There is compulsory schooling for elementary (6 years) and middle school (3 years). The public school and textbooks are free. Religious instruction is not given in public schools. In the formation of the gap between urban and rural areas and between indigenous peoples and mestizo is clear: can not read and 27% of the indigenous and write, the national rate is illiterate at 9.5%.
Children of day laborers, so-called Jornaleros, who often have to hike to find work, can rarely go to school.
School and Education
School children in Ixtapaluca
The Ministry of Education, the Secretaría de Educación Pública, issues the curricula and is responsible for the content of the books. In the past, teachers enjoyed great recognition, especially in rural areas, even if they themselves had poor training. The reputation of public schools is generally poor. There are alternatives in the cities, but usually not in the countryside. Various programs counter this. Teachers are subject to national exams, and private schools and universities are heavily promoted. Those who can afford it financially send their children to a private school or university.
The state Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, the largest university in the country, is one of the best in the world. A list of other state and private universities can be found under this link.
Higher educational opportunities fail because of the often inadequate organizational and material conditions in the state university system. The number of expensive private universities based on US models is growing. The educational and social differences manifest themselves between urban and rural populations, as well as the indigenous population and the majority society. In order to draw attention to these grievances, UNAM students struck for their rights in a spectacular way in 1999/2000. Several so-called intercultural universities have been founded since 2003, some of which teach in indigenous languages.
Literacy class in Hidalgo, Santa María
The public institute INEA (Instituto Nacional para la Educación de Adultos), which promotes adult education, broadcasts programs on basic education (reading, writing, arithmetic) nationwide, but does not take enough account of the needs of interested workers when it comes to broadcasting times.
A large number of small private institutions, so-called “Institutos”, offer educational programs, especially in the big cities.
Arts and Culture
The eventful history of Mexico and its multiculturalism are also reflected in all areas of artistic creation. His contributions to architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, literature, science, music and film are outstanding. According to a2zgov, Mexico has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites on the American continent.
Cultural institutions and museums
One of the largest cultural institutions in Mexico is the national national institute for anthropology and history INAH, whose task is the research and preservation of the Mexican cultural heritage. In addition to several thousand archaeological sites, it looks after 110,000 monuments from the 16th to 19th centuries and over 100 museums. Unfortunately, important positions at INAH at the local level are occasionally not filled with anthropologists or historians, but misused for political purposes, which sometimes leads to unprofessional decisions.
In general, the Mexican museum landscape is impressive because of its diversity and because of the normally high level. The following museums in Mexico City deserve special mention at this point:
Museo Nacional de Antropología (Indigenous Cultures of Mexico),
Museo Nacional de Arte (visual arts) and its exhibition ” Five Centuries of Mexican Art”
Museo Franz Mayer (Mexican handicrafts),
Museo del Templo Mayor (main temple of the Aztecs),
Castillo de Chapultepec (City Palace of the Habsburgs).
There are also a large number of private art museums, museums on political issues, museums for children or museums under the direction of community bodies, which are always worth visiting.
In order to coordinate and promote the various state cultural institutes in activities and cultural programs, the “Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes” (CONACULTA) was founded in 1988. A look at the CONACULTA website provides an overview of daily events throughout Mexico.
Flag and other national symbols
The current national flag, the shape and symbol of which has been in effect since 1968, consists of three vertical stripes that, from left to right, are green (for hope), white (for purity) and red (for courage). The white area in the middle shows the coat of arms of Mexico, with an eagle sitting on a cactus tree with a snake in its beak. The symbol goes back to the legend of the founding of the city of Tenochtitlán by the Aztecs in 1325. The eagle (symbol for air) fighting a snake (symbol for earth) expressed for the Aztecs the duality of the world (life and death). Some explanations about the national coat of arms and the festivities at which the flag is hoisted can be found in the attached link.
Current national flag of Mexico
The national anthem, full of warlike pathos, plays a major role as a symbol of identity and is played in the morning on many radio stations or during ceremonies in schools and on the zócalos (main square) and is sung along by the population.
The three colors of Mexico, green, white and red, are often transferred to everyday objects and even food (coriander and green chilli, onion, tomato) as a patriotic identification image for the “Mexican”.