10 Facts About the History of Education in Mexico

The history of education around the world is very different. Some countries had their first educational systems even a thousand years ago. Others are still struggling to create a good structure for their systems and combat illiteracy. Wise people all over the world realized that one of the strengths of their countries is knowledge and the more educated the population is the stronger they grow. Mexico is a very special case when you study their education and history. Being a country often caught in wars and revolutions the educational system was fairly influenced by the political status of the country. Nowadays Mexico is fighting illiteracy of the population on one side and on the other grows elites in their performant universities. Being able to choose from state and private universities, Mexicans all over the country fight for their growth. To put all of this into perspective, here are 10 facts about education in Mexico.

1.The education before the Spanish conquest

Quetzalcoatl was the Aztec god of air, wind, and learning. So even before their contact with the European civilization, Aztecs had schools where they trained priests and warriors. The priests had a high status in the society and the warriors were the strongest force for the expansion of the empire.

2.The Catholic church’s involvement

One of the most amazing Mexican education facts is the speed with which the colonists used the “civilization” as one of their reasons to conquer the “New Spain”. The involvement of the church was crucial, so it kept an authority position in the education system.

3. Very few girls attended education at establishments run by nuns and even fewer girls from wealthy families received tutoring with a private instructor. 

4. The reform

During the rule of Benito Juarez, a reform was made.  The Liberal views allowed a separation between the church and the state and in 1868 the system of secondary school was created.

5. Schooling in the 1900s

After the end of the Mexican Revolution that ended in 1920 events took place that gave us some of the most interesting Mexico school facts of the present. The state got more involved in the creation and administration of the public school system. Indigenous children and non-indigenous children started going to the same schools and studying in the same language.

6. The Royal Pontifical University of Mexico

Harvard College is the oldest American institution of higher education and was founded in 1636. The Royal Pontifical University of Mexico was founded in 1551, being the first university in North America! At that time, they educated people in the secrets of religion, law, and medicine.

7. The present-day structure of education

In Mexico, you have primary school from 1st to 6th year followed by junior high from 7th to 10th and two more years after that for high-school. After high-school, Mexican teens can choose to go to University following a 4-year bachelor’s degree, a 2-year master’s program, and a 3-year doctorate. Modern-day private universities in Mexico follow international standards, being close to the Bologna system in Europe. Students just like you go to college there and attend classes and lectures. The high level of education there allows some of them to go to international congresses, to meditate their colleagues and even use to offer writing services for others.

8. Present-day quality of schooling

The struggle nowadays to keep the youth in schools is real in Mexico. Almost all Mexican children attend primary school but not even half graduate high-school!

9. The best university in Mexico is considered to be Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.

10. The cost of a university year is on average around 5000$.


Studying the history of schooling in Mexico is amazing. The Mexican school facts you can find are very interesting. Seeing how the political and religious climate influenced the development of an educational system through centuries makes you realize a lot. The development of a country is strictly related to the level of knowledge and culture people have and vice-versa. For centuries the Catholic Church controlled the school system in Mexico and gave the few people getting an education, a religious one. After the coming of secularization, the state got more involved and started to actively work for the education of the people. Nowadays the Mexican school system is a very familiar one. You go to primary, junior-high and high-school. After that, you can attend the courses of various universities and get a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree. The cost of a year of university is much lower than in the US and the level of academic performance is a good one in the private colleges.