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MEXICO: Education



Like many others, I have an excellent impression of President Fox. However, a new poll shows that his popularity has declined. Is this just the usual fickleness of the public, or the disillusionment of Mexicans who hoped for miracles? Raúl Escalante comments from Mexico: "It is frustrating to see that a lot of people still take President Fox's discourse at face value! Even in normal circumstances it would be entirely unrealistic to expect a government to reform a country's educational system in one year. All the new government has done is to carry on with reforms planned by the previous administrations.

My direct experience with the new administration has been pathetic. I have seen far worse nepotism in the four months I have consulted for the new government (I neither benefited from nor was harmed by it) than I did during three years as an officer in the Finance Ministry. The level of infighting is ridiculous even by first-year-of-administration standards. As to the level of professionalism, the jury is still out on the Education Ministry, but if the re-expropriation of 21 sugar mills can be set as a standard, other ministries are clearly very much worse off than when the PRI was in power. I am not anti-Fox or anti-PAN. If I had been in Mexico during the elections, I would have voted for both. But it is high time to start looking hard and objectively at the facts about this new presidency.

The way we're going, our next president will be the current mayor of Mexico City, Andrés Manuel López Obrador from the PRD. One of his first acts in office was to cut his own pay, and freeze the wages of top-level government officers (noble-minded but terribly ineffective). I wonder how these officers will feel when offered bribes five years into the term, when they are about to lose their jobs...

The only way the Mexican education system will be reformed is by paying teachers approximately 500% of what they earn now... and that is a very hard job to tackle given that the Education Ministry already absorbs about 30% of programmable government spending".

Ronald Hilton - 12/1/01


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