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MEXICO’S new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador struck a blow against the Germ — as the neoliberal Global Education Reform Movement is known by its critics — today, signing an initiative that will see his predecessor’s education policy reversed if approved by Congress.
Former president Enrique Pena Nieto had introduced new tests for teachers and competition between schools, which Mr Obrador attacked as a step towards education privatisation as promoted by pro-corporate education campaign Mexicanos Primero, itself modelled on the US pro-education marketisation lobby group Students First.
Mr Nieto also attacked teaching unions, throwing the leader of SNTE Elba Esther Gordill and other trade unionists into prison on corruption charges. Mr Obrador has vowed to see these “political prisoners” freed.
Mr Nieto said the reforms were needed to improve Mexico’s poor showing in international education league tables, but the new president says this is down to underfunding, with many rural schools lacking running water or even roofs. He has pledged to increase education spending and introduce free school dinners.
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