President Enrique Peña Nieto, sent amendments to the Education Act modifying the school calendar to the Senate for approval, to establish a minimum duration of 185 days and a maximum of 200 actual days of school.
The initiative that reforms Articles 13, 51, 53 and 69 of the regulation states that today there is strong evidence suggesting greater importance of the length of the school day on the corresponding duration of the school year.
In the preamble to the proposal, the president recalled that the decision to extend the school calendar from 180 to 200 days was after the signing of the National Agreement for Basic Modernization in May 1992.
The argument was that with more school days, the quality of education will automatically improve. However, that approach left aside the focus of the length of the school day and not the time spent in schools.
Since that date, educational research and neuroscience has been providing information and empirical evidence for new effective ways of learning, of innovative practices in classrooms and schools.
Also highlighted was the fact that the emergence of new information and communications technology has become an important extracurricular component of the learning process of the students, who often compete with the formal processes of acquisition of information and skills taught in school.
Peña Nieto said that today it seems clear that in the school calendar, the most efficient variable is not its duration, but the maximum use of class time each day to provide students with multiple opportunities for development and learning.
Based on the results of various international evidence, there seems to be a positive correlation between the current duration of the school year and school success, because total class time is not efficiently used, nor is active involvement of all pupils achieved, he noted.
The president emphasized that before making any adjustments to the school calendar, the opinion of the School Councils of Social Participation in Education will be heard, and in the capacity as a consultative body whose purpose in terms of the provisions of the General Education Law, is to participate in activities that strengthen and improve the quality of public education.
Referencing member countries of the Economic Cooperation and Development Organization, the average number of class days per cycle in primary school is 185 days with 791 hours of compulsory education. In Mexico, the comparable figures are higher than 200 days and 800 hours, respectively.
The comparative review of this information establishes that countries with the highest scores on international tests in the International Student Assessment Program (PISA) generally have fewer days and hours in their school calendars compared to Mexico.