Mexico: Teachers fight to overhaul education reform measures

published 3 July 2018 updated 6 July 2018

The Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE) is pushing for a structural review of the 2013 education reforms introduced by outgoing president Enrique Peña Nieto.

According to SNTE, this is not a question of replacing the reforms entirely, but rather of working to improve them and to challenge the measures that negatively affect teachers’ professional development.

Alfonso Cepeda Salas, General Secretary of SNTE, explained that “teachers are aware that they must adapt in order to improve their work and be better able to engage with younger generations, a process in which SNTE has taken part by offering free refresher courses and demanding unconditional respect for education workers’ rights”.

He also stated that these efforts have proven insufficient, and a review of how the education reforms were implemented discovered many inconsistencies and misinterpretations of the law on the part of several Mexican state governments, thereby hindering the professional development of the country’s teachers.

Among other shortcomings, he identified issues with regard to the allocation of teaching positions and promotions, understaffed schools, limited training offered to teachers, and lack of funding for school infrastructures and equipment.

On the other hand, the union’s efforts have helped to resolve the precarious employment situation of prefects and laboratory assistants from Mexico City, who had been left without secured permanent positions due to a misinterpretation of the law.

“Unlike the current global trend towards precarious work and cuts to social security, SNTE is in the process of consolidating employment security for its members: improving their wages and working conditions, offering alternatives for refresher and continuing professional development courses, as well as guaranteeing them a decent retirement. Together as a union we are stronger”, declared the president of SNTE, Juan Díaz de la Torre.

“Education is the key to overcoming the problems we face: corruption, insecurity, impunity, injustice and inequality. It is up to all of us to carry out our responsibilities; education workers are doing so and they are backed by their union”, he added.