schrader

    Actually, they are not teaching English as a SECOND language here, but English as a FOREIGN language. Second language teaching is done in countries where a majority of the population uses English to communicate. This means that the student is constantly subjected to English…on television, on the radio, in stores, on the street. When learning EFL, it is far more difficult to gain proficiency, and takes much longer. But it can be done, and undoubtedly there is a lot of English influence here: in films, music, and general advertising. Do not criticize teachers who are not completely proficient in English…at the lower levels just a basic knowledge is sufficient, and enthusiasm and attitude count for much more than perfection in the target language.

  • From South of the Border

    First as a native speaker and an experienced English teacher the Mexican government is kidding itself, if it thinks that it is capable of creating a program to get the Mexican population fluent in English. First there target is B2 please that is a joke. If they want to create a real program they should hand it over to UNAM and Colmex and take it away from these so called Normal schools and away from the teachers unions. In fact most of these radical leftist so called teachers unions should be disbanded. With UNAM and Colmex in charge of this program you could have each states university run the program locally with guidance from UNAM and Colmex. They could set up a recruitment program bringing in native teachers like Malaysia and Brunei does to train the local teachers in EFL and the latest techniques these Mexican teachers after their trained can then really do the job to bring the people who want to be English teachers up to a good level. They can then teach English to Mexican students as fully Fluent speakers of the English language the use of native English teachers is key to setting up the Mexican teacher trainers to then set up the Mexican teachers fully fluent and then they could bring the level of English up to a much higher level than B2 and Mexico would become a truly bilingual country with Mexicans truly becoming Fluent in the English language, but more money would have to be spent than just $44.5 million dollars this amount is at best totally inadequate for such a large project.
    If SEP and the Mexican government relies on the Normal schools and the current corrupt so called teachers unions to run this program it is doomed to failure, before it starts. The program must be run and controled through Mexico’s 2 top academic public Universities UNAM and Colmex with the state Autonomous Universities administering the program locally in this way the leftist unions lose all control and they can indoctrinate the student teachers with their left wing crazy ideology. This system with the help of the native teacher trainers would create high quality competent Mexican English teachers who would be untainted by the leftist unions who should also, be banned and closed and the central government should then take control of the schools in states like Oaxaca where the loony leftist unions disrupt traffic and other violent illegal acts. This way Mexican children would actually get a decent English education run by professionals from the best universities UNAM and Colmex and the regional state universities.
    I don’t expect my ideas toe listen to, because no one really wants children to learn they just want to be corrupt and slip the money into their own pockets the education of Mexico’s children be dammed and of course they would never properly fund such a program $44.5 million dollars is a bad joke such a program would cost more than triple that amount of course without corruption. I have given a solid plan to make sure Mexico’s children learn English properly and to end the corruption and end the leftist unions control of education.. I wish the program well, but left to the Normal schools controled by the corrupt leftist unions you will never even see the B2 level goal. The goal should be fluency not half measures..

    • Jay

      This coming from someone who does not understand grammar and punctuation. LOL
      That said, you do make a good point about the corruption ingrained in the teachers unions.

  • Güerito

    Jesus Cristo, ayudanos.