• 90 percent of teachers have already taken evaluation tests, he said.
  • In 2016, 500,000 teachers and professionals sat entrance examinations for the teaching profession, approximately half of whom were admitted, he declared.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said the Education Reform in Mexico is underway and progressing significantly to raise the quality of education for the country’s children and young people.

During his participation in the discussion by Heads of State and Government at the 11th Ibero-American Business Meeting, together with the presidents of Colombia, Chile, Peru and Portugal, President Peña Nieto said that education reform has not been free of resistance, “As happens every time you try to make a fundamental change”.

He noted that despite having, “Very encouraging figures, people focus more on the negative than on the positive and that is what is happening in the implementation of Education Reform”. He said that, “90 percent of teachers who should already have been evaluated according to the schedule have already taken evaluation tests”.

At the discussion, moderated by President of the Inter-American Development Bank Luis Alberto Moreno, the Mexican president outlined three basic components of Education Reform in the country:

FIRST: Ensure that there are better trained teachers with an opportunity to grow professionally.

He explained that this has involved assessing in-service teachers. “Let us remember that Mexico has the largest union in Latin America, with 1,200,000 teachers, many of them have accepted the Reform and been evaluated,” he said.

He added that any professional wishing to be a teacher, “Can do so by accrediting knowledge and passing assessment tests”.

He highlighted, “Proof of the good things that are happening is that in 2016, 500,000 teachers and professionals sat entrance examinations for the teaching profession, approximately half of whom were admitted”.

SECOND: Strengthen educational infrastructure. “Much of the educational infrastructure was in poor condition, so we created financial mechanisms. Over $8.5 billion USD will be invested from now until 2018 to create new infrastructure and above all improve existing infrastructure in 35,000 schools,” he said.

“This implies fiscal resources and a financial mechanism, which involved designing an educational bonus which was launched on the stock exchange, which has been very well received to finance infrastructure development,” he said.

THIRD: Educational contents. “We must change the educational contents, in other words, the way we teach, and the content of what we teach,” he added.

He explained that in Mexico “We shifted from what was basically a rote learning model to promoting a model to teach the new generations to learn to learn”.

He added that, “In this mobility, in today’s rapidly changing world involving the use of new technologies and other areas, we must teach the new generations to update their knowledge, and that's the model we are promoting: to teach them to learn to learn,” EPN.

WE MUST TAKE CARE OF WHAT WE HAVE ADVANCED

In a second round of interventions, the president of Mexico said: “Today, when uncertainty and distrust are a constant, the great challenge we have is to look after the progress we have had; let us implement the policies and reforms every country has managed to achieve”.

“I am sure that without deviating from that route, we will be able to build better opportunities for our societies in the future,” he said.

He noted that, “Today we are focusing on the quality of education to ensure the proper training of human capital and on the other hand, I think it is crucial ensure a good environment for enabling the entrepreneurship of our young people to flourish”.

He highlighted the change Mexico has undergone in recent years, from a country where one of the attractions were low wages and where the formation of human capital was not a central issue, “To a new production model in which we are innovating, and adding value to the production being generated in Mexico”.

“We are evolving from a country specializing in maquila to far more complex manufacturing in various sectors: the automotive industry and the aerospace industry, which is one of the fastest growing industries in Mexico today, which has been growing at 15 or 16 percent annually,” he said.

He recalled that Mexico is the world’s seventh largest automobile producer; “The leading producer of flat screens; several appliances, refrigerators, and so on; in other words, our manufacturing is increasingly complex”.

President Peña Nieto said Mexico is on the path to ensuring that the structural change in the country becomes, “A way for future generations to find scope for fulfillment in their work and professional development”. He explained that this depends on us, “Focusing on the training of human capital, and I think we are doing this on the basis of Education Reform,” and rather than seeking to expand coverage, which is currently sufficient in Mexico, especially at the basic levels, striving to achieve quality education.

He added that, “There are several programs we have implemented to support entrepreneurship. We created an institute that provides support and financing and accompanies entrepreneurship, particularly of young people”.

He said that the country must guarantee its macroeconomic stability and continue to advance and implement reforms to guarantee society greater scope for fulfillment.

At the event, Ibero-American Secretary General Rebeca Grynspan and King Philip IV of Spain led the presentation of the Ibero-American Quality Award 2016.

Prize-winning institutions included Chapultepec Elementary School in the state of Nuevo León in the Public Administration category; and the Federal Electricity Commission’s Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Station in the Public Enterprise category. This is the third time the Mexican Nuclear Power Station has received the Gold Award, as a result of which it was also presented with the Excellent Trajectory Award by President Peña Nieto.

The heads of state also received recommendations and a business proposal from Daniel Funes, President of the International Organization of Employers; Bruce MacMaster, President of the National Business Association of Colombia; and Juan Rosell, Permanent Secretary of the Ibero-American Business Council.