Mexico’s national teacher exams were deemed a “success” by the coordinator of the country’s professional education network, Ramiro Álvarez, following three days of testing. A total of 39,367 teachers completed the tests, according to CNNMéxico. A further 7,135 registered for the tests but did not turn up to the exam, at a 16.6 percent no-show rate. The tests are part of Mexico’s public education secretary’s method to determine if applicants qualify for a better position within the country’s school system. Of the applicants, 7,135 were applying for a managerial position and 23,393 tested were applying for a supervisory role. Termed the “strongest challenge yet” to President Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2013 reform program, according to the Huffington Post, supporters of the tests say they are to ensure that better qualified teachers remain in the educational sector. However, not everyone supports the new initiative. On June 1, thousands took to the streets in Mexico City and Oaxaca to protest against the new methods, citing fears that poorer teachers lack the financial support to meet required standards.
“The evaluations are punitive,” said Juan Carlos López, 42, a primary school teacher. “It’s a justification to fire teachers on a massive scale,” he told Reuters. The national committee of educational workers, an organization present in the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán and Oaxaca, met the proposed tests with strike-fuelled backlash. A Telesur reporter tweeted photos of teachers protesting outside of test centers in Oaxaca on Saturday.
— Ayudando a un cambio (@_uncambio) June 20, 2015
— Eduardo Martinez (@EduardomteleSUR) June 20, 2015
“Here in Oaxaca, not even one exam was completed, and we are not going to allow this testing to be completed,” Benito Vázquez, spokesperson for the Oaxaca branch of the CNTE, commented during an interview with Mexico’s Radio Fórmula. “We are against the tests and have decided after our state assembly to call upon our members not to attend the exam,” Vázquez said. Peña Nieto’s educational reform has been met with mixed reviews, spanning from critiques by education experts to tweets questioning the president’s literacy.However, with the president stating the reform has “no way back,” more strikes against new country-wide testing could be on the way.
— GUIA INFORMATIVA (@Monitor_sur) June 23, 2015
With results due to be released on July 26, Mexico’s educational system could yet witness more violence as the government continues with its controversial reform plan.