Mexico Education Facts: What You Need To Know About Mexican Schools

Joan Agie
Nov 02, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Dec 31, 2021
You have the option of enrolling your child in the International Baccalaureate

If you and your family are relocating to Mexico for quality education, what to do to continue your kid's formal education is one of the most important decisions you'll have to make.

Even though Mexico's public education system is not the greatest in the world, you have a variety of possibilities as education is a national subject. From conflicts with Catholicism to socialism's influence, the Mexican educational system has had a chaotic past.

However, in the past few years, the educational system has improved in terms of academic quality and stability. There is a lot of optimism regarding new educational institutions looking to upgrade the school system.

Here are some educational facts about Mexico:

According to Mexicanos Primero, about 45% of Mexicans complete secondary education. According to the US Department of Education, around 75% of high school students in the United States graduate on time with a standard diploma.

As the country's population has grown, Mexican students have increased to 32 million from three million in 1950.

Basic education in Mexico is usually split into three stages: primary school, which includes grades 1–6; junior high school, which includes grades 7–9; and high school, which includes grades 10–12.

What role has Mexican history played in setting up rural schools in rural areas? How efficient is the public schooling system compared to private education?

Read on to know more about the role of private universities in shaping postgraduate education in Mexico. After reading about the importance of teacher training through vocational schools in Mexico, check fun facts about Mexico and Christmas in Mexico.

Primary School

Primary education is free and compulsory for all children aged six to twelve years old in Mexico. In Mexico, primary education is free and mandatory for all children between the ages of 6 to 12.

As a result of the SEP's new standards, an increasing number of schools are encouraging students to learn a foreign language. When a second language is necessary, The first part of the school day is devoted to teaching Spanish.

In contrast, the second half is allocated to teaching a language of preference (native Mexican languages Tzotzil or Tzeltal, or French, English).

When a student is 12-15 years old, Secundaria, which contains classes 7–9, is generally referred to as 'junior high school' or 'middle school.' Following primary school and preceding 'high school' is a requirement in the basic education system.

More specialized disciplines, at this level, subjects including physics, chemistry, and world history may be taught. The técnica and the telesecundaria, respectively, provide vocational training and online education.

Middle School Or Junior High School

The age of the students is one clear difference between the two; junior high has older students than middle school because it only includes classes 7 and 8, whereas middle school includes grades 6, 7, and 8.

Junior high school teaches only required courses and provides support for students' cognitive and memory development and information processing. In addition to the standard subject matter, middle school helps children with their social and organizational development and their personality and emotional formation.

Junior high school classes are standard; students attend the same classes every day, whereas middle school provides a block schedule. Subjects are separated into more extended periods that can be attended on alternate days.

High School Or Preparatory School

After a student is 15 to 18 years old, after secundaria, which comprises classes 10–12, high school generally refers to preparatoria or bachillerato. Students can choose between two types of high school curricula, depending on their state: SEP integrated and University incorporated.

You have the option of enrolling your child in the International Baccalaureate, which is a part of a minority program, in case you choose to enroll your kids in a private school.

If students decide to pursue a profession rather than higher education, there are technical and commercial programs aimed at preparing them for a future outside of university education. These programs have their own set of procedures and teaching techniques, but all must provide a primary subject and achieve the SEP's standard qualifications to be approved.

Public Schools In Mexico

Basic education in Mexico is usually divided into three levels: primary school (ages six to twelve), junior high school (ages 12-15), and high school (years 16 and up) (ages 15 to 18). Attendance is mandatory at all three levels of education.

Mexico's public schools are both free and secular. Nevertheless, schools are frequently underfunded and under-resourced. This is particularly true in rural areas, with urban places only somewhat better.

Public schools aren't realistic for ex-pat children because of these drawbacks. However, ex-pat children who are fluent in Spanish or young enough to pick up the language quickly may benefit from going to public school for half the day and then home school the rest of the day.

Students can choose between two types of high school curricula

International Schools In Mexico

Children who attend international schools will receive a world-class education and will be able to attend university in their native country or anywhere else in the globe.

Mexico's largest cities, such as Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey, are home to most international schools. Mexico has English and American schools and German, French, and Japanese schools.

For most international schools, tuition fees range from modest to extravagant. Parents must also consider the location of the international schools and how they will conveniently travel between home, school, and employment. Whether you are looking for an excellent private school or a public school, Mexico City is a popular option.

Mexico boasts of rich educational history. After the National University of San Marcos in Lima was set up in 1551, the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico was established by royal edict.

Until the advent of the 20th century, only those from urban and elite sections were entitled to an education. The Roman Catholic Church was responsible for the administration of the educational sector.

The involvement of the Mexican government in education has become active since the advent of the 19th century. But the question of who will control education led to conflicts between the church and the government as the church maintained tight control over education for long.

The Mexican state's educational role was enhanced by the constitution accepted in 1917, diminishing the ability of the church to affect Mexicans' educational growth. The country's government, led by Lázaro Cárdenas, encouraged such education in Mexico that also promoted socialism in the 1930s, despite strong opposition from the church.

During the presidency of Manuel vila Camacho in the 1940s, socialist education was repealed.

Mexican schools share a lot of similarities across the country. Every Monday, the Mexican children participate in patriotic exercises that include displaying the flag, singing the national anthem, and listening to adults encouraging them to be courteous and responsible students. There is a 'recreo' in the middle of the morning when students can eat snacks and play outside.

Compared to American schools, where time is strictly regimented, and leisure activity is constantly regulated, the perception of time and pacing can vary dramatically. Children in Mexico attend school for four hours every day, with some urban students working in the morning and attending school in the afternoon.

There are two forms of post-secondary vocational credentials in Mexico: the Titulo de Técnico Professional (professional technician title) and the Professional Técnico Bachiller  (professional technical bachelor). Both programs were designed to prepare graduates for entry into the labor market, with graduates receiving a cédula professional (professional license) in specific fields.

There are more than twelve subsystems in Mexico's upper secondary vocational education system (administrative units within the Upper Secondary Education Under secretariat of the Ministry of Public Education responsible for vocational programs).

When it comes to content administration and the course target audience, these subsystems differ from one another. By international standards, vocational education and training in Mexico are highly complicated, given many schools and administrative divisions.

In the United States, free public education can begin as early as a preschool at the age of four and last until the end of high school or grade twelve. Preschool might last anywhere from one to two years, depending on the state.

Then there's elementary school, which often runs from kindergarten to grade five or six, depending on the district.

Kindergarten through fifth grade is the most common grades in elementary schools. On the other hand, middle schools primarily educate students in grades six through eight. Grades nine through twelve are very always included in high school.

However, Preschool is also available in Mexico, followed by a primary school. Primary school lasts six years, from the age of six to eleven or twelve.

After that, children attend secondary school for three years, sometimes known as middle school in the United States. Following secondary school, students attend high school, which might be a technical or vocational school for those planning to enter college. In Mexico, high school is only three years long.

Students in the United States obtain free education up to the 12th grade and free textbooks. Depending on the state, students are compelled to attend school until they reach a specific age. In Mexico, states are required to provide education through upper secondary school. However, families must pay for textbooks after grade six.

Differences in these two cultures result in differences in the classroom. Poverty is a huge issue in Mexico, and it wreaks havoc on education, especially when children are required to pay for books after sixth grade.

For this reason, children in Mexico start working sooner than children in the United States to help support their families. However, in the United States, high school dropout rates remain a problem.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Mexico education facts, then why not take a look at the 1985 earthquake in Mexico or the tallest mountain Mexico.

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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