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Education in Mexico: Your guide to the school system in Mexico 2021

If you’re moving to Mexico with your family, you’re going to want to know where you can send your children to school. However, the education system can make the decision difficult. Rural schools in the country do not have enough funding, and consequently not enough teachers, textbooks, or buildings. Urban public schools are slightly better, though the quality of education remains relatively low. To get high-quality bilingual education, you’ll have to send your child to a private school, which can be expensive. In this Pacific Prime Latin America article, we’ll explore the school system in Mexico for 2021.

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The Mexico educational system

The education system in Mexico has had its fair share of problems, such as high dropout rates and shortages in public schools. Segregation by social class is evident in the Mexico educational system, with significant differences between the more developed central and northern states in comparison to regions in the south. Families send their children to private schools if they can afford it. Conversely, other families have no option but to send their kids to public schools.

Many expats choose to homeschool their children. Some send them to a Mexican school in the morning and homeschool them for the rest of the day. That way, the children can learn Spanish and become accustomed to the culture as well. Here are some facts about education in Mexico to help you make your decision.

Mexico public schools

Even though education is free in Mexico for public schools, it usually isn’t the first choice for expats due to the different standards. In Mexico, the education system is administered by individual states and regulated by the Secretiat of Public Education (SEP). Religious teachings are banned in public education, making it secular. School days are also shorter compared to many other countries. The school year typically starts in September and goes until June in the following year.

There are usually three levels to the public school system, including primary (ages 6 to 12), junior (ages 12 to 15), and high school (ages 15 to 18). Children must score 60% or higher in the national exam at the end of every school year to advance to the next grade. High school students have a few options including technical colleges and vocational courses to prepare them for work or general education in specialized subjects to prepare them for ongoing education.

Known for not having enough resources and being underfunded, public schools are an unlikely match for expat children. However, students who are fluent in Spanish might benefit from going to public school for the first half of the day and homeschooling for the rest of it.

Mexico private schools

Private or international schools are a popular option amongst expat families. Typically located in the big cities, private schools are known for having a wider curriculum and better teachers than public options. It’s important to make sure that any private school you are considering is SEP-accredited. Additionally, it’s advisable to look at the curriculum and visit the school to see if it is the right choice. While this may be tricky to do when you are relocating, there are relocation companies that can do this for you.

If you’re planning on sending your children to university in your home country, you must make sure that the school is internationally accredited. You’ll have to present school records to show what grade your child has completed and prove that they are qualified to enter the next grade level. Schools typically require:

  • A copy of the child’s school records
  • A copy of the child’s birth certificate
  • Photo identification for the child and parent

International schools in Mexico

Expats in Mexico are likely to send their children to an international school. Going to an international school ensures that your child can receive a world-class education and attend university in the home country or wherever they want to in the world. International schools in Mexico are mostly situated in Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, and other large cities. American, English, French, German, and Japanese schools can be found in Mexico.

The cost of tuition ranges from affordable to excessively high for the most elite international schools. You’ll have to consider where the school is located and how your children will travel between home and school every day.

Homeschooling in Mexico

It’s common for expat parents in Mexico to homeschool their children. This option is ideal for expat parents who are only staying for the short term and do not want to spend on international schools. A popular option involves alternating between part-time homeschooling and school learning. Mexico’s educational system allows for distance learning, so parents can choose which curriculum to use if they decide that homeschooling is the right way to educate their children.

If you’re moving to Mexico with your family then you’ll need to make sure you have family medical insurance or health insurance in Mexico to cover any medical costs while you’re in the area. Curious about your expat health insurance options or want to ensure your existing policy is suitable for Mexico? Contact Pacific Prime Latin America to have all of your insurance-related questions answered or for a free quote and plan comparison today.

Expat families who are moving to Mexico from the US often wonder how education in Mexico is different from the United States. You can read more about this and other expat-friendly topics on our blog.

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