The General Education Act (2019) defines inclusive education as the set of actions aimed at identifying, preventing and reducing barriers that limit the access, completion, participation and learning of all learners, by eliminating discrimination, exclusion and segregation. Inclusive education is based on valuing diversity, by adapting the system to respond equitably to the characteristics, needs, interests, abilities, skills and learning styles of every learner.
A second definition can be found in the General Law for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities (2011), which defines inclusive education as education that promotes the integration of people with disabilities into mainstream basic education institutions through the application of specific methods, techniques and materials.
According to the General Law for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities (2011), special education is for individuals with temporary or permanent disabilities and gifted students. It will support learners in a manner appropriate to their conditions, with inclusive social equity and a gender perspective.
According to the General Education Act (2019), special education shall seek equity and inclusion, which shall be available for all education types, levels, modalities and options established by the Act.
Special educational needs (SEN)
The General Law for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities (2011) determines that special educational needs (SEN) include severe learning, behavioural and emotional difficulties; multiple or severe disabilities, and outstanding abilities.
The Third Title of the General Education Act (2019) refers to the national education system. National education system education is organized into educational types, levels, modalities and options.
According to Article 63 of this Act, special education is an option for learners with special needs or who face barriers to learning and participation. Depending on their specific needs, education may be provided through particular programmes or content so that they receive timely support. Special education is developed within the framework of inclusive education (Chapter VIII) and seeks to adapt the system to respond equitably to the needs, abilities and learning styles of all learners. It aims to support learners with disabilities or outstanding abilities at the compulsory education levels and to ensure that their basic learning needs are met.
The national education system includes a system of early diagnosis and specialized support to eliminate barriers to learning and participation. It also seeks to ensure that reasonable accommodations are made for people with disabilities.
The General Law for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities (2011) sought to establish the design, implementation and evaluation of a special education programme and an inclusive education programme for people with disabilities within the national education system. It seeks to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities at all levels of the education system. Special education is for people with temporary or permanent disabilities and gifted people. It seeks to develop programmes and support that enable these people to obtain an equitable academic performance and prevent neglect, dropout, backwardness or discrimination.
Indigenous education is part of the national education system in accordance with Chapter VI of the General Education Act. It meets the education needs of indigenous peoples, towns and communities with cultural and linguistic affiliations. It also seeks to strengthen indigenous schools, comprehensive education centres and indigenous boarding schools, especially with regard to school infrastructure, basic services and connectivity.
According to the National Institute for Educational Evaluation (INEE), basic preschool and primary education has "indigenous" services, which seek to respond to the linguistic and cultural characteristics of the country's various indigenous groups. However, these services do not exist in eight federal entities: Aguascalientes, Baja California Sur, Coahuila, Colima, Mexico City, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas. A total of 66.5 per cent of indigenous primary schools are multi-grade. Furthermore, intercultural education only applies to indigenous schools and not all entities.
Community education is one way in which the Government is attempting to fulfil the constitutional mandate to offer basic education to the population that cannot access it for any reason. It is the responsibility of the National Council for the Promotion of Education (CONAFE), which seeks to expand and diversify education opportunities so that children and young people in areas of high and very high social and educational backwardness receive the benefits of early education, enrol in, remain in and complete basic education.
The Mexican Constitution (1917), last amended in March 2020, guarantees the right to education. Article 3 states that The state – federation, states, Mexico City and municipalities – shall provide and guarantee early childhood, preschool, primary, secondary, upper-secondary and higher education. Education provided by the state shall be free of charge.
In May 2019, paragraphs “e”, “f” and “g” were added to Article 3 of the Constitution. They establish that education will be inclusive by taking into account learners’ diverse abilities, circumstances and needs, and will be intercultural by promoting harmonious coexistence between people and communities and respect and recognition of their differences and rights, in a context of social inclusion. Based on the principle of accessibility, reasonable accommodations will be made and specific measures will be implemented with the aim of removing barriers to learning and participation in education. Similarly, support will be given to socially vulnerable students through the establishment of inclusive and cross-cutting policies.
For over 20 years, the General Education Act (1993), last amended in January 2018, was responsible for regulating the education provided by the state through the federal entities, municipalities, decentralized agencies and individuals with official accreditation. In 2016, the Senate of the Republic amended the General Education Act to make it inclusive. This amendment emphasizes the inclusive approach to special education, promotes the provision of appropriate educational materials to meet the needs of the entire population, in particular children with disabilities or SEN, and establishes penalties for educational institutions that fail to make reasonable accommodations or that prohibit the access and attendance of any person because of their physical, intellectual, social, legal, racial, cultural or any other kind of characteristic.
The draft decree reforming and adding various provisions to the General Education Act on inclusive education sought to promote the value of inclusion and non-discrimination. Emphasis is placed on the inclusive approach to special education, the purpose of which is to identify, prevent and eliminate barriers that limit learning and the full and effective participation in society of people with disabilities, or severe learning, behavioural or communication difficulties, as well as those with outstanding abilities. Special education will support learners in a manner appropriate to their own conditions, styles and paces of learning, in an inclusive educational context, which should be based on the principles of respect, equity, non-discrimination, substantive equality and a gender perspective.
In September 2019, the new General Education Act was issued, under the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and the General Education Infrastructure Act was repealed. The General Education Act (2019) states that the state shall provide all people with equal opportunities for learning, as well as for access, transition, completion and academic advancement. Article 7 states that education, in addition to being compulsory, shall be inclusive, eliminating all forms of discrimination and exclusion, as well as other structural conditions that can become barriers to learning and participation. State-provided education is inclusive, which means that it will:
- cater to all learners’ abilities, circumstances, needs, and learning styles and paces;
- eliminate the various barriers to learning and participation faced by each learner – to achieve this, the education authorities, within the scope of their responsibility, will adopt measures in favour of accessibility and reasonable accommodation;
- provide the necessary technical-educational resources and materials for educational services;
- establish special education for all educational types, levels, modalities and options, which will be provided under the necessary conditions, based on the decision and prior assessment of students, parents or guardians and teaching staff and, where appropriate, for health conditions.
The General Education Act (2019) obligates the state to provide educational services with equity and excellence and promotes the new Mexican school. It is established that the state, through the new Mexican school, will seek equity, excellence and continuous improvement in education. It therefore places maximum learning for children, adolescents and young people at the centre of public action. Its objectives will include learners’ comprehensive human development, redirecting the national education system, influencing educational culture through shared responsibility, and promoting social transformations within school and in the community. Education is governed by the principles of equity and excellence and will be comprehensive, intercultural and inclusive.
Inclusive education (Chapter VIII) refers to the set of actions aimed at identifying, preventing and reducing barriers that limit access, attendance, participation and learning for all learners, by eliminating discrimination, exclusion and segregation. The aim is to encourage the full participation of all learners and to implement actions to ensure that no person is excluded from the national education system on the grounds of ethnic or national origin; religious beliefs; ethical convictions or conscience; gender, sexual or gender orientation; or their characteristics, needs, interests, abilities, skills and learning styles, among others.
The Education Sectoral Programme 2013–2018 sought to strengthen the principles of inclusion and increase coverage to facilitate access to education at all levels. An appeal is being made to ramp up efforts and resources to improve the quality of education for the most vulnerable. The Education Sectoral Programme established six objectives, each accompanied by their respective strategies and lines of action. Objective 3 seeks to ensure greater coverage, inclusion and equity in education for all population groups to build a fairer society.
Its aim is to guarantee inclusion and equity in the education system by expanding opportunities for access to education, attendance and progress in studies to all regions and sectors of the population. To this end, it seeks to create new educational services and expand existing ones, as well as increase support for children and young people in vulnerable situations. It also seeks to strengthen intercultural and bilingual education at all education levels for those living in remote areas. Moreover, it seeks to increase the support provided to indigenous schools, and strengthen community education and CONAFE’s compensatory programmes, in order to bring basic education to the most isolated communities and provide support to marginalized schools.
In addition to actions for specific groups, the Education Sectoral Programme establishes actions that should be directed towards vulnerable groups in general, such as the development of mechanisms for timely identification of populations excluded from the education system and the provision of educational scholarships.
The National Development Plan 2019–2024 seeks to guarantee employment, education, health and well-being for all Mexicans. It seeks to guarantee the right of all young people in the country to higher education and increase investment in infrastructure. More specifically, it promotes a series of programmes such as the Benito Juárez and Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro [Youth Building the Future] scholarships to promote the right to education for children and young people living in poverty.
According to the 2017 National Survey on Discrimination in Mexico (ENADIS), people with disabilities and indigenous peoples are the two most discriminated groups, with 25.1 per cent of people with disabilities and 20.3 per cent of indigenous peoples* reporting having been discriminated against in the last year, in at least one social sphere. Multiple discrimination mainly affects indigenous women with a disability, restricting their rights and freedoms.
The Programa para la Inclusión y la Equidad Educativa [Programme for Inclusion and Equity in Education – PIEE] was created in 2014 and its aims include strengthening special education, educational integration, the “telesecundaria” distance education service and indigenous education-related actions, and strengthening the Programa de Educación Básica para Niños y Niñas de Familias Jornaleras Agrícolas Migrantes [Basic Education Programme for Children of Migrant Agricultural Day Labourers – PRONIM]. It seeks to eliminate barriers to learning that limit access to education for vulnerable populations through improvements in infrastructure and equipment in primary, upper-secondary and higher education institutions. Inclusion is envisaged as a tool for increasing access to education through high-quality non-discriminatory education, taking into account children with disabilities, indigenous populations, rural populations, migrants and dropouts.
The General Education Act (2019) establishes that as part of inclusive education, the State shall provide people with disabilities with the possibility of learning and developing life skills that will help them join the labour market, to promote their full and equal participation in education and society. The right to education is guaranteed to learners with special needs or who face barriers to learning and participation, through the provision of special education services and the establishment of an early detection and specialized support system.
According to Article 65, to guarantee inclusive education, the education authorities will:
- Facilitate the learning of Braille; other augmentative or alternative modes, means and formats of communication, and orientation and mobility skills, as well as the necessary tutoring and support.
- Facilitate acquisition and learning of sign language depending on the learner’s abilities, and teaching of Spanish to deaf people.
- ensure that blind, deaf or deafblind learners are educated in the languages, modes and means of communication most appropriate to their individual needs, and in environments that enable them to achieve their maximum academic, productive and social potential.
- Ensure that reasonable accommodation is made for people with disabilities.
- Provide gifted students with the support they require according to their abilities, interests and needs.
The General Law for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities (2011) aims to promote, protect and guarantee the full exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms of people with disabilities. It promotes and is governed by the principles of accessibility, non-discrimination and equal opportunity. In education, inclusive education is promoted as a mechanism to ensure that people with disabilities are integrated in mainstream education institutions through the application of specific methods, techniques and materials.
Chapter III refers to the education of people with disabilities. It states that the Ministry of Public Education shall promote the right to education of people with disabilities, prohibiting any discrimination in education institutions and centres. Mechanisms will also be established to ensure that children with disabilities enjoy the right to free and compulsory admission, and specialized support. Mexican Sign Language is recognized as a national language that is part of Mexico’s linguistic heritage. Braille and other accessible modes, means and formats of communication used by people with disabilities will also be recognized.
The Education Sectoral Programme 2013-2018 recognized that there is still a long way to go to guarantee access, attendance, participation and learning for SEN students. New educational support spaces will be created to include people with disabilities and outstanding abilities through the use of new educational models, teaching materials, teacher training and support for schools. Strategy 3.5 of the Education Sectoral Programme seeks to promote new forms and spaces of educational support for the inclusion of people with disabilities and outstanding abilities at all education levels. The lines of action set out include:
- updating the regulatory framework with a focus on inclusion at all education levels;
- encouraging and promoting school models and practices that enable inclusion at all education levels;
- promoting actions to detect and adequately support students with outstanding abilities and aptitudes;
- providing ongoing support to people with disabilities to enable them to complete their studies.
It also seeks to promote primary and upper-secondary education for women with disabilities or HIV-AIDS, and older women.
Within the framework of the National Development Plan 2019–2024, the Programa Pensión para el Bienestar de las Personas con Discapacidad [Benefits Programme for the Welfare of People with Disabilities] is being promoted, which supports youth up to 29 years of age with permanent disabilities, as well as people with disabilities aged 0 to 64 years who live in indigenous communities. Through this programme, the government seeks to guarantee the rights of children, young people and indigenous peoples with disabilities, and to combat racism and discrimination against these people.
The Programme for Inclusion and Equity in Education seeks to expand education opportunities and ensure that people with disabilities, outstanding abilities and/or specific talents are included. In 2016, the programme benefited 177,100 students with disabilities.
In the area of gender, the Constitution, last amended in March 2020, establishes that curricula and syllabuses will have a gender perspective and take a comprehensive approach. Indigenous women’s education is encouraged.
Gender equality is promoted in various legal instruments. Chapter III of the Federal Act to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination (2003) provides for positive and compensatory measures that promote equal opportunity, including incentives for coeducation, encouraging girls and women to remain in the education system at all school levels. Article 17 of the General Act for Equality between Women and Men (2006), last amended in June 2018, promotes a national policy on equality between women and men. Inclusion in the education system is aimed at training and respect for the rights, freedoms and liberties of men and women and the elimination of obstacles to real equality between women and men. Article 36 seeks to ensure that education at all levels takes place within the framework of equality between women and men, and raises awareness of the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination. On the other hand, the General Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence (2007), last amended in April 2018, seeks to promote and support public and private education programmes aimed at raising societal awareness of the causes and consequences of violence against women. Lastly, the General Education Act (2019) seeks to combat the causes of discrimination and violence in the different regions, especially against children and women.
One of the cross-cutting lines of action of the Education Sectoral Programme 2013–2018 is equal opportunity and non-discrimination against women. It seeks to establish codes of conduct in schools to eliminate violence between boys, women, girls and adolescents; promote gender-sensitive teacher training, respect for human rights and non-violence; and establish a mechanism to detect school and family violence in the school system. It also intends to strengthen sex education with a human rights approach, a gender perspective and life skills at all levels and in all education modalities.
Mexico has a Gender Equity Model that emerged in 2003 and is pioneering in Latin America. It has legal force and sets out international, general and federal legal standards along with affirmative actions such as non-discrimination and prohibition of violence against women.
The National Programme for Equal Opportunities and Non-Discrimination against Women 2013–2018 (Proigualdad) responds to the obligation of the National Development Plan 2013–2018 for all government programmes, actions and policies to have a cross-cutting gender perspective strategy. It also responds to the commitments made by the Mexican state under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Belém do Pará).
The Gender Mainstreaming Programme (PFTPG) contributes to the National Policy on Equality between Women and Men by incorporating the gender perspective into the actions of the government and the state and municipal public administration.
Mexico has promoted education policies to address female dropouts and the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the country. For example, it has a Scholarship to Support Basic Education for Young Mothers and Young Pregnant Women. It has also sought to improve early childhood access to education. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) study Building an Inclusive Mexico: Policies and Good Governance for Gender Equality (2017), women in Mexico are almost four times more likely to be neither studying nor working than men. Over a third (35 per cent) of Mexican women between the ages of 15 and 29 neither study nor work. According to the OECD, despite multiple efforts to integrate a gender perspective in all government actions, gender gaps persist in the country.
Indigenous population and ethnic and linguistic groups
In 1990, Mexico ratified the International Labour Organization (ILO) Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (1989) and acceded to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Constitution establishes that the federation, federal entities and municipalities must promote equal opportunity for indigenous peoples and eliminate any discriminatory practices. Likewise, they must guarantee and increase the levels of schooling for indigenous peoples at all levels and promote bilingual and intercultural education. Educational programmes that recognize the cultural heritage of these peoples will be developed with the participation of indigenous communities.
Chapter VI of the General Education Act (2019) promotes indigenous education and the participation of indigenous peoples and communities in the construction of education models to recognize the nation’s multiculturalism. The state guarantees the educational, cultural and linguistic rights of all indigenous and Afro-Mexican individuals, peoples and communities, and migrants and agricultural day labourers. It also undertakes to recognize, value, preserve and develop the indigenous oral and written tradition, and promote national indigenous languages as a means of communication and a source of knowledge.
The General Law on the Linguistic Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2003), last amended in June 2018, aims to standardize the recognition and protection of indigenous peoples and communities’ individual and collective linguistic rights, as well as the promotion of the daily use and development of indigenous languages. Article 11 states that the federal and state education authorities shall guarantee that the indigenous population has access to compulsory, bilingual and intercultural education, and shall adopt the necessary measures to ensure that the education system respects the dignity and identity of individuals, as well as the practice and use of their indigenous language. Interculturality, multilingualism and respect for diversity and linguistic rights will also be promoted at the secondary and higher levels.
Mexico has the biggest indigenous population of any Latin American country. According to the INEE, the country is home to 68 languages and 364 language variations. Despite various laws, policies and actions to promote and improve indigenous education in Mexico, the indigenous child population has enormous educational backwardness with high illiteracy rates and low levels of schooling.
Various programmes operated by different government agencies seek to improve indigenous education. According to the INEE, in 2016, there were 29 educational support actions, strategies and programmes for indigenous children operated by eight institutions at the federal level.
In 2013, the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED) published a volume on inclusive education as part of the Legislate without Discrimination collection. According to CONAPRED, the indigenous population’s rights are respected less than any other group in situations of discrimination. For the right to inclusive education to be guaranteed, so must intercultural education, such that student diversity is recognized as a learning resource.
The Education Sectoral Programme 2013–2018 sought to promote intercultural education at all education levels, and strengthen intercultural and bilingual education for populations that speak indigenous languages. To this end, it sought to:
- prioritize extended-day and full-time school models in indigenous education and in multi-grade schools
- favour the expansion of educational opportunities to traditionally more disadvantaged areas, with culturally and linguistically relevant models
- offer transport and other grants so that the dispersed rural population can travel to other towns when this is the best option
- ensure that curricula and educational materials are culturally and linguistically relevant to accommodate linguistic diversity in schools.
It also sought to encourage indigenous women's access to all education levels through grants.
The National Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ National Indigenous Peoples' Programme 2018–2024 seeks to strengthen and promote intercultural indigenous education throughout the education system, and to guarantee that the rights of indigenous and Afro-Mexican people who are vulnerable or victims of violence and discrimination are respected and protected. It also seeks to reduce school dropout rates among indigenous and Afro-Mexican children and young people in primary, upper-secondary and higher education.
People living in rural areas
Article 102 of the General Education Act (2019) states that education authorities shall give priority attention to schools which, because they are in isolated locations, marginalized urban areas, rural areas and indigenous communities, are more likely to encounter educational backwardness or dropouts. Education authorities shall establish the physical conditions and equipment that will enable the provision of equitable and inclusive education in these locations.
The Education Sectoral Programme 2013–2018 sought to promote the universalization of secondary education and the transition to the baccalaureate for rural and marginalized populations.
For several years, PRONIM has provided educational support to children from migrant and/or settled agricultural day labourer families from 3 to 16 years of age. It operates in education centres located in communities and agricultural settlements and provides the conditions needed for high-quality education to be provided to this population, with the participation of teachers, school counsellors and technical-educational advisers. PRONIM uses an intercultural bilingual approach and aims to develop a comprehensive education model that takes into account the specific requirements of this population.
Article 9 of the General Education Act (2019) establishes inclusive, cross-cutting and gender-sensitive policies to provide grants and other economic support that prioritize students who cannot exercise their right to education for socioeconomic reasons.
The Benito Juárez Welfare Scholarship Programme is aimed at children under 18 years of age living in extreme poverty and studying in a public school. It awards each family a grant of 800 Mexican pesos per month, paid bimonthly during the school year. The Benito Juárez García Welfare Universities began their activities in March 2019 with 100 institutions in 31 entities. Priority was given to areas of high population density with low university education levels and a high degree of social backwardness, marginalization and violence. The university schools are mainly distributed in Oaxaca (11 institutions), Mexico City (10 institutions), Veracruz (8 institutions), and Chiapas and Guanajuato (6 institutions).
A second programme, Youth Writing the Future, seeks to provide financial support to young people under the age of 29 who are enrolled in a higher education institution and live in a poor household. The programme gives priority to indigenous peoples, Afro-descendant people, people living in a priority support area and people living in contexts of violence.
The General Education Act (2019) regulates the education provided by the state through the federation, the states, Mexico City and its municipalities, its decentralized agencies, and individuals with authorization or official accreditation.
Regarding inclusive education, the Ministry of Public Education, in its capacity as the federal education authority, issues guidelines that determine the guiding criteria for the provision of the special education services referred to in the General Education Act and to ensure compliance with the principle of inclusion.
The Ministry of Public Education is the federal education authority. It coordinates the work of the different federal and municipal entities in the field of education. It has different directorates such as the Directorate-General for Indigenous Education, the Directorate-General for Policy Evaluation and the Directorate-General for Educational Materials. The Ministry of Education is in charge of steering the Government’s education policy and developing actions for its adoption.
CONAFE is a decentralized organization whose task is to provide early childhood and primary education services to children and adolescents living in marginalized locations and/or with social backwardness.
The Federal Act to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination created CONAPRED, a federal body of the Mexican state whose purpose is to carry out actions to prevent and eliminate discrimination in the country, and to formulate and promote public policies for equal opportunity and equal treatment.
The National Institute for Women (INMUJERES) is a federal government entity responsible for promoting and strengthening gender policies. It is responsible for coordinating the National Policy on Equality between Women and Men and the PFTPG, whose target population is the Instancias de las Mujeres en las Entidades Federativas [Women's Institutes in Federal Entities – IMEF], the Instancias Municipales de las Mujeres [Municipal Women's Agencies – IMM] and the administrative units or equivalents of the IMM in the municipalities of Mexico City. The PFTPG seeks to incorporate a gender perspective in the actions of the state public administration.
The state, through its three levels of government – the federation, federal entities and municipalities – recognizes, protects and promotes the preservation, development and use of national indigenous languages. The National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (CDI) is the guiding institution for the comprehensive and sustainable development of indigenous peoples and communities.
In the area of education, the Ministry of Public Education works with the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples and the National Institute of Indigenous Languages for the recognition and implementation of all types and levels of indigenous education, and for the development of curricula and educational materials aimed at indigenous peoples and communities. The Directorate-General for Indigenous Education is the Ministry of Public Education entity in charge of promoting intercultural bilingual education policies. It is in charge of the Programme for Inclusion and Equity in Education.
The Constitution establishes that educational institutions constitute a fundamental space for the teaching-learning process. The state shall ensure that teaching materials, educational infrastructure and its maintenance, and environmental conditions are suitable and contribute to the aims of education.
Infrastructure and services
The General Law for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities (2011) promotes accessibility in education facilities to guarantee the right of people with disabilities to an education.
The General Education Act (2019) promotes a series of measures to guarantee the construction, equipment, maintenance and rehabilitation of buildings intended for the provision of the public education service. Priority will be given to schools that, due to being in isolated locations, marginalized urban areas, rural areas, and indigenous towns and communities, have a greater likelihood of backwardness or dropouts. Physical and equipment conditions that will enable the provision of equitable and inclusive education in these locations will be established. In terms of inclusion, actions will be carried out gradually, aimed at identifying, preventing and reducing barriers that limit access, attendance, participation and learning for all students, improving the conditions for educational infrastructure.
The Education Sectoral Programme 2013–2018 sought to adapt and equip education facilities to eliminate or reduce the physical barriers that impede the access and participation of students with disabilities.
The Programa Escuelas de Excelencia para Abatir el Rezago Educativo [Schools of Excellence Programme to Combat Educational Backwardness], sought to reduce backwardness in the physical conditions of public basic education schools and to strengthen management to improve the provision of the education service.
The Programme for Inclusion and Equity in Education 2017–2018 sought to eliminate barriers to learning that limit access to education for the people in vulnerable situations. To this end, it seeks to strengthen educational services by adjusting facilities, and providing equipment and economic support to the federal institutions of the units or directorates assigned to upper-secondary education in the national education system.
According to 2017 INEE data, 9.5 per cent of indigenous multi-grade primary schools lack basic services. There are programmes and strategies to improve infrastructure in indigenous schools, such as the Programa Escuelas al CIEN [National Education Infrastructure Certificate School Programme], the Education Reform Programme and the Full-time Schools Programme of the Instituto Nacional de Infraestructura Física Educativa [National Institute of Physical Education Infrastructure – INIFED] and the Indigenous Education Support Programme run by the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples.
The General Law on the Linguistic Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2003) sought to include the origin and evolution of the national indigenous languages and their contributions to national culture in primary education and teacher training curricula.
The General Education Act (2019) establishes that the Ministry of Public Education will determine the curricula that are applicable and mandatory in preschool, primary, secondary and pre-university education throughout the Mexican Republic, as well as the curricula for the training of basic education teachers. The Ministry of Public Education will consider the opinion of the governments of the states, Mexico City and the different stakeholders involved in education, in the development of the curricula. Federal entity and municipality government education authorities may request the Ministry to update and amend the curricula to take into account the regional, local, contextual and situational nature of the teaching-learning process.
The curricula will have a gender perspective and promote gender equality for the construction of a just and egalitarian society.
The Education Sectoral Programme 2013–2018 sought to ensure that the curriculum and educational materials were culturally and linguistically relevant to accommodate the linguistic diversity of schools.
Learning materials and ICT
The General Law for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities (2011) sought to provide students with disabilities with materials and technical aids that support their academic performance, and equip institutions and education centres with books in Braille, teaching materials, support from Mexican sign language interpreters or Braille specialists, computer equipment with technology for blind people and other necessary support to facilitate their education. This includes the teaching of the Braille writing system and Mexican Sign Language in public and private education, and encouraging the production and distribution of free textbooks in Braille and large print and audible form.
The General Education Act seeks to develop, publish, update, distribute and use educational materials, including free textbooks, in the country’s various languages. Chapter XI refers to the use of information and communication technology (ICT) and digital learning for comprehensive learner-centred education. ICT will be used to complement other educational materials and will aim to strengthen the teaching and learning education models.
From 2014, the Digital Inclusion and Literacy Programme (PIAD) sought to reduce inequality in ICT access for children in the fifth and sixth years of primary school, their families and their schools, with the aim of strengthening the education system. It seeks to do this through the provision of personal devices. According to the PIAD pilot programme, for the school year 2014–2015, 709,824 tablets were delivered to 20,542 classrooms and 16,740 schools in five states: Sonora, Colima, Tabasco, State of Mexico and Puebla, and the Federal District. For the school year 2015–2016, 1,073,174 tablets were delivered across 15 states.
The General Law for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities (2011) sought the direct participation of teachers and educational staff in integrating people with disabilities in education. It promotes education, updating and training for basic education teachers, as well as training and accreditation programmes for interpreters and other staff specialized in the dissemination and use of Spanish and Mexican Sign Language.
Within the framework of inclusive education, the General Education Act (2019) seeks to guarantee training for all teaching staff so that, within the scope of their responsibility, they help identify and eliminate barriers to learning and participation, and provide the support that learners need.
The Education Sectoral Programme 2013–2018 promoted capacity development for teachers, managers and supervisors to promote educational inclusion in mainstream schools and to provide managers and teachers with technical and educational support to facilitate the full inclusion of students with disabilities.
The Dirección General de Educación Superior para Profesionales de la Educación [Directorate-General for Higher Education for Education Professionals – DGESPE] has a teacher training programme for special education.
People living in rural areas
The General Education Act (2019) sought to promote incentive programmes aimed at teachers working in isolated locations, marginalized urban areas and areas of high social conflict, to encourage them to settle down in rural communities and comply with the school curriculum.
The General Law on the Linguistic Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2003) sought to ensure that teachers who provide bilingual education in indigenous communities speak and write the local language and know the culture of the community where they work.
The General Education Act (2019) sought to strengthen public teacher training institutions, especially intercultural bilingual teacher training institutions; the assignment of teachers to indigenous locations and linguistic regions; and to promote training, updating and accreditation programmes for teachers in the languages of the indigenous regions where they work.
The Ministry of Public Health has a comprehensive strategy for the professionalization of indigenous education teachers and an initial training programme for teachers in intercultural bilingual preschool and primary education. The Directorate-General for Indigenous Education has been working on the language training and accreditation process for teachers who speak indigenous languages.
Mexico has a system of gender indicators, developed by INMUJERES. Its aim is to ensure that the general population has access to up-to-date and timely information with a gender perspective on different areas, including education.