Mexico: Agreement enhances teaching and learning conditions in the higher education sector

published 23 September 2020 updated 23 September 2020

In Mexico, a new agreement was reached between the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE) and the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) for quality working and living conditions for educators and quality education for students in the higher education sector.

Over 6,000 teachers from the IPN will benefit from the agreement, which covers key areas such as programmes to recruit qualified personnel, promoting teaching, administrative regularisation of teaching personnel, and a programme to provide laptops.

Education still standing despite pandemic

“In the midst of the pandemic and despite its repercussions on the economy, education is still standing,” said Alfonso Cepeda Salas, SNTE General Secretary and member of Education International’s Executive Board. He signed this landmark agreement with the IPN Director General, Mario Alberto Rodríguez Casas, during a ceremony held at the IPN General Directorate and followed via internet by 4,400 members of the polytechnic community.

The agreement is the result of direct consultations carried out through virtual meetings between SNTE and diverse union sections and involving more than 2,000 teachers from the different polytechnic institutions.

Collaborative approach paid dividends

Despite challenges, Cepeda Salas said, “the federal Government, the Secretary of Public Education, as well as the authorities of the IPN and the SNTE, managed to conclude crucial arrangements to answer longstanding demands and requests postponed for many years”.

He added that scholarships or financial support for students have not been cancelled, investment has been made in educational materials and in keeping teachers up to date with the fast evolution in the use of new technologies.

He also highlighted that all education workers have kept their employment, income, benefits, and health rights intact, as well as their pensions.

Teachers ensure that no one is left out of education

“Teachers at all educational levels are doing everything possible so that no one is left out of education. We have to go out to rescue, to reach out to each student who, for economic or health reasons, or for any circumstance, has left school,” the SNTE General Secretary Cepeda Salas stressed.

Trusting that “when the pandemic ends and we begin the recovery, there will be a new consensus in favour of public schools and its fundamental institutions”. He appreciated the IPN Director General’s willingness to reach agreements benefiting the entire polytechnic community.

A milestone for working conditions

IPN Director Rodríguez Casas acknowledged that this agreement “marks a milestone for the working conditions of the IPN teaching staff”. He thanked Cepeda Salas and SNTE for their commitment to education and to the IPN teachers. “In this time of a health, economic, and social crisis, our teachers have demonstrated, once again, their great vocation and commitment to ensure the continuity of educational excellence.”

He confirmed that the IPN management will continue with a “sustained and constant” effort to improve the employment situation of the polytechnic academic staff.