Enrique Peña Nieto, the current president of the united states of Mexico wants to reform the educational system.
Not a topic one would normally find on a travel blog, but we are in Mexico and find ourselves talking about it quite often with the different Couchsurfers we are staying with throughout Mexico. One of the first things I heard about Mexicans is that they almost never go on strike; they would rather have a chill life than a moved one. Ten thousands of people coming out on the streets in Mexico City and in other parts of the country must mean they do care about this particular subject: Education.
The mainstream media focuses as usual on the riots and willingly shows images of people getting swept away by the police or fighting against the police. One might easily conclude the CNTE (the teachers union) is the victim here, but as usual there is another side to the story.
The reason why there is so much resistance against this particular reform is that the president is trying to put a halt to the corruption in the country with this reformation, something that resides in the very core of the current educational system.
Some facts about the current educational system:
- The majority of the teachers in the public schools in Mexico don’t have to do a job interview for their teachers’ position.
- Family members hand down their position to their relatives.
- The only requirement to become a teacher is to finish high school.
- You can teach in any field your relative hands to you. For example: You don’t not even to be able to speak English, to become an English teacher.
- There are thousands of phantom teachers getting a paycheck every month, because the CNTE does not keep track of teachers, schools, teachers attendance, nothing.
- A teachers’ position guarantees a paycheck for life.
- Teachers in public schools are absent from schools for many days because they cannot be fired.
- Teachers don’t show up because they don’t want to or are too busy striking.
- The CNTE is more worried about losing their political power than they are of education of the children.
- There are even high-ranking drug dealers on the payroll, who do not teach at all.
- Ester Gordillo, one of the most corrupt characters in Mexican politics, was leading the CNTE. She is in jail now.
Sometimes the need for change seems so obvious if you are able to look at the facts. However, it is so hard to put your beliefs on the side for a moment and look at the matter from a neutral point of view. If you have no personal interest this is easily done, but would you even bother to engage in a conversation about it? It’s all very paradoxical.
Would you be willing to sacrifice your privileges for the greater good?
I guess it is a hard question to ask in a country where a lot of people earn very little and live in poverty.