Education in Mexico
Education in Mexico has a history of being low in quality and, thus, enrollment. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), almost 19% of Mexican children between the ages of 15 and 19 do not have a high school education. As of 2022, the graduation rate of Mexican students is only 45% and those who are receiving an education are not even close to receiving a quality education.

Barriers to Education in Mexico

There are many barriers to education in Mexico, a large one being the shrinking of funds that go towards the school systems. In the past 5 years, Mexico has cut its textbook budget by a third and reduced its teacher training by more than 40%. As of 2018, Mexico is only spending 16.58% of its budget on education, a number that has been declining since 2015. The limited money that is going towards education in Mexico makes it almost impossible to develop a higher-quality system.

Another barrier to education in Mexico is the poverty that 43.9% of people are currently living in. School dropout rates and grade repetitions are very real and serious issues for students living in poorer communities and largely affect teenagers. Many young adults have to abandon the privilege of an education and seek work instead. Low-quality education is more of a reality for children in the marginalized areas of Mexico, exhibiting disregard for regional differences and therefore putting some students at major disadvantages. Due to natural disasters and a lack of funding, many school buildings are in extremely poor condition, disrupting learning and sometimes, putting students in danger.

Nonprofits Improving Education in Mexico

The poor quality of education in Mexico is doing a severe disservice to the future of the country. Thankfully, there are a few organizations that are trying to combat the deeply flawed system. Project Amigo is a nonprofit that is helping the disadvantaged and marginalized children of west-central Mexico by providing educational scholarships, school supplies and health care to those who need it. It accepts monetary, laptop and book donations, all of which help students achieve their academic and extracurricular goals. Other organizations are focusing on training capable and empowered teachers. Enseña Por México trains young leaders who, upon completion of the program, devote a minimum of two years to working in a low-income school. As of 2018, approximately 284 of Enseña Por México’s alumni became teachers in eight different states.

Looking Ahead

While some schools are in worse shape than others, the overall quality of education in Mexico is poor. Denying young people the right to receive a well-rounded education is no better than denying them any education at all. It is imperative that organizations like Project Amigo and Enseña Por México get the support that they need to help the children of Mexico flourish.

– Ava Lombardi
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Child Poverty in Mexico
Right now, more than a quarter of Mexican children live in poverty. Many of these children lack the basic necessities for success, such as education, food and housing. As a result, the cycle of poverty continues. Mexico possesses a two-sided economy in which one side thrives with a growing GDP, while the other is overwhelmingly impoverished. This socioeconomic disparity results in devastating consequences for Mexico’s most vulnerable demographic- its children. Here are three important ways to help alleviate child poverty in Mexico.

3 Ways to Help Alleviate Child Poverty in Mexico

  1. Improve Education Quality: The dedication to education in Mexico is staggeringly low. As of right now, only 0.8% of Mexico’s GDP goes toward early childhood social investments. This percentage is lower than every other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country other than Turkey. With nearly 5,000 Mexican children dropping out of school every day, the need for education reform is growing increasingly stronger. Only 62% of Mexican children reach high school and a mere 38% of Mexican adults between 25 and 64 have completed an upper secondary education. This is a startling statistic in comparison to the OECD average of 74% of adults between 25 and 64 having completed secondary education. Education directly links to poverty reduction; organizations such as Enseña Por México recognize the serious disadvantages that children in Mexico face as a result of their lack of effective schooling. Enseña Por México, a counterpart of the U.S. organization Teach for America, aims to expand educational opportunities in Mexico. Its methodology includes one-on-one teaching from education professionals in the hopes of bolstering academic, professional and social development. While the organization has been running for the past six years, it has served more than 60,000 students.
  2. Ensure Food Security: While rates of malnutrition in Mexico have dropped in recent years, the prime issue of food insecurity still prevails. Nationally, 13% of children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition. This percentage primarily comes from rural southern Mexico, where food insecurity is a prevalent issue. Food insecurity results from problems with availability, accessibility and consumption. The number of malnourished children in Mexico is not a result of the country’s lack of national food production; rather, it is a product of Mexico’s poor families lacking basic access to food. However, some are making efforts to help these underprivileged children and their families. Organizations such as the Southern Baja Food Security Alliance (SBFSA) are working to provide healthy food programs in rural areas of Mexico. The organization works in collaboration with community stakeholders to help institute education programs that teach citizens how to grow and harvest healthy foods. These programs reach into the particularly rural areas of Southern Mexico that suffer from food insecurity the most severely. These communities desperately need sustainable solutions to alleviate hunger in their communities and ensure proper nutrition for their children.
  3. Remove Children from Dangerous Situations: Homelessness is a frequent consequence of child poverty in Mexico. Mexico City has more than 14,000 underprivileged and street children. Housing instability results in a heightened number of at-risk youths. Stunted development physically, psychologically and behaviorally all inextricably linked to homelessness. These inhibited developments lead to children falling victim to issues like substance abuse, depression and mental health problems. The reasons why many children are homeless in Mexico are that they have learning disabilities, come from situations of domestic violence or have familial estrangements. Tragically, it is not uncommon to see homeless children as young as 5 years old attempting to sell trinkets on the streets of larger cities such as Mexico City or Puebla. Certain organizations have been working to take these homeless children out of their dangerous living situations. Mexico Child Link Trust, for example, works toward helping abandoned children with learning disabilities in Mexico. The organization provides housing for abandoned and orphaned children with learning disabilities, many of whom are prior street children. With more than 20 years of success, the Mexico Child Link Trust has helped numerous children gain sustainable housing. Meanwhile, Street Soccer Mexico A.C. uses soccer as a tool to help homeless and disadvantaged children transform their perspectives and attitudes. The organization receives aid from national and civic institutions to organize soccer training and tournaments for its members. Since its opening 6 years ago, Street Soccer Mexico A.C. has expanded its program to reach every state of Mexico.

Looking Ahead

Child poverty in Mexico is flourishing as a substantial portion of the Mexican population lives below the poverty line. A lack of education, food insecurity and homelessness plague many of their lives. While organizations work toward aiding these vulnerable individuals, an abundance of work still needs to occur to help the impoverished children of Mexico.

– Hope Shourd
Photo: Flickr