AMERICA/MEXICO - Bishops' appeal to legislators: need to ensure full freedom of education

Friday, 6 September 2019 education   freedom   episcopal conferences  


Mexico City (Agenzia Fides) - "Authentic education is an act that requires full freedom and responsibility. Without a clear and right intention to educate, action is contaminated by other interests, not transcendent nor fundamental. Education is the noblest of tasks", reiterates the Mexican Bishops’Conference in an appeal to federal legislators and educational authorities, because in view of the discussion in Parliament of three draft laws on education, they have to promote "a real dialogue with the main key players of education". It is indeed necessary to consolidate the efforts made so far in the educational field by issuing legislative norms that "respond with realism and farsightedness to the challenges of the educational emergency we are experiencing today, as well as to the requests already incorporated in the latest constitutional reform" (see Fides, 24/6/2016; 12/7/2016; 21/7/2016).
In the document, sent to Fides, the Bishops say they are particularly worried that freedom has to be guaranteed in four areas of education. In the first place they cite "the autonomy and the full freedom of the body that will replace the National Institute for educational evaluation" foreseen by the recent reform of Article 3 of the Constitution.
Therefore they recall that already in their October 2013 document, that is months before the last federal government's education reform came into force, they had highlighted the concern that "some trade union groups had inadequate political power, which it allowed them to sit at the table with the authorities, in order to negotiate working conditions, among other things, reducing the central educational value, ie the best interest of children, adolescents and young people". Today they fear that the pressure of these groups will hinder "the effective exercise of the freedom of society and government, in the structuring of a new national education system".
The third aspect highlighted relates to the participation of parents in the education of their children: the bills "declare, recognize and encourage the participation of parents in the education of children", recognize the Bishops, but at no time are recognized as "the main responsible for the education" of their children, but only as "co-responsible" for it, not providing any structure or form of representation. "That is, their right is recognized, but there are no real spaces of freedom to exercise their rights".
The last cause for concern regards the management of educational infrastructures, which is up to the discretion of the federal authority, "which must be guaranteed through the clear and honest exercise of budgetary control, as well as a clear distribution of powers". "It is very important - they emphasize - to strengthen federalism in this effort to adapt and structure the National Educational System".
The appeal concludes by reiterating the Bishops' intentions: "As Mexican episcopate, we express our desire to continue to participate in the exercise of our religious freedom, in the pluralist context of our country. We will continue to do so with the utmost prudence and with the intention of seeking the greatest good of all the Mexican people, including its authorities". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 6/9/2019)