The numbers clearly reflect the educational dilemma in Mexico: 40% of the population does not complete a basic education, and of the 31 million students currently enrolled in required education, approximately 5,000 students drop out of school every day. In fact, out of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member states, Mexico recently ranked 34th when it came to education. This is unacceptable. But even for those students who remain in school, the quality of their education is a major concern. The government’s financial commitment to education in Mexico is low, with only 0.8% of the GDP going towards early childhood social investments. This leads to overcrowded classrooms and lack of textbooks, underpaid and unequipped teachers.
The end result is lower quality of education, and learning outcomes. For example, only 40% of students who achieve a bachelor’s degree in Mexico have a level of reading comprehension that allows them to adequately understand and retain the content they are reading, and express relevant opinions or ideas. The link between these poor educational outcomes and a young-?person’s ability to secure a job, and thereby break the cycle of poverty is clear. Speaking of poverty – as is the case in most countries - the population most impacted by the lack of investment in education in Mexico are those already struggling, at the lower economic ranks of society.
These families struggle to not only attain a quality education, but often to access formal education in the first place. While public school is technically free, there are financial commitments such as nominal fees for certain middle and high schools, required materials and uniforms, transportation costs, and social factors such as special needs or disabilities, childcare for younger or elderly family members, all of which make attending school a costly proposition. Many teachers also reference factors such as students who simply don’t have enough to eat to give them the nourishment and energy needed to get through a full school day, students who have fallen into gangs or drug use, and students who suffer abuse at home or are traumatized by previous experiences in an educational system that lacks oversight and proper administration. Despite these conditions, many civil society organizations and influential private and philanthropic players in Mexico are committed to improving access and quality of education for students of all ages. There are rays of hope for reform, thanks to organizations like Enseña Por México, who are stepping up to change the education system from the inside.
Enseña Por México – A Ray of Hope Enseña Por México’s mission is to empower young adults to improve educational outcomes in schools and become socially-conscious leaders in their future careers. As of 2018, they’ve managed to reach 60,000 students across Mexico with their methodology which embeds highly-trained teachers into low performing schools across 8 different states of Mexico. Thanks to funding from the International Community Foundation, 50 teachers are currently wrapping up their second year at 30 schools in La Paz, right here in Baja California Sur, benefitting over 7,500 students. ICF and Enseña Por Mexico are currently fundraising to bring the program to schools in and around Los Cabos!
As a member of Teach For All — a global network that strives to improve access to quality education — Enseña Por México trains and supports leaders in the education system. Like its prestigious and proven U.S. counterpart, Teach for America, the goal is to train young leaders who commit to two years of teaching in a low performing school. Unlike the typical public school teacher, Enseña Por México teachers use a one-to-one methodology, which encourages self-learning and soft skills development, bringing about a holistic transformation in the students in both their academic and social lives.
The young leaders that Enseña Por México selects and trains are called PEMs, or “Teaching Professionals for Mexico”. These PEMs complete a rigorous leadership training while serving two years as teachers in underserved primary and secondary schools, and leading community-?driven service activities alongside their students. The methodology emphasizes spending time with individual students, listening and responding to their needs, and real-?world application, instead of the typical memorization and lecturing.
Enseña Por México and its PEMs, successful students are those who not only perform well academically, but those who also engage with their community, improve study habits and demonstrate improvements in their behavior and personal lives. Ultimately, Enseña Por México strives to foster a transformation that is personal, social, and educational for every student — and every teacher!
How You Can Help Students (and Teachers!) in Baja California Sur Enseña Por México’s committed teachers can’t transform the educational system without the support of generous donors. In 2018, the International Community Foundation and our donors are supporting Enseña Por México in La Paz, while also working to expand the program to Los Cabos and the San Diego-Tijuana border region.
To learn more about how to support these efforts directly or through ICF (a U.S. registered nonprofit organization), please contact Program officer, Eliza Brennan: email@example.com or US Tel: 619-336-2250. If you have an organization or cause that you care about and need assistance in your international charitable giving, we encourage you to visit www.icfdn.org.