Protests and Sit Ins in Mexico Protesting Educational Reform

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Road Blockade in Chiapas, via TWITTER

June 27, 2016 (MEXICO CITY) While we have been talking BREXIT, there is another sign of resistance to neoliberal reforms. Mexico is but one example, and it is one that will affect the United States, sooner or later. In this case it is the reforms to the education system and what the Coordinadora Nacional de la Educacion (CNTE) believes is a clear road to privatization.

If they are correct, this would be the end of both secular and free education, which is critical for millions of Mexican youth that otherwise would have no access to education. There is a parallel system of private education in Mexico. While some schools are extremely good, the fact is that many are religious schools. So what has happened? The first thing that happened was a march on Mexico City back in May and a sit in front of the Education Ministry.

The second were wide spread protests in Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, incidentally one of the poorest states in Mexico. During the protest, a Mexican reporter was killed, which should surprise none. The Mexican press has been suffering an extremely high number of casualties for years, but also six other people were killed. They are believed to be teachers.  There are over 100 people who were injured.

So what are the reforms? They sound pretty logical but they are not. One of them is to professionalize the system, by requiring continuing education and the end of life time tenure. There is also a certain level of corruption in the system, which the CNTE likes to ignore, that allows teachers to teach at one school and get paid for another five. This is a complaint we have heard in Mexico City. And if true,. that is a very serious allegation, and it is especially the case in rural schools.

However, it is becoming increasingly clear that this reform, is a code to privative public schools. The National University in Mexico is quoting a study from the London School on this. For the moment the Mexican Federal Government is denying this is happing. That said, this is a fear across Latin America. For example, there are efforts to do so in Panama, and in Argentina. The excuse is the same. We want to make it more competitive with the developed world.

It is also becoming increasingly clear that there is a rising level of resistance to these reforms, as people are not taking it anymore. Nor have we gone into the second reform that people are rising against in Mexico, and that is the health system reform that is also feared is on it’s way to becoming privatized.

 

 

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