Improving Education in Mexico

Improving Education in Mexico

A State-level Perspective from Puebla You do not have access to this content

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02 sep 2013
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9789264200197 (PDF) ;9789264197756(imprimé)

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How can the state of Puebla improve its education system? Within an international perspective, this report analyses the major challenges facing the state’s education system, current policy initiatives, and innovative practices. It highlights that a long-term strategy, a stronger capacity to lead improvements and reforms in four main policy areas are keystones for educational improvement. With insights from top performing systems and those with a similar reform trajectory, it sets out strategies for action to make change happen.

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  • Preface and Acknowledgements

    The State of Puebla is honoured to have received the support of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in our efforts to fundamentally improve our state educational system. For the first time, a Mexican state has been enriched with tailored recommendations and knowledge in basic and upper secondary education, which are keys to social and economic development, by an OECD team of international experts.

  • List of acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    The state of Puebla, located in central Mexico, stands where many top-performers and successful reformers have once stood: at the crossroads of maintaining the status quo or embarking on a profound transformation of its education system. The current government is committed to make a long-lasting difference through a long-term strategy to build the Puebla Education Model, which will guide and align the efforts of all the actors in the system, and could inspire other states and federal reform efforts. Reform should focus on four areas: (i) strengthening support for schools and students; (ii) improving the quality of teachers and school leaders; (iii) increasing completion and quality in upper secondary education; and (iv) improving the planning, funding and use of school infrastructure. Moreover, a deep-rooted improvement calls for a more policy-oriented bureaucratic structure in Puebla and a new federal governance system.

  • Assessment and recommendations

    The state of Puebla, in Mexico, stands where many top-performers and successful reformers in education have stood: at the crossroads of maintaining the status quo or embarking on a profound transformation of its education system. Significant measures have already been put in place to improve quality and equity, but stronger efforts are necessary to create an education model that will not only drive internal improvement but also inspire other states and fuel federal reform efforts.

  • Building the Puebla education model

    The government of Puebla is committed to undertaking a profound transformation of its education system, just as many top-performers and successful reformers in education have already done, which will result in the Puebla Education Model. Significant improvements in enrolment, performance and completion have been achieved in recent years, but many students struggle to make progress and education opportunities and outcomes remain strongly linked to the socio-economic background of students. States are mainly responsible for the operation of schools within a complex governance system in which the federal government continues to play a prominent role in designing and funding education policies and SNTE has a strong influence on personnel decisions. The learning environment of schools is very challenging and often teachers and school leaders do not receive adequate preparation, support and compensation. Setting in motion reforms in key areas, drafting a long-term strategy and strengthening the capacity for improvement are the keystones to the Puebla Education Model.

  • Strengthening schools and student learning in Puebla

    Significant progress has been made in expanding access and raising student performance in basic education, greater attention is now being placed on students' performance and several recent initiatives could have an impact with further development and implementation. However, school failure remains a challenge: only three of four students who enter primary are expected to complete lower secondary education. Learning time is short, the curriculum lacks a local focus and is often narrowed down to tests, and assessment practices do not fully focus on improvement. Many schools operate under very challenging conditions, with scarce resources and weak support, particularly in the case of multi-grade schools.
    To strengthen schools and student learning, this chapter looks into policies to:

    • Provide high-quality and supportive learning experiences, particularly in early years and multi-grade schools
    • Further develop and exploit the potential of early warning systems and the use of assessments for learning
    • Foster a more efficient distribution of resources
    • Restructure school supervision, support and evaluation systems
  • Improving the quality of teachers and school leaders in Puebla

    Teachers and school leaders are the building blocks of the success of a country’s education system, but in Mexico, and Puebla is no exception. The need for a high quality teacher workforce in basic education has encountered economic, political and pedagogic difficulties. The roles and expectations of teachers and school leaders are unclear because there are no common standards in place. At present, the teaching profession in Mexico does not attract the best candidates and selection into initial education and teaching positions is not solely based on competence. There is an overprovision of initial teacher training which has an uneven quality and professional development opportunities lack both structure and a school-based focus. Similarly, school leaders and other education leaders are not well-prepared, supported or recognised, and their role lacks a focus on educational improvement.
    To raise the quality of teachers and school leaders, this chapter looks into policies to:

    • Foster the development and use of standards to clarify the roles and set high expectations for teachers and education leaders
    • Adjust the provision and raise the quality of the Normales
    • Develop and consolidate a professional development system more responsive to teachers' and schools' needs
    • Better select and prepare current and future school leaders and supervisors
  • Improving upper secondary education in Puebla

    Puebla has been very active in expanding access to upper secondary education: a decade ago created the Bachilleratos Generales, which cater half of the student population, and today still continues to increase coverage by introducing an innovative type of digital schools in rural areas. Upper secondary education is now mandatory nationwide, with universal coverage to be achieved by 2021-22, but the road to improvement is challenging. Weak system-wide leadership and a multiplicity of providers have resulted in inefficiencies and quality concerns. Dropout in basic education remains a bottleneck for raising enrolment in upper secondary education and weak support and guidance mechanisms as well as high opportunity costs to stay or return to education fuel noncompletion.
    To enhance the access and raise the quality of upper secondary education, this chapter looks into policies to:

    • Improve governance mechanisms to ensure that a coherent and high-quality upper secondary education is accessible to all.
    • Raise the quality of upper secondary education, focusing on teachers and Bachilleratos Generales, and increase the relevance of vocational programmes.
    • Promote access to and ensure completion of upper secondary education, particularly among disadvantaged students.
  • Improving education infrastructure in Puebla

    Well-designed, constructed, equipped and maintained schools that inspire and facilitate learning are critically important for improving the quality of education in Puebla. Significant steps have been taken in recent years to improve school infrastructure, such as higher investments through the Peso-a-Peso programme or innovative delivery ways through ICTs. However, the absence of strategic planning and decades of underinvestment have left their mark: lack of basic facilities, deterioration, overcrowded classrooms, untapped external spaces, little sharing of facilities between schools or other organisations. Also, shortages prompt schools to fundraise from parents’ associations particularly hindering disadvantaged schools and exacerbating social inequalities.
    To improve education infrastructure, this chapter looks into policies to:

    • Entrust a single body with the overall responsibility for school infrastructure and develop a long-term school infrastructure plan.
    • Secure adequate and equitable funding for school infrastructure.
    • Ensure that the design and use of the existing or new school infrastructure fosters student learning.
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