Universalization of Primary Education in the Historical and Developmental Perspective
Edited by YONEMURA Akio
The development task model schematically expresses the internal contextual structures of the development of primary education in a development stage framework, focusing upon the role of the government. This stage framework approach differs from the context-ignoring approach of the EFA movement.
In Mexico, the federal government has been a promoter in the enterprise of primary education development. In the 1950s the expansion period began. The government actively constructed schools. In the 1970’s, the expansion was accelerated with construction of new types of schools in the remote and isolated areas as well as the indigenous areas and the huge volume of schools in poor urban areas. In the 1990s, Mexico entered the completion stage of the universalization process, but quality problems remained in the form of a massive number of repeaters and were illustrated by the low ranks achieved by Mexican students in the international achievement tests. The developmental task model, founded upon the basis of Japan’s experiences, can be named the “task-solution process articulated model”. In contrast to this model, the author summarizes Mexico’s experiences as the “task-solution process prolonged and multi-layered model”.
The voucher system was retained after the political power transfer to the civil government in 1990. However, the government’s educational budget rose drastically. The disparities between areas and between social classes were inclined to decrease. The “finance sharing” system was introduced in 1993, which could increase the disparities. The Technical Committee Report in 1994 proposed the attainment of equity and quality improvement through better utilization of the voucher system. Since then, reforms have been carried out based upon this report. Presently, there are plans to give poor children vouchers with increased value.
The enrolment ratio was 109% in gross terms and 95% in net terms by 1980. This situation where almost all children go to school has been retained to the present. However, according to statistics in 2002, the 5th grade survival ratio is 88.5%. This confirms that the country has reached the completion stage of the universalization of primary education. Difficulties in sending teachers to remote areas and the problem of instruction languages in ethnic minority group areas are related to the problems of those children who do not complete primary education. In order to improve the education quality, the government is making earnest efforts to change schools from the double-shift system to the full-day operation system. Presently, the schools in the double-shift system account for over 90% of all schools. The “socialization of education” policy means to financially support this transition.
60% of the total expenditure of primary education is accounted for by public education expenditures; the rest by household expenditures. Generally speaking, the donations from families and communities go to capital expenditure items such as school construction and rehabilitation. In rich areas they also go to current expenditure items such as school equipment, instruction materials and pay for additional classes. The transition to the full-day operation system requires construction of new class rooms and increases in teacher salary. Financing for such items falls on families because the budget for it has not been prepared by the government. There exist large financial disparities within prefectures although the government has contrived to reduce disparities among prefectures through its budget distribution. The “socialization of education” policy spearheaded by the government is a project to implement the community’s financial ability into educational services. Thus, the government’s implemental methodology – of starting the transition to the full-day operation system with those communities which are ready – necessarily enlarges the disparities within prefectures. There are policy instruments to alleviate disparities within prefectures such as donation exemptions for poor families, pooling donations at the prefecture level, subsidies from prefectures for that purpose, free textbook distribution for poor areas, and promotion of activities for the poor by enterprises and popular organizations. The author argues that these measures will become more important hereafter.
The author describes two types of “socialization of education” activities: the inhabitant participating type and the enterprise participating type. In the former, the School Encouragement Association, a local consortium for educational promotion, organizes the popular organizations and representatives of the enterprises in the locality. Many popular organizations support education development. For example, the Women’s Union promotes enrolment of children in schools, donations for school construction and support for poor children, and opening charity courses for non-formal education for women. In the second type, enterprises cooperate financially to construct schools. They also contribute to training students, thus, preparing them as productive workers and offering them employment in the future. Labor unions also participate in school construction, collection of donations for subsidies to children from poor families or the areas with difficulties in going to school. The author points out the contradictory situation in that the implementation of the policy brings about an increase of parents’ and communities’ financial burden and an enlargement of disparities among communities while EFA (Education For All) preaches non-fee education. He also notes problems of local financial ability and sustainability of popular organizations’ activities: many poor areas have difficulty in raising funds because they do not have enough educational resources to carry out “socialization of education” to begin with; it is probable, in the social changes which the country undergoes, to decrease the mobilization capability of the popular organizations by reducing influences of the socialist ideology and increasing members’ work hours.