Back to Articles List
School for Workers
by Bruce McGovern
Mexico has a variety of
schools. Public schools; private schools; religion‑operated schools;
bilingual schools, and a lot more.
To me, one of the most
interesting school types is the school for workers. When I learned that Maria,
servant at our Mexico City house, attends one, I did what I always do when I
want to know something Ė I asked
my niece, Liliana.
Liliana told me workers
schools hold evening classes, 5 to 9 pm, so the workers can hold jobs. They are
more lax about attendance. If students show up late, they are merely asked why
they are late. Unlike most Mexican schools, the class waits for slower students,
instead of tossing them out. If the class falls behind, classes are continued
into vacation time. Of course, workers donít get much vacation, so this
isnít a major disaster.
These schools are less
restricted by age. Liliana says itís possible to have a thirty-year-old
student in secondary, which is roughly junior high. At 15, Maria is in her first
year of secondary. Liliana was there when she was 12.
After secondary, the workers
can attend Open High School. They receive a high school diploma, which is
generally recognized as a good diploma. But, Liliana says it is rare for an Open
High Schooler to attend the University. Admission tests are given, and
considered for admission. But, competition is fierce, so the studentís
background is also considered. Thus,
few Open High Schoolers will make the cut.
I'd like to theorize that
these kids would prosper in the U.S., with financial aid and open college
admissions. Alas, many poor Mexicans I know in the States simply don't attend
any school after high school, even where part‑time or night school is
available. What a shame!