Development: Education and Health

Candidates also address issues of educational quality and attendance rates, as well as health issues, particularly with regards to Mexicans in marginalized areas.

News and Analysis:

  • 6/4/2012: Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) and Josefina Vázquez Mota (PAN) participate in a forum on education
Ante los rectores y directivos de las universidades del país, la candidata presidencial panista aseguró que crearía mil 500 bachilleratos y 150 nuevas instituciones de educación superior, a fin de ampliar las oportunidades para los jóvenes.
  • 5/3/2012Gabriel Quadri (PANAL) attacks  Josefina Vázquez Mota (PAN) on the education front
  • 3/28/2012: The presidential candidates on education, from Reuters:

All candidates pledge to ramp up spending on education.

Pena Nieto’s party, the PRI, has recently severed ties with the powerful teachers union, a long-time ally and opponent of past reform efforts. He proposes giving teachers incentives based on student performance.

Vazquez Mota, who previously served as Calderon’s education minister, struggled to limit the teachers union’s influence during her tenure. She did, however, earn points for helping pass education reforms that resulted in the first national teacher performance test, and mandating that raises and hiring be subjected to more rigorous evaluations.

In addition to increased investment in education, Lopez Obrador wants more scholarships for low-income students.

  • 2/27/2012: A new  GCE poll finds that 39 percent of respondents attribute violence levels to social problems. From “The Week in Review:” 

Twenty-two percent blame poverty and unemployment, while 17 percent cite the lack of education opportunities. Just seven percent attribute the violence to “Calderón’s war on drugs,” while 16 percent blamed “previous governments.” Thirteen percent signaled “corruption” more generally as the cause of violence. Sixty-nine percent of respondents agreed that crime had increased in the previous year. The implications for the presidential race are mixed:  a plurality of voters might seem to agree with López Obrador that social problems are to be blamed, yet his third-place position in the polls suggest that the majority do not believe that he is the one to address them.

  • 2/13/2012: In an op-ed in The Dallas Morning News, political strategist and Mexico Institute Board member James Taylor criticizes Peña Nieto’s (and López Obrador’s) stump speeches aimed at Mexico’s poor. The “populist rhetoric… rings hollow” to voters in a now middle-class nation:

While the U.S. bemoans the decline of its own middle, Mexico’s has risen. Studies show that this center is now over 60 million strong, more than half of Mexico’s population. These families own their homes, buy cars, buy life insurance, take vacations and fuel the rapid growth of private schools and universities. They care about what middle classes everywhere care about — family, education, economic opportunity and security. They vote and are increasingly independent — potential swing voters that could turn the July elections.

  • 10/11/2011: In a speech at the Mexico Institute, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (PRD) criticizes the lack of bilateral attention to long-term development in Mexico and the extent of corruption in the country:

“The [drug-related] violence is the result of the neoliberal policy, plus the poor management of the economy plus corruption,” Lopez Obrador said. “Mexico is the biggest exporter of labor, a country with a rate of unemployment and underemployment of 21 percent, and where 67 percent of workers receive salaries that don’t exceed $13 a day.”

“Without battling corruption there will be no effective development policy,” he said, asserting that reducing bureaucracy, implementing progressive taxation and curbing graft would free up $60 billion a year – 6 percent of Mexico’s GDP – for investment in economic development.

Frente a los estudiantes de preescolar, el mandatario capitalino señaló que su administración continúa desarrollando acciones que sumen a esta causa al elevar la calidad en la infraestructura educativa de la capital.

Es importante llegar a este nivel de cobertura, con calidad y calidez, donde toda la población cuente con servicios médicos y que no signifique que pierdan todo su patrimonio por una enfermedad, dijo la también diputada federal en un comunicado.

1.     Incentivar y estimular el desarrollo del pensamiento científico en los niños y las niñas en edad escolar.

2.     Reorientar las carreras profesionales en razón que en “México siguen prefiriéndose carreras cuyo número de egresados suele muchas veces superar la demanda del mercado laboral”. Por ejemplo abogados, administradores y contadores.

3.     Redefinir la calidad de la educación, toda vez que el reto moderno de la educación es, sin duda, “enseñar a pensar, privilegiar el cómo se piensa, el proceso mismo de hacerlo, por encima de lo que se piensa.”.

4.     Enseñar un segundo idioma, pues en la realidad global que viven todas las naciones, debemos crear una nación con muchos vínculos internacionales que nos permitan ser más competitivos.

  • 4/13/2011: Reuters published a “Factbox” about the Mexican educational system:
Mexico’s ambitions to become a top world economy are being held back by a corrupt education system controlled by a powerful union boss known as “The Teacher” who politicians fear to cross.
  • 3/22/2011: Andrés Manuel López Obrador (PRD) argues higher education has been neglected in Mexico since the presidency of Carlos Salinas (1988-1994):

El cambio promovido por el gobierno de Salinas a la constitución eliminó la obligación del gobierno federal para ofrecer educación gratuita en los niveles media y superior, es decir preparatoria y universidades, y restringió la obligación del gobierno federal sólo a la educación básica, es decir preescolar, primaria y secundaria.

Desde entonces el gobierno federal dejó de invertir en la educación media y superior, causando la falta de oportunidades educativas que padecen los jóvenes actualmente y que han derivado en la escaldad de violencia e inseguiridad que padece México hoy en día.

  • 10/25/2010: Manlio Fabio Beltrones (PRI) asks how Mexico can improve without education: 
Cuando hablamos de que es necesario mejorar la gobernabilidad en México –que parece sumamente complejo–, de lo que estamos hablando es que queremos mejores gobiernos para que nos den la posibilidad de más empleo a los mexicanos, que viene con el crecimiento económico. Y eso es lo que importa, gobernabilidad para el empleo, para el crecimiento.Cuando tenemos que hacer alguna distinción, coloquialmente la venimos platicando de diferentes maneras. Yo le diría a nuestros amigos: en este país se necesita –para encontrar solución a muchos de sus problemas– tener la vista en cuatro patas de una mesa, que se necesitan para que todos nos sentemos a la misma, a disfrutar de un mejor país. Una de ellas es la gobernabilidad.

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