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%.”