Location Venezuela Venezuela

Mexico Begins to Fine and Dismiss Dissident Teachers

The affected teachers are all from southern states that have maintained a general strike against neoliberal education reforms.

Mexico’s Ministry of Education announced Friday that it will punish 44,486 striking teachers who didn’t show up to work in the first days of the school year, which kicked off on Monday, by either fining or firing them.

The ministry said 43,231 will be fined, 41,569 of whom are from Chiapas and 662 from Michoacan. The ministry added that it has open legal procedures to dismiss 1,225 teachers who missed four work-days in a row in the state of Oaxaca.

All measures are in accordance with the law. However, the CNTE – or National Coordinator of Education Workers, a dissident faction of the national teachers union whose members have been conducting a general strike aimed to reverse the controversial education reform of President Enrique Peña Nieto – will challenge the move.

The affected teachers are all from the southern states that have sustained protests as talks with the government over the education reforms have proven fruitless.

 CNTE teachers have been demanding that the government come to the table to discuss a more inclusive, heterogeneous model. However, the Peña Nieto administration has refused to meet with them unless they accept the neoliberal reforms.

Instead of promoting dialogue, the government has responded with repressive police tactics that have led to several deaths that have not been yet been clarified or investigated by impartial bodies.

Dissident teachers’ main demand is to remove controversial evaluation tests included in the reform, which they say do not effectively measure teaching skills, especially those needed in rural areas and among Indigenous communities.

The restive teachers’ organizations and analysts say the tests were prescribed by international organizations including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Inter-American Development Bank, and are an excuse to engage in mass layoffs and the privatization of education.

But despite these tough measures, the CNTE announced that schools in Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacan, and 11 in Mexico City, would remain closed as the teachers continue their strike.

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