President López Obrador suspends Peña Nieto's education reform

The President said the education reform didn't translate into the improvement of the quality of public education

President López Obrador suspends Peña Nieto's education reform
The education reform was issued in 2013 by the former administration, led by Enrique Peña Nieto - Photo: Agustín Salinas/EL UNIVERSAL
English 16/04/2019 14:39 Mexico City Actualizada 14:49
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On Tuesday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador signed a memorandum to suspend an education reform enacted by former President Enrique Peña Nieto, so that consensus can be sought for a new law.

López Obradorsigned a memorandum addressed to the Education, Interior, and Finance ministries to suspend the legislation passed by the government of his predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto while talks proceed in search of a new education reform that is “accepted by all.”

In the document, the President suggests that fired teachers are hired again, to free the teachers and activists who have been unfairly imprisoned, and that the government acknowledges all the damage caused by the former government; that is, that the families of those who died while they fought for their rights receive financial compensation.

The document also calls for teachers from all fractions to maintain a permanent dialogue, prevent confrontations, and look for a legal way to guarantee the people's right to education.

The President also said the education reform didn't translate into the improvement of the quality of public education.

So far, legislators have failed to reach an agreement on how to replace Peña Nieto’s reform, which López Obrador vowed to get rid of the education reform prior to taking office in December 2018.

López Obrador has said the reform belongs to the “neo-liberal” era, his name for the three and a half decades that preceded his administration. He has repeatedly blamed that period for aggravating poverty, corruption, and violence in Mexico.

The announcement, made at López Obrador’s regular morning news conference, could be a risky decision for the President because some polls suggest the existing reform has significant public support.

An online survey by polling firm Mitofsky suggests that out of nearly 9,000 Mexicans, 60% backed Peña Nieto’s education reform, while 35.5% opposed it.

Peña Nieto faced resistance from teachers opposed to the education reform, which implemented tougher teaching standards but was considered unfair by educators in rural areas in particular, who don't have the proper training, technology, or means.

The CNTE teachers union, a dissident independent group from the biggest union, the SNTE, has staged protests and blockades to pressure López Obrador to cancel the 2013 reform.

The CNTE argued that the reform was a maneuver by Peña Nieto to regain political control of education.

López Obrador says that the government will maintain control of tenure positions in the teaching profession after the CNTE demanded that the union should control the appointments.

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