Mexico's educational context
Students: Mexico’s educational performance has improved in recent years. It has raised participation in early childhood education to almost 100%, with some of the highest enrolments across OECD. Children aged 5 to 14 are attaining primary and lower secondary education, but there is a gap in upper secondary enrolment, graduation and performance. For those in education at age 15, mathematics performance improved between 2003 and 2009 (a 33 score-point increase), but performance in reading, mathematics and science remains among the lowest across OECD countries. The impact of students’ socio-economic background on their performance and between schools has decreased significantly and stands around the OECD average, demonstrating that there have been improvements in equity of distribution of learning opportunities.
Key policy issues
Education performance at age 15 and attainment in secondary education are lower than the OECD average. The average impact of socio-economic background on student performance is around the OECD average for students at age 15, but large performance and completion gaps persist, especially for indigenous and low socio-economic status populations. System-level policies should focus on improving educational success of students from diverse backgrounds and delivering quality education across all schools, including upper secondary and vocational education and training. Raising the quality of teaching, professionalisation of school leaders and providing transparency in governance and funding across the system are key issues.
Recent policy responses
To address education challenges in primary and lower secondary education, the Mexican government has implemented a range of reforms in recent years. The Pact for Mexico (2012) and the Reform of the Mexican Constitution (2013), consolidated commitments in education – in teaching, school policy, and evaluation and assessment. These reforms culminated in the new professional teaching service law (2013), designed to provide coherence to the profession in primary and secondary education. This law aims to clarify selection, recruitment, training, promotion and evaluation for teachers, school leaders and supervisors and promotes a new technical assistance service for schools. Another law has granted autonomy to the National Institute for Educational Assessment and Evaluation (Instituto Nacional para la Evaluación de la Educación, INEE). A comprehensive reform of basic education introduced a competency-based curriculum (2012).
In addition to making upper secondary education compulsory in 2012 (with a goal of universal coverage by 2022), a National System of Upper Secondary Education (Sistema Nacional de Bachillerato, 2009) was introduced to provide a coherent framework of upper secondary education through better academic guidance, more education offer, a monitoring system for institutions, and mechanisms to deliver education (e.g. teacher training, school leadership professionalisation, infrastructure, scholarships).
Mexico’s scores in PISA increased between 2006 and 2009 in mathematics, but are lower than average scores in PISA 2009 (425 mean score compared to the OECD average of 499) and the impact of socio-economic status on attainment is at the OECD average (14% of performance variance explained by socio-economic background) (see interactive chart below).
Secondary and tertiary education attainment in Mexico are lower than the OECD average (Figure 2). Less than half of 25-34 year-olds have attained at least upper secondary education (44% compared to the OECD average of 82%), and less than a quarter of 25-34 year-olds have attained tertiary education (23% compared to the OECD average of 39%) (see interactive chart below).
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OECD work on education: www.oecd.org/education