Mexico to fire over 3,000 teachers who skipped test


Mexico City (AFP)

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 Monday.

Education Minister Aurelio Nuno said 2.2 percent of the 153,000 teachers who had to take the test never showed up and will be sacked on Tuesday.

Some 15 percent flunked the exam, but they will keep their jobs while receiving training to retake the test in the next 12 months, Nuno said.

"No child will be left without a teacher," he said.

In all, 51.5 percent of teachers either failed or got a "sufficient" grade that requires further training, while 48.5 percent got high marks that will allow them to apply for promotions or get raises.

"There is a wide margin for improvements," Nuno said.

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.

Thousands of teachers protested again in Oaxaca on Monday, blocking roads and breaking the gate of the state education department's office with a Pemex oil company truck in the state's capital.

Police used tear gas to repel the teachers, who protested to demand that they be paid for work days they have missed while holding demonstrations.

Radical unions in the four 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.

Pena Nieto's administration says the reform aims to improve the country's lackluster education system, which had been dominated by unions, and end the practice in which jobs were inherited or sold.