In January I made a trip to Mexico as a one of the scholars at Inter-American Dialogue, one of the leading U.S. center for policy analysis, exchange, and communication on issues in Western Hemisphere affairs. As part of the trip, I participated in private and public meetings with government officials as well as business leaders in Mexico and was invited by the Mexican Ministry of Education to visit a public high school which is under education reform.
As I mentioned before, I used to study and worked in Mexico and this is the fourth time that I have gone back. I feel very fortunate and grateful that I could develop such a special and strong tie with the people and culture in Mexico, get involved with the dynamics and contribute my knowledge and expertise to solve the development issues there. This time I joined the cohort of eight scholars and together we aimed to understand the infrastructure financing dynamics and China’s future role in the region. I have to say that I’ve never felt so important being a Chinese!
After the conference, I was invited by Mexican Ministry of Education to visit a high school. I was introduced to the teachers and the principal there and they gave me a thorough presentation on the on-going education reforms in the high school and how these public schools support the daily life of working-class families. This experiment high school implements two timetables for the students: morning and afternoon schedules. Each schedule of 12 hours is filled with academic class, workshops and sports classes. The long schedule, according to the teachers, allows parents to focus on their work while their kids are getting a variety of training. In addition, the conversation with the teacher union caught my attention in terms the labor reform for the teachers, which greatly changed the hiring process and cut the benefits for high school teachers. I believe that the education reform in Mexico could be a very research topic in the coming years and I will closely follow it.
Now it is time to go home to ISH and I cannot wait to see my housemates and share about my time in Mexico. More detailed reports and papers will be published by the Inter-American Dialogue. You are all very welcome to check out the work when it is published!