Mexico’s Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño has insisted that his decision to fire 3,360 teachers “is irrevocable.” The teachers were let go because they failed to attend mandatory evaluation tests, which were part of sweeping reforms introduced by President Enrique Peña Nieto, designed to significantly improve educational standards in the nation.
“They were given two opportunities to take the tests and they did not show up,” Nuño said during a visit to a primary school in Mexico City. “The evaluation is obligatory and all teachers had been warned of the consequences of refusing to take the test.”
The announcement was made during a ceremony at which Nuño presented the results of the evaluations and praised those who scored highly.
Testing was carried out in 27 states, including Jalisco. Eight percent of the 134,140 teachers who took the test achieved the highest marks and are now eligible to receive pay raises. Another 41 percent passed the test with “good” marks and many of them will be promoted. Fourteen percent passed with “insufficient” marks and are required to retake the test. The two percent of teachers who refused to take the tests are now jobless.
Announcement of the education reform sparked civil unrest in four Mexican states – Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacan and Oaxaca. Protests and riots prevented the government from administering the tests in these states.
The radical wing of the teachers union that persuaded its members to boycott the evaluations is threatening further civil unrest and another potential stand-off with Peña Nieto.