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MEXICO: Education

Elias Castillo from Mexico writes: "Liliana Quintanar needs to realize that the PAN is now in the process of instituting many of the educational values that are not only integral to the United States but to the developed nations. The primary goal of the developed nations' education system is to provide a core of university graduates who are well rounded not only in their primary career but truly educated in a sense that they see the world in an 180 degree view instead of the narrow technocratic view that has unfortunately characterized virtually all Mexican universities and has crippled Mexico for decades. Mexican universities are now in the beginning of requiring students to attend classes in political science, art and sciences, before they obtain their licenciatura (equivalent to a Bachelors degree). Mexican academics have finally realized that simply graduating "technoncratos" has not been healthy for Mexico.

Just as important for that educational system is to provide a nation with an independent thinking, literate and enterprising population that is produced by well equipped, clean schools taught by university educated teachers (Mexican teachers require only a glorified high school certificate and trail in teaching methods so much that school districts in California must hire Spanish (from Spain) elementary school teachers instead of Mexican teachers who do not meet the stringent requirements for the state's schools.

As for political and social values, the United States has done pretty well since the 1700's with those values, that are common to all developed nations. It's certainly not perfect, but every four years, in mostly honest elections, the populace has the choice of changing paths. As far as American corporations, if there complaints in Mexico about them they should be aimed not at the firms but at the Mexican government which has allowed those firms, as does PEMEX and other Mexican corporations, to operate virtually free of restrictions within the country. Also, if Mexican consumers, as likewise American consumers, are dumb enough to flock to the garbage producing American fast-food restaurants that now pepper both nations, the problem lies with the consumers lining up to buy what are extremely unhealthy foods, not with Americans fast food corporations forcing themselves on a Mexican populace. Both Mexico and the United States thrive in a capitalist system, and as long as a product does not actually kill someone outright, the governments deem it worthy of sale.

However, it is the responsibility of education and health systems, not those corporations, to teach its students good eating habits mainly that stuffing oneself with french fries, milk shakes, hamburgers, fried foods and smoking will eventually debilitate and kill consumers. It is the responsibility of the government of Mexico to educate its populace on the ills of consuming what some consider tasty but absolutely unhealthy products. That is why in the United States we have consumer protection agencies and a federal health agency that issues warning against junk foods. Do not expect corporations to operate on the basis of being absolutely forthcoming on the faults of their products--that's why the developed nations have agencies that are aimed at protecting the consumer, i.e. recalls, warnings and prohibitions on defective and dangerous products and, that, unfortunately, is something on which Mexico needs to urgently work on".

Ronald Hilton - 11/27/01