Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is the current president-elect of Mexico, having won 53 percent of the popular vote and the majorities in 31 out of Mexico’s 32 states. He ran on a platform of rooting out corruption “from top to bottom, like sweeping the stairs,” and education.
On July 7, Obrador said in a press conference that he wants all young Mexicans to have access to higher education. There is a $5 billion package in his new government’s budget for education, everything from building new high schools and universities to providing salaries for apprentices in trade careers. There is also talk of making community colleges free for all, as some cities and states in the United States have done.
During his campaign, Obrador asserted that freely available education would be a strong move against Mexico’s high crime rate, giving youths an alternative to joining gangs or corrupt businesses in order to make a living.
Esteban Moctezuma Barragán, Obrador’s future secretary of public education, said that the government would provide $126 in monthly scholarships to any student who needs financial aid to finish high school or university, as long as the budget permits. The new budget does not include an increase in taxes and is intended to be funded at least partially by reducing the salaries of government officials.
Obrador, who ran for president twice before his winning campaign, has always fought for educational reform, so long as it is not done in a way which punishes teachers for school performance and is done in a way that is accessible to even the poorest of students.
Obrador will take office on December 1, 2018. His changes, if they take place, will go into effect in Mexico’s schools beginning in the 2019-20 school year.
Educational experts all over the world attest that free education is one of the strongest weapons against poverty, class inequality, and crime. If Obrador can bring his vision into reality, Mexico’s future could be bright indeed.
Photo: Mexican schoolgirls walk home after the day’s classes end. Credit: Kertu / Shutterstock.com