Living in Mexico. EVERYTHING you need to know (and then some)
Mexico schooling options for your kids
May 4, 2021
For those of you moving to Mexico with kids, there are a few options when it comes to schooling. School-aged kids attend classes here just like everywhere else with a few differences, one of which is the timing — morning or afternoon classes — and the school year.
In Mexico, the school year runs from mid-August to the first week of July with holidays in December and March. It’s usually a total of around 200 days, so ends up being a bit longer than traditional Canadian or American school years, which average 180 days.
Education in Mexico is now mandatory for children up to grade 12. Kids attending schools here, public or private, will be required to wear a school uniform. The uniforms are at the expense of the parent and consist of the school’s colors and logos. Some higher level grades, such as high school grades, are opting to eliminate them, but bank on your children needing them.
In the Mexican public school system, students are assigned one teacher who will get them through the national curriculum, which consists of Spanish, mathematics, social studies, natural sciences, civics, arts and physical education.
The cost to send your kids to school varies greatly, and I mean greatly. If you’re trying to figure out general living expenses for Mexico and opting for a good education, then you will want to take matters into your own hands and locate a good private or international school. I will explain why in a moment.
In Mexico, well-educated kids attend private school over the country’s public school system. The reason is that the public school system does not have, nor does it generally require, certified teachers. Anyone can be a public school teacher in Mexico.
As a matter of fact, public teaching positions are often passed down from person-to-person in a family. For example, a retiring school teacher mother will pass off her job to her eldest daughter or son. That person, educated, certified or not, will become the next teacher in her empty place.
This is standard with most valued jobs across the country and is practiced in corporations, offices, businesses and even in government positions. The problem with the system is this: millions of unskilled and unqualified people in positions that have (quite literally) been willed to them.
In Mexico, the public school system ranks the worse in the world. This is a huge part of the reason. Mexico ranks last in education among the 35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Public school student across Mexico rank among the worst globally for literacy, science and math skills with more than half failing the most basic standards.
With that in mind, private schools are where kids with cash go. Mexican and non-Mexican parents alike send their kids to private or international institutions for a better education, one that will at least provide them with a shot at university.
These schools, however, are costly. On average, you can expect to pay between 6,000 and 8,000 peso per child per month for a private school. In addition to that, you will also have to pay an annual enrollment fee plus school uniform and book expenditures.
There are also international schools, which offer a good education and in your language. For example, if your child is older and only speaks English, then an international school option is likely best. The Association of American Schools in Mexico, ASOMEX, has a vast school network in the country. There are also German, French, and Japanese schools to choose from.
Tuition for international schools is much higher than for private schools. For example, the American School Foundation in Mexico City charges a one-time fee of $7,000 USD. From there, monthly tuition averages 25,000 peso per month plus numerous additional charges such as activities, bus, testing, books and general school supplies.
Another Mexico City international school option charges 15,000 peso per month. Remember, these fees are per child and as with most things in life, paying more doesn’t always mean its better.