Mexico City, Mexico – Public Education Secretary Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos said this week that an additional 15 billion pesos per year is necessary to increase access to high school education by 50 percent.
This investment would be used to build 380 new schools per year, in order to achieve universal high-school access by 2022. In addition to the new infrastructure, the funds will permit the continuation of quality teacher training programs that provide the country with the skilled professionals it needs, he said.
During the 36th International Congress of General Surgery, in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Cordova Villalobos discussed the labor reform and highlighted the importance of creating better working conditions for young people - including guaranteed hourly pay and benefits. He said that state authorities have been trying to reduce the drop-out rate in high schools and colleges, as many students are opting to leave school and enter the job market.
Quoted on CNN’s Expansion website, Mexican Competitiveness Institute (IMCO) Research Director Armando Chacon said that "in the last three decades, the average education level of Mexico’s labor market has moved up from four years to 8.5. That is to say that, as a country, we have not yet completed secondary school."
Cordova Villalobos said that the Calderon administration’s scholarship program was not enough, though it is the largest in Mexico’s history. Many students living in poverty urgently need access to the job market, he said.
The labor reform also benefits young people by providing them with job experience while still in school, Cordova Villalobos said.
Their participation in the job market was developing new entrepreneurs, creating new companies and providing more jobs for Mexico, he added.According to President Felipe Calderon’s sixth annual report, roughly 70 percent of Mexican students have access to high school education, compared to 33 percent that have access to college level.