Photo: De Panzazo Documentary Blasts Mexico Public Schools
Mexican filmmaker, Juan Carlos Rulfo, and journalist, Carlos Loret de Mola, have joined forces to show México, as well as the world, the current state of their school system. ‘¡De Panzazo!’ the Spanish equivalent to the English saying, ‘barely passing,’ offers a glimpse into the failing Mexican education system. It’s a system in which 8 out of 10 students in secondary school enter without the ability to multiply and only 60% of students will graduate.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the movie earned an impressive $870,000 on its opening weekend in Mexico City beating out Oscar winner ‘The Artist.
Ranked among the 30 OECD, or Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, countries at a dismal #30, Mexican students spend on average only 4.5 hours per day in the classroom. The documentary, very critical of the teachers unions, especially its leader since 1989, Elba Esther Gordillo, discusses the lack of training as well as evaluations among the nation’s teachers.
In México, teachers are not evaluated. It is possible to earn a teaching position after majoring in education, yet some have been known to ‘inherit’ their position from a family member that previously taught. Others have ‘purchased’ a position within a school.
The documentary will be a wakeup call to many Mexican families. According to a 2007 survey they believed that the school system was doing either a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ job educating their children. The government also shows much faith in the system providing the schools with 20% of their public funds.
Yet, as a result of the many options for entering the field of teaching in México, it is quite possible according to the documentary, that the government may not have an exact count of just how many ‘teachers’ are on the payroll.