The Covid-19 arrived and took millions of students out of the classrooms, who had to adapt to taking classes, doing homework, carrying out practices, doing physical education and dancing in the corners of their homes or in the workplaces of their parents and mothers.
Through television, a tablet, a cell phone or a computer, many students at all educational levels finished one school year and started another. Many others did not even finish and if they finished they could not register for the next one.
In Mexico, even before the pandemic, education was insufficient and unequal, and its quality was difficult to measure. With the statistical information that has been produced – which has not been much – one can begin to suspect that the gaps in access to education have deepened, that the level of learning is at risk and that the educational lag has grown significantly.
Here we show you some of the most up-to-date figures on education in five graphs.
At the end of 2020, with estimates prepared by Coneval (National Council for the Evaluation of Development Policy), 19.2% of the student population has an educational gap, which implied an increase of 0.2 percentage points.
The educational gap reflects the number of children and young people who, due to their ages, should have completed compulsory education, but have not done so. Although there are various levels and types of educational lag, this indicator refers mainly to “backwardness” or “dropout” in school life.
It was observed that, in absolute terms, the total number of people with educational lag went from 23.5 million to 24.4 between 2018 and 2020.
Much of this increase can be explained by changes in the labor market and the economic composition of households; many students had to drop out of school, pause it permanently or simply could not pass in a timely manner due to lack of material or emotional resources or changes in their learning schemes.
The education received by elementary school students in the city of Monterrey is not even similar to that received by students of the same level in Villaflores, a small town in Chiapas. But the inequality gaps are not only regional, in fact, they are not the widest.
The largest gap occurs in the “type of school” and the figures collected by the PISA 2018 test (the most recent) reveal it: no matter the region, nor the grade of the course, private schools present better results compared to public ones.
For example, while 6 out of 10 teachers in private schools are fully certified, this figure is cut in half (3 out of 10) in public schools. Additionally, the teaching staff also earn in quantity. For every 30 students, there is one teacher assigned in public schools; for private schools the ratio is 14 students per teacher.
One of the most serious consequences of these enormous gaps in education is that they put those who were unable to pay for their education at a great disadvantage in terms of academic achievement, content or learning techniques. And consequently significantly reduces the level of social mobility of students.
The arrival of the pandemic and the confinements implied the immediate transfer of classes to distance mode, in most cases through virtual channels such as video calls or conferences, but in many other cases through television.
This also implied an impact for thousands of students who do not have effective access to the Internet. In Mexico, connectivity is not universal, although in recent years progress has been made in bringing the Internet to more people, barely 72% of the Internet user population has this service at home, according to figures from the ENDUTIH 2021 of the Inegi ( National Institute of Statistic and Geography).
Additionally, almost 4% of those who use the Internet have to do so away from home.
This reflects that about 25 out of every 100 Mexican adults are still outside the effective right to connectivity through the Internet. And things get worse if analyzed by region: while 81.6% of the population in urban areas uses the Internet, the figure drops to 56.5% in rural regions.
For its part, 91.2% of Mexican households do have a television at home.
Faced with this reality, the Ministry of Public Education (SEP) promoted distance classes through open television. During the periods of distance education or hybrid scheme, pre-recorded sessions were broadcast for all levels of basic education.
As it was not a live class, the students had no options to stop with questions, clarifications or individual participation. It will be important to observe the results of upcoming academic evaluations to contrast results in the academic achievement of students, especially those who had more obstacles to connect.
bullying in schools
Harassment or bullying is one of the most important social problems within schools and educational centers. Despite this, another of the great problems is the difficulty in identifying bullying and quantifying it, in addition to the almost scarce production of statistics in this regard.
The most recent figures available are those obtained from the PISA 2018 test, and in fact, Mexico together with Peru turned out to be the countries with the lowest levels of students who have suffered bullying, at least in the Latin American region. .
In Mexico, 2 out of 10 students have been victims of some type of bullying, and most of them agree that this situation impacts their school performance at some level.
Although it is a positive figure, when compared to the results of Argentina where 32.4% of students have suffered bullying, it is still a worrying figure and a situation that should be placed at the center of discussions about public policies in education.
Work destination from education
Another situation observed in Mexico compared to other similar economies in the region and the world is that the fact of not having completed higher education (bachelor’s degrees or postgraduate degrees) does not have such a significant impact on the level of employment.
In Mexico, the unemployment rate for young people between 25 and 34 years old (of university age) who have an educational level lower than high school is 4.2%, while in Colombia and Costa Rica it reaches 11.0 and 16.9%, respectively, according to figures from the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).
And although in general terms it seems a good sign that the educational level is not punished so much in the labor market, it is still pending to evaluate the conditions of the jobs to which these young people who did not reach university education in “time and form” have access.
One of the greatest concerns in terms of social development with the arrival of Covid-19 is and continues to be the impact on the education of children, adolescents and young people in the country. The indicators suggest that the problems that already existed before the pandemic could have deepened.