Centro Escolar Morelos
Centro Escolar Morelos is one of 32 schools across Puebla which is delivering an incredible state education. Pupils are not selected, there’s no compulsory contribution – you just need to live in the catchment. The school runs right through kindergarten to sixth form with each phase allocated a dedicated space. In total, the school is educating over 3000 pupils and employs 200 staff. Children and staff either attend morning school or afternoon school, maximising the school facilities in order to educate as many children as possible.
The facilities were impressive. The opening presentation was given in a university-style auditorium; there was a theatre with permanent tiered seating, a gym, a track and a huge outdoor sports ground with bleachers. During breaks, children were scattered around the school, sitting on the bleachers, talking to friends, playing on their mobiles and eating their snacks – exactly as you would find them here in the UK. The children wore smart uniforms in two styles.
The ministry had talked about the emphasis placed on personal health education. We simply hadn’t expected adults in white coats and hygiene masks at the head of a line of young children, ready to brush their teeth for them. Later, we saw older children coming from the washrooms with their toothbrushes in hand.
The ban on sugar in schools certainly hasn’t reached schools in Mexico, even a model school like this. At least the children are being taught to brush their teeth after consuming sugary snacks but it was surprising to see the vast selection of sweets available in the tuck shops.
At this particular school, primary children are taught in classes of 55-63! This is, in fact, more pupils per class than in the rest of Mexico, but the headteacher assured us that the dedicated staff make this work.
We visited some classes and the children were engaged, happy and extremely enthusiastic about the UK visitors.
A highlight of the visit was, without doubt, a performance by the school band and flag display demonstrating the richness of the education the children are experiencing.
If every child in Mexico were having as wonderful an experience as this, their education would rival the best the UK can offer, but we have to start somewhere and this school is setting the bar very high. If the next government strives towards this gold standard then we have no doubt that the educational opportunities for children will improve immensely over the next decade and decades to come. The graduates of this school will help build better futures in their communities and expect more for the subsequent generations.
Article by Nicola Co-Founder of DoodleMaths.