Table of Contents

  • Education is fundamental to the future of any country, to provide equal opportunities for our citizens and to the well-being of our societies as a whole. Better and more diversified skills contribute to strengthening economic growth, development and social cohesion. Thus, it is of central importance for governments to look for the right mix of policies to improve the quality and equity of their public education systems. This report proposes an education reform strategy for Mexico based on comparative analysis of the key policy levers for successful schools and school systems that can also be used to support policy development across OECD and partner countries.

  • The report Improving schools: strategies for action in Mexico aims to help education authorities in Mexico and other OECD countries to strengthen their education systems. It focuses on policies to improve teaching, school management and leadership across schools so as to improve children’s attainment in basic education. The report develops a comparative framework of the key policy levers for successful schools and school systems and adapts it to the context and reality of Mexico.

  • During the last ten years, international comparisons of the performance of different education systems have become increasingly prominent. Data show that countries can substantially improve educational outcomes in a relatively short period of time – from a few years to a single generation. At the same time, there is compelling evidence that quality and equity are not mutually exclusive and that it is possible for nearly all students to achieve excellent results.

  • Improving the quality of education needs to be a political and social priority in Mexico. Higher levels of skills can contribute to strengthening social cohesion, development and economic growth. This chapter reviews the main achievements in the system, but also the challenges currently facing Mexico and the main reforms the country has fostered in basic education to overcome them. The last section reviews some of the conditions and pathways that can contribute to success in implementing much-needed reforms in Mexico.

  • This chapter argues that the single most important policy reform Mexico can make to improve education outcomes for its young people is to build a powerful system to recruit, prepare, develop and evaluate the very best teachers for its schools. It addresses the challenges of recruiting, preparing, developing and evaluating a top-flight teaching force, and sets out eight major recommendations in a sequence that follows a teacher’s trajectory from initial training through to permanent status as a full professional, when professional development and evaluation become important elements.

  • This chapter focuses on how changes in the way schools are led and managed in Mexico could improve their effectiveness. Research evidence shows that the quality of school leadership is fundamental in raising the attainment of students. But instructional leadership is not a prominent feature of Mexican schools. Directors do not have appropriate training, development and incentives to focus on improving the quality of instruction and schools’ results, and on strengthening the school’s links to the community.

  • The previous chapters provide a set of specific policy recommendations to support improvements in teacher quality and school effectiveness in Mexico based on international analysis and evidence and its contextualisation to Mexico. Lessons from OECD country experiences in implementing reforms successfully show that the quality of the analysis underlying a reform can positively affect prospects for both adoption and implementation, as well as the quality of the policy itself. In addition, evidence suggests that the influence of policy-oriented research, however diffuse and indirect, can be quite powerful over time, as it gradually reshapes the consensus concerning a policy regime. This is the aim of these recommendations: to provide a solid analytical base that can contribute to consensus building and effective reforms over the long run.