Mexico to fire 3,300 teachers who failed to turn up for exam

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Unions are fighting reforms that include testing as government tries to improve standards and end practice where teaching jobs are sold or inherited Mexico’s government will fire more than 3,300 teachers who skipped evaluations under a controversial education reform that has sparked protest in the country’s poorest states, authorities said on Monday. Aurelio Nuno, education minister, said 2.2 per cent of the 153,000 teachers who had to take the test never showed up and will be sacked on Tuesday. Some 15 per cent flunked the exam, but they will keep their jobs while receiving training to retake the test in the next 12 months, said Mr Nuno. “No child will be left without a teacher,” he said.

In all, 51.5 per cent of teachers either failed or got a “sufficient” grade that requires further training, while 48.5 per cent got high marks that will allow them to apply for promotions or get raises. “There is a wide margin for improvements,” added Mr Nuno. But the results unveiled by the minister applied for 28 of the country’s 32 federal entities, as rebellious teachers in four states have yet to take a second round of exams. Teachers in the southern states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Guerrero and Michoacan in the west have held sometimes violent protests against the reform, which President Enrique Pena Nieto has highlighted as one of the most important of his administration. Radical unions in those states argue that the reform will destroy their labor rights and fails to take into account the challenge of teaching in poor, remote regions where children speak indigenous languages at home instead of Spanish. The government says the reform aims to improve the country’s lacklustre education system, which had been dominated by unions, and end the practice in which jobs were inherited or sold.

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