Budget progressivity in education 2023/09/23

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In this space we have addressed that education is a enforceable and even justiciable human right, enshrined in article 3 of our Magna Carta, whose text obliges the State to provide and guarantee it from the basic to the higher level, with a universal character. inclusive, public, free and secular.

The guarantee of rights necessarily implies costs for the State, so any great advance in human rights implicitly entails the need for sufficient public resources and effective public policies for their true application.

It is worth remembering that one of the principles of human rights contained in the Constitutional Theory is that of “progressiveness”, this implies the observance of gradual progress that should not admit setbacks.

In educational matters, the budgetary need is obvious, since increasing and improving the infrastructure capacity for teaching requires intensive investment spending, which should not be debatable, since it means creating basic conditions to be able to carry out learning.

The report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Education at a Glance 2022, refers, among other things, to our country's spending on education. It shows that OECD member countries spend on average $10,722 per student on primary education and $11,400 on secondary education. On the other hand, Mexico spends 2,977 dollars in primary school and 2,890 dollars per secondary student.

At the tertiary level, the average expenditure identified by the OECD is 17,559 dollars per year per student, while for our country, the expenditure is 7,341 dollars.

Another alarming fact is private spending on tertiary education, an index where we exceed the OECD average. The world average is 31% of total spending, while in Mexico it rises to 44%. In this sense, it was also identified that the international average of students enrolled in private tertiary education institutions is 17%, while in our country it is 36%.

On the other hand, the substantive resource of every educational institution is the teaching profession. In this sense, it was recorded that between 2015 and 2021, on average all OECD countries increased the salaries of lower secondary education teachers by 6% in real terms and in our country the increase was 3%.

Now, the Federation Expenditure Budget for Fiscal Year 2023 allocated a total net expenditure on education of just over 402 billion pesos. The Budget Project for 2024 – which must be approved by the Chamber of Deputies no later than November 15 – plans to allocate almost 426 billion pesos on the matter. An increase of almost 6%, but it must be noted that data offered by the Bank of Mexico indicates that inflation from January to December 2022 was 7.18% and we will have to wait for the end of this year.

As for higher education, there is a record that in 2018 nearly 185 billion pesos were allocated, while in 2023 only about 163 billion pesos were channeled, which reflects a budgetary insufficiency, at the same time in which university communities increase their populations and, to the same extent, their needs.

Budget adequacy and progressiveness in education has a catalytic effect, since people who access quality higher education not only learn to understand the world: they can change it.

As Corollarythe phrase of Benjamin Franklin: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

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Nathan Rivera
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