“The Theft of the Century”

The Mexican government wisely decided that before the educational system in Mexico could be fixed, they first needed to figure out what they were dealing with.  For that reason, EPN ordered the first ever Census of Schools, Teachers and Students of Basic and Special Education (basic meaning primary and middle schools).

The results show the magnitude of the problem.  Here are some key findings:

1. “39,222 people supposedly assigned to a school in which no one actually knows them (“aviators”)

2. 30,695 people who claim to be teachers, but who in reality work for the SNTE [National Union of Education Workers] or the CNTE [National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers—a dissident teachers group];

3. 113,259 people who claim to be in a school, but who are located “in another place of work” (fugitives)

4. 114,998 people who receive pay as active teachers, but who do it in the name of people who have already retired or passed away.”

And this is a gross underestimate, since the states with “the with the most corrupt and backwards systems (Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero), refused to participate and were not included in the census.” Yikes.

Here’s a nice figure from the Economist on the issue:


and a great summary of the sad situation:

“The first ever government census of schools in Mexico shows that 13% of all people registered on the schools’ payrolls do not turn up to work (see chart). That is 298,000 out of a total of 2.25m, divided among those who receive a paycheck but appear to be figments of someone’s imagination; who work somewhere else; who are on leave (often as union representatives); or who have quit, retired or died. Organisations that represent outraged parents call it the “theft of the century.””


5 thoughts on ““The Theft of the Century”

  1. Pingback: Assorted links

  2. And here I thought Senor Slim’s acquisition of the Mexican National Phone System was the (Mexican) crime of the century. Silly me.

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