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Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education (SEP), headed by Delfina Gómez, has announced its intention to rework 18 primary school textbooks in just under two weeks as part of its “New Mexican School” concept, raising serious concerns over the quality of the new educational materials.

The textbooks, specifically for grades three through six, will be reworked by teachers and retirees, in a process that would normally take an entire year to complete properly.

“Making a textbook can take six months, a year, up to two years, depending on the project, but not four days to write something, not four days to evaluate, and not four days to illustrate and then design everything,” said textbook author and educational authority Esther López Portillo.

López Portillo also noted how the reworking of the educational materials could lead to the indoctrination of students, saying “the greatest risk is having materials that do not have quality, that do not have a neutral approach.”

Others pointed out how the SEP should focus on the return to in-person learning following the year-long lull caused by the coronavirus pandemic, rather than making reworking textbooks a priority.

“There is no clear and concrete information on what is the process for the design of the contents of the free textbooks,” said nonprofit organization Educación con Rumbo. “There is no public, open and transparent information, both of the graphic design process and of the contents that gives certainty before its eventual modification. What there is is confusing information, so it is necessary to give specific details on the subject.

“The processes should not be carried out in a hurry, since we are talking about the value of education and the contents that are aimed at millions of students. Such an important process should not run in a hurry, as it is being promoted; it must have its time, study, methodology, order and not subject to whims.”

Educación con Rumbo also mentioned how national public education materials need to follow a meticulous review process with the “consensus of teachers and specialists” and be designed according to the appropriate “psychological and pedagogical model” for children, thresholds unlikely to be passed due to the short span of time given by the SEP for the textbooks’ reworking.

…April 8, 2021


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