The other day I wrote about how my son finally finished his online preparatorio studies. The same day as his Zoom graduation, SEP announced that parents will need to sign a “carta de corresponsabilidad” before their children return to in-person classes. AMLO, the Mexican president, has made it clear that despite rising COVID infections and poor vaccination efforts, school will begin on August 30. This “carta” affirms that the parent has checked their child for symptoms of COVID or illness in general before dropping them off for school. Then AMLO changed his mind and said the carta responsiva will not be necessary. Who can keep up with these constant changes?
Although some schools will be able to maintain social distancing, allow for ample hand washing, and enforce mask wearing, other schools in Mexico do not have the facilities for these precautions. With these uncertainties, many more families are considering homeschooling options and are a bit befuddled about how this process actually works in Mexico (and with good reason).
First, is it even legal to homeschool in Mexico? Well, that’s a bit of a fuzzy business.
The Constitution of 1857 states that education is a right of every citizen. In the 1917 Constitution, Article 3 clarifies that free, compulsory, secular education is an obligation and right. However, there is no law, regulation, or code that penalizes parents who do not send their children to school. There are some municipalities that fine parents for truancy in Mexico. Parents can contest the fine by demonstrating that their children are receiving an education through other means, since the law says that everyone is entitled to education, but not obligated to attend school.
So, in a nutshell, according to article 31 of the Constitution, homeschooling is not legal. However, since Mexico signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 26 states that parents have the right to choose the kind of education their children receive, and that does include homeschooling options.
There are basically two options for accredited homeschooling in Mexico, The first involves taking an exam, or series of exams and receiving a Mexican equivalency diploma. MEVyT 10-14 is the set up for an elementary diploma. INEA offers both elementary and secondary (middle school) diplomas. CENEVAL is the preparatorio (high school) exam.
The second way is to receive a diploma from a foreign country and have it accredited by SEP. For it to be recognized, the country must be part of the Hague Convention (like the United States). If you are homeschooling, then the country must be one where homeschooling is legal, not Spain, for instance.
Homeschooling doesn’t mean parents can choose their children’s curriculum willy-nilly and it will be considered valid by Mexico. The key to getting homeschool accreditation by Mexico is to be registered with an accredited homeschool platform or an umbrella school. Umbrella schools help parents meet state requirements by providing curriculum guidance and will provide legitimate transcripts and a diploma. If you have documents that prove your residency in the United States and are choosing a homeschool or umbrella school platform based in the U.S., be sure to check the homeschooling laws of that particular state to make sure you would be able to meet them from Mexico. Hslda.org/legal is a helpful place to start for information on homeschooling laws.
There are also international homeschool platforms that might work for you. Remember, though, to choose one based in a country where homeschooling is legal (not Germany for example) and that is part of the Hague Convention (not Canada for instance).
The Mexican accreditation process isn’t complicated, surprisingly enough. You’ll need the Mexican birth certificate of the student. If your child is eligible for dual citizenship, you’ll need to register them at the local registro civil (civil registry) which is a slightly more complicated but not impossible transaction. You’ll also need the school transcript or diploma with a translation, but not an apostille. You then should contact the appropriate SEP state representative (you can find a list here) to set up an appointment and find out how much the accreditation will cost. For accreditation of university degrees, there is an application form as well.
If there is some reason that you won’t be able to manage to homeschool through an international school, then you can opt to try to test out of mandatory school attendance with the INEA, MEVyT 10-14, and CENEVAL exams, mentioned earlier.
The Instituto Nacional para la Educación de los Adultos (Instituto Nacional para la Educación de los Adultos) provides a way for those over the age of 15 to get their elementary and middle school diploma. The preparation courses for the exams are offered online now. You can register here. CENEVAL offers the same opportunity to get a Bachillerato general (high school) diploma by taking prep classes online and then taking the exam. El Modelo Educación para la Vida y el Trabajo (MEVyT) allows children 10-14 to get their elementary degree by taking a series of 12 exams online.
Online Study Options
Another option to traditional classroom learning available in Mexico at the preparatorio (high school level) is to study online through SEP or another educational establishment. For instance, my son received his diploma through the University of Guanajuato (UVEG). Although this might seem like the ideal setup since the fees are a fraction of the cost of attending a traditional school, be advised that there is little educational or technical support offered and lots of issues with these online sites. It’s a frustrating experience at times and since the topics covered are only what are offered at the traditional school, your student may feel they haven’t learned enough to navigate the real world when they have finished.
Other sites that offer bachillerato en línea include:
Mexican education facilities that offer graduate and postgraduate degrees online include:
To recap, homeschooling in Mexico isn’t technically legal, but there are a few ways to get around the flowery language of the Mexican Constitution. You need to do what will work best for your family and if homeschooling is the way to go for you, then go for it.