MEXICAN Education Secretary Aurelio Nuno pledged on Wednesday to revise pernicious teacher evaluation tests that have sparked months of strikes.
But he refused to meet with teachers’ union CNTE, which is leading the strikes, preferring to deal with the rival SNTE that is aligned with President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government.
“Last week, I welcomed the proposals brought to me by SNTE — 11 propositions that brought us to various negotiating tables … that would allow us to come to an important agreement regarding the education reform,” Mr Nuno said.
“We have agreed, and the SEP (Ministry of Public Education) has decided, to revise and improve the evaluation of teachers to make it more appropriate and much more useful.”
Mr Nuno said he would also expand the curriculum and increase teachers’ wages by 3.5 per cent.
The CNTE wants the tests dropped outright, saying they are a mere pretext for mass sackings. Those who refuse to take the exams automatically lose their jobs.
Mexico-based academic and writer John Mill Ackerman told Tuesday’s Keiser Report programme on Russia Today television that the government’s aim was to suppress critical thinking by teachers and attempts to educate pupils about their national heritage.
“The ‘education reform’ is designed to fire thousands of teachers, particularly from the south,” he said.
“It is the rural teachers in Mexico who have the profound commitment and knowledge of Mexican history and culture.”
“The Education Department has designed these new evaluations … to kick out the most conscious and critical teachers.”