President López Obrador will send a proposal to Congress next week to repeal the education reform and replace it with a new one, the education secretary said yesterday.
Esteban Moctezuma Barragán told reporters that the new reform will be informed by information gleaned from the national education consultation which was conducted in all states across the country except Oaxaca.
The 2013 education reform implemented by the past federal government was vehemently opposed by the dissident CNTE teachers’ union, which took particular umbrage at subjecting teachers to compulsory evaluations.
Moctezuma said that more than 100,000 teachers and principals who had been consulted were not against being evaluated as long as the results were not used as justification for dismissal.
Under the new reform, teacher evaluations will “only be used to offer information and training to teachers,” he said.
“It won’t be punitive and linked to labor issues but linked rather to continuous training that the teachers of Mexico must have.”
Under the new government’s education plan, 10 million scholarships will be made available to students from families with limited economic means and there will be an increased focus on teaching indigenous languages. Teachers will also have the opportunity to increase their salaries.
The new secretary also said the government will maintain open communication with the teaching profession during its six-year term, explaining that teachers will be able to report irregularities such as the sale of jobs – which has been a common practice in Mexico – via a direct telephone number set up for the purpose.
President López Obrador has said that his government will restore cordial relations with the nation’s teachers after years of protest but in a radio interview today, Moctezuma said that cordiality wouldn’t extend to teachers who don’t show up to teach their classes.
“We will be ruthless in demanding that they teach and [if they don’t] there will be labor consequences,” he said.
In some states where opposition to the reform was particularly strong, such as Oaxaca, striking teachers left students without classes for up to weeks at a time.