Room for improvement, Mexico edition

The OECD recently published “Education at a Glance: 2014” for Mexico.  While Mexico is part of the OECD and it makes some sense to compare education results to other members, I think we should also remember that Mexico is one of the poorest members and the comparison may be a bit unfair.  Having said that, Mexico still has lots of room for improvement when it comes to education.  Here are the main conclusions:

First, the good news: 15-year-old Mexicans are doing better in school. In 2012, Mexican 15-year-old students scored 413 points, on average, on the PISA mathematics assessment – an increase of 28 points since PISA 2003 and the biggest improvement among OECD countries. This improvement coincided with a decrease in the proportion of students who failed to reach the baseline level of performance in mathematics from 66% in 2003 to 55% in 2012.”

Not so good news: Enrollment rates for 15-19 year-olds remain very low. While access to education for 5-14 year-olds is universal in Mexico, it has one of the smallest proportions of 15-19 year-olds enrolled in education (53%) among OECD and partner countries, despite having the largest population of this age group in the country’s history.”

in fact, “Mexico is the sole OECD country where 15-29 year-olds are expected to spend more time in employment than in education.”

In worse news, More than 20% of 15-29 year-old Mexicans are neither employed nor in education or training.”

Perhaps one reason that enrollment rates are so low is because secondary education doesn’t always bring about higher income in the labor market.  The report finds that “employment rates in Mexico tend to be below the OECD average among people with higher levels of education. For example, 72% of people with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education in Mexico are employed, compared with the OECD average of 74%.”

3 thoughts on “Room for improvement, Mexico edition

  1. Uno de los mayores problemas existentes para los egresados de estudios superiores (universidad) es que las empresas exigen experiencia para dar trabajo. Otro problema es que las escuelas “publicas” (todas las universidades autónomas) no son bien vistas por los empleadores ya que las consideran de baja calidad.

    Saludos desde México

  2. Secondary education in Mexico is not a matter of right. Usually, continuing on after the eighth or ninth year of schooling requires paying tuition at a private school or passing a competitive test to enter the limited number of public academic schools.

    I wonder how the OECD and PISA people are collecting data at the more exclusive schools like CCH and the Vocacional in Mexico City. If they’re sampling from private schools or the general tier of public schools, they’re missing a very large high achieving contingent of the generation. The system is not standardized or organized centrally with private schools mostly on their own and the harder public schools each sponsored by different universities and cultural institutes. Without centralization, the PISA administrators have a diverse and complicated task to get wide samples that is different in every state and city. I doubt they’ve done a good job since they don’t document what would have been a large scale and challenging operation.

    Having the largest 15-19 group in the country’s history — and probably the county’s future, given present birthrates — is a reason to expect low enrollment numbers, not high ones. The infrastructure is limited and a large generation fills up all the available space. But this natural relationship is commented on as if it were paradoxical in the report quoted.

    Young Mexicans spend more time in work than in other OECD countries because the opportunity for further education has not yet become the norm. The minimum school leaving age is around thirteen. As the country gets richer, the norm will change as it has everywhere else.

    A 74% v 72% difference in employment rates is unlikely to be significant. Mexico has an unusually large grey market economy and higher fertility among young people and each of those probably causes a difference of more than 2% in measured rate.

    I find that post-secondary education does produce significant income gains. College educated Mexicans have about the same price-adjusted incomes as college educated Americans. Mexicans without a high school education have much lower incomes than their peers across the Rio Grande.

    @rmartob I find just the opposite in the skill curricula. Mexicans with degrees in STEM, medicine, business administration, public administration, and other specialized areas have little trouble finding entry level work without experience. The social service internships at public schools seem to be more than enough to get them started. Liberal arts majors may have more trouble getting work.

    Also, I disagree about the prestige of public education. Expensive private schools like the Ibero and Panamericana are considered incubators of privilege, but their academics are held in contempt. The IPN, UNAM, UAM, UAEM, and top provincial public schools are all taken seriously as are their graduates. At least, that’s how engineers and entrepreneurs see them. The ITAM is the only private university in the top tier.

  3. There is always great room for improvement if we are willing to accept our mistake or have passion to learn. I don’t think too many new comers have this and that’s why we find so less improvement. I am working on Forex trading with OctaFX broker, it has amazing Champion demo contest, so I am participating there regularly and with chance of winning 500 dollars prize, I can work with real ease and comfort to get myself improving without any difficulty.

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