School attendance has remained low since schools reopened their doors on August 30, official figures revealed Tuesday.
When classes recommenced last week, fewer than half of Mexico’s 25 million preschool, primary school and middle school students returned to their studies, after a 17-month closure brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Education Minister Delfina Gómez had predicted that attendance would shoot to 20 million the next day, but the figures revealed Tuesday showed only slightly improved attendance. Just over 50% of students, 12,639,915, have attended classes. Gómez detailed that 1,200,245 educational workers had returned to their jobs and that 135,230 schools were open, both of which indicate a slight increase in participation.
Speaking at the president’s morning press conference, Gómez explained that cases of COVID-19 had been detected in 88 schools, representing 0.6%, of which 39 had been closed for 15 days.
She offered words of appreciation for returning students and spoke of their efforts to return to class by whatever means necessary. “I especially thank our young people and our children. Really, I’m very pleased when I’ve been able to go to schools … I’ve gone around the schools and it gives me great pleasure to see parents with that enthusiasm and that interest for their children to receive an education. Walking, cycling, as they can, but they arrive. We have even come across young people in Campeche who go by boat to school. That is an example of the interest that our children, our young people, have in learning,” she said.
The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, a think tank, reported earlier this year that approximately 10 million students will fall behind in their learning by up to two years due to the closure of schools during the pandemic.
Mexican students have likely suffered more than others in international terms: President López Obrador has previously stated that the school closures in Mexico were the second longest in the world behind Bangladesh.
Mexico News Daily