Changes to the School System in MexicoBy Sofía Hanna | Wed, 11/11/2020 - 16:48
Students and teachers have now reached nine months under confinement and challenges in education are still present. While some have stated that online classes have helped during the pandemic, others say the opposite.
A previous MBN article mentioned that online classes offer plenty of advantages, such as recorded sessions, easier ways to distribute material and more opportunities to connect with other resources. Still, there are also disadvantages, such as a lack of socialization and reduced effectiveness. In Mexico's specific case, a large part of the population does not have the tools to fully participate in a digital education reality. Data from INEGI showed that only 45.5 percent of Mexican households have a computer and that 50.9 percent have an internet connection. Digital literacy is also an issue, not only among students but teachers as well.
The situation has also been a challenge for parents, according to Jorge Álvarez Martínez, Head of the Crisis Intervention Program at UNAM, who says family members have had to quit their jobs to help their kids with schoolwork. Meanwhile, Marco Fernández, Researcher of Tecnológico de Monterrey, and Reforma surveyed parents going through this situation. Results show that 49 percent of the parents do not agree with classes being given through TV, 68 percent say that their children do not like having classes this way and 70 percent feel it affects their learning. According to Fernández, authorities are touting this as a great solution when results show otherwise.
Taking all of this into consideration, SEP recently announced a new way of grading students called "Sin reprobados" (No One Fails) that establishes a new reality for the Mexican school system. The program creates a new evaluation criterion for preschool, elementary and middle school levels for the 2020-2021 school cycle, reports El Universal, without relying as much on numeric grades but on the effort, students are putting in their work.
SEP stated that teachers now have to take into consideration factors like the progress of students based on their particular context, assigning grades only in cases when the teacher is certain of the accessibility, health conditions and the type of help the student has. For each academic level, this means something different. For preschool and elementary levels, the only thing taken into account is if the student is taking the classes. For middle school students, attendance to at least 80 percent of their classes is key for evaluation. The lowest grade granted to a student will be six, which is the lowest approbatory note. According to El Universal, for those cases in which there is no chance of communicating with the student, there will be a registry on their report card stating so.