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Mexico: More and Better Education for 4 Million Students

March 13, 2012

  • Loan seeks to reduce teenage dropout rate from 41.7 to 33% via quality improvements
  • It will favor poorer students with labor market-relevant education

WASHINGTON, DC, March 13, 2012 – Mexico’s Higher Secondary Education System will benefit from a US$300.75 million Development Policy Loan that the World Bank (WB) Board of Directors approved today. Funding will support Government efforts to improve quality and relevance as well as expand system flexibility, in order to increase student incentives to graduate.
A central objective of this project is improving educational quality to promote competitiveness and social inclusion in the country. This initiative essentially supports the Government in the implementation of the Higher Secondary Education Comprehensive Reform (RIEMS, in Spanish), which includes measures to improve the internal efficiency of the Higher Secondary Education System (SEMS, in Spanish) and its relevance in the labor market.
“We recognize the commitment of Mexico with improving the coverage and quality of Higher Secondary Education. It has been proven that a higher quality education leads to greater productivity and this in turn boosts economic growth,” said Gloria M. Grandolini, World Bank Director for Mexico and Colombia. “The country moves to benefit youth while building the solid foundations that will allow them to enter the formal labor force,” she concludes.
The program represents an essential element of the WB’s commitment with building capacity and human skills in order to attain sustained, inclusive and accelerated growth. This is the second WB loan in support of RIEMS. The first one supported the establishment of the National High School System. This one will strengthen the approval of technical programs, evaluation of students and school accreditation systems, implementation of teacher training programs and the expansion of services for at-risk youth.
On average, Mexican students enter the SEMS at age 15, after nine years of primary and secondary education. Approximately 80 percent of them are 15 to 17 years old. At this level, the system absorbs 4.05 million students, equivalent to 12 percent of the entire national education system, who will become the beneficiaries of this program. Currently, only 60 percent graduate.
The program envisages activities in three areas:

  • Improve SEMS’ flexibility by facilitating student transfers between different options—which was extremely difficult prior to the reform. Increase, from 10 to 40 percent, the number of higher secondary schools that accept student transfers and revalidate their courses from other specialties and/or locations.
  • Optimize the quality and relevance of SEMS to provide students with the skills needed to enter and remain in the labor market or continue on to university. By 2014, it seeks to increase the percentage of students with good or excellent grades in ENLACE tests: from 52.3 to 63 percent in Spanish and from 15.6 to 35 percent in math.
  • Reduce school dropout rates, in particular by increasing options for poor and vulnerable youngsters who are prone to drop out from school because they need to work. By 2014 it seeks to reduce the dropout rate from 41.7 to 33 percent.

The collaboration between the WB and the Government of Mexico in education is active in most areas of the education sector, at the national, state and municipal level. It includes technical issues, quality of education, indigenous education, evaluation system reinforcement and impact evaluation studies. Through a wide spectrum of instruments and services, the Bank has given advice on public policy development, investments and financial services. It has also facilitated South-South experience exchanges.

The organization responsible for implementing this loan is the Ministry of Public Education (SEP), which has designated Nacional Financiera (NAFIN) as financial agent. This is a variable interest rate loan with a variable margin and an 11-year maturity period.

Media Contacts
In Mexico
Fernanda Zavaleta
Tel : (5255) 54-80-42-00
In Washington
Marcela Sanchez-Bender
Tel : (202) 473-5863