The region under review:
boundaries, geography and population
Located at the Gulf of Mexico, the State of Veracruz represents 3.7% of the Mexican territory. It is 745 km long (29.3% of the Mexican Gulf coast) and covers an area of about 72.5 thousand km2. The region consists of 212 municipalities.
The state is one of the most diverse regions in the world. Over 3,400 animal species and more than 9,500 plant species live there. The Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Special Reserve is part of the state; it encompasses the world’s northernmost tropical rain forest.
The State of Veracruz has a population of 7.1 million (6.9% of Mexico’s population). It is the third largest of the 31 states and the Federal District.
The state is sparsely settled:
40% of the population lives in towns with less than 2,500 inhabitants
20% of the population lives in villages with less than 500 inhabitants
Migration from the state keeps the population growth rate low; mostly very young and elder people live there. 44% of the population is between 3 and 24 years old (3.1 Mio). During the last 30 years, life expectancy has now increased to nearly 75 years.
The population originates from 12 different indigenous groups. About 10% of the population speaks an indigenous language.
Mexico is a federal republic with a representative and democratic system of government. Power is divided vertically between the federal government, 31 states and one Federal District, and close to 2 500 municipalities.
The President, who is Head of State and Chief of Government, is elected by popular vote for six-year terms. The concentration of power on the federal executive is relatively strong. The legislative body is divided between the Senate (Cámara de Senadores), in which the states are represented, and the Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados).
Tertiary education governance, co-ordination and regulation take place at the federal and state level depending on the type of HEI; there are federal as well as state institutions.
At the federal level, the Ministry of Public Education (Secretaría de Educación Pública - SEP) regulates HE. At the state level, tertiary education co-ordination is the responsibility of the respective state ministry. The federal level is responsible for ensuring appropriate standards and the resource allocation of public funds for all the public institutions (OECD 2008).
The economic activity in the state accounts for 4% of Mexico’s GDP. 63% of Veracruz’s GDP is produced in the service sector, 29% in the manufacturing sector and 8% in the primary sector.
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