2.5 million Mexican children dropped out of school in 2020

Some families can no longer afford to send their children to school

2.5 million Mexican children dropped out of school in 2020
Distance learning will begin for more than 30 million Mexican school children on August 24 - Photo: File photo
English 23/08/2020 12:22 Mexico City Actualizada 12:31

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The Public Education Ministry (SEP) estimates around 2.5 million schoolchildren dropped out of school during the 2019-2020 school year, which was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Education Minister Esteban Moctezuma revealed that 25,417,000 students signed up for school during the 2019-2020 school year; however, education authorities recently revealed 10% of children abandoned school amid the pandemic.

Luciano Concheiro Bórquez said school dropouts in high school reached 8%, while in basic education they reached 10%.

Now that classes are resuming through distance learning, the SEP official said the government is working to make sure no one stays behind. 

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On the other hand, Concheiro Bórquez also discussed the Zero Rejection program, which aims to provide university education to students who weren’t accepted into university. 

According to the government official, there are 37,977 spots available in 185 universities. The program has 2,860 majors to chose from. 

Distance learning

Distance learning will begin for more than 30 million Mexican schoolchildren on August 24, but a return to classrooms will remain an uncertain goal, Mexico’s Education Minister announced today.

Moctezuma said with the help of teachers and families, children will continue with their education.

Minister Esteban Moctezuma Barragán and executives from the country’s largest television networks presented a plan to put educational instruction on television.

Moctezuma said that risks to in-person education are too high. Officials fear children could become COVID-19 carriers, infecting relatives at home.

“We wanted to return to in-person classes, but it is not possible, nor prudent,” Moctezuma said.

Students will not return to classrooms until the government’s version of a stoplight to evaluate the pandemic’s risk is safely at green.

Moctezuma cited several countries that had opened schools and then had to close them as infections spread.

In Mexico, remote indigenous communities will be able to access instruction through government radio stations. Moctezuma said television¡ was a good option because government data shows 94% of homes have one. Also, around 140 million free textbooks will be distributed among students.

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In cases of multiple children at different grade levels in a home, Moctezuma said programming would try to take this into account and that classes would be repeated at multiple time slots.

“It is returning to classes with all of the formality,” said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. “This is not an emergency or transitory course. It is starting classes per the education plan.”

The president said details about the costs would be shared soon, but that they would be minimal.

The government signed a contract with four TV broadcasters: Televisa, TV Azteca, Grupo Imagen, and Grupo Multimedios. They will provide education to 30 million children. It is unclear if private schools will follow the same scheme.

The educational instruction will be available from 7 AM to 8 PM. 

Meanwhile, public autonomous universities will determine when will students return to their campuses.

Mexico first closed schools on March 20.