Recognition of non-formal and informal learning at the basic level
In Mexico, alternative pathways for basic education for youth and adults as well as certification are the main responsibility of the National Institute for Adult Education (INEA). It was created on 31 August 1981 as a decentralised organ of the Secretariat for Public Education (SEP) to provide literacy, primary and secondary education, as well as non-formal training for work and community education to the population aged 15 and older who has not had access to or has been left out of the regular education system.
To meet the challenge of addressing the learning needs of around 32 million people lacking basic education, INEA has developed the Mexican government’s flagship programme Educational Model for Life and Work (Modelo Educación para la Vida y el Trabajo, MEVyT). Within this model, modules are organised around everyday life skills and oriented towards the development of competences around themes such as – “Youth and Work”, “My Business”, “Homes without Violence”, and “Numbers and Counting for Trading” – delivered with the help of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
Procedures and processes
In primary and secondary education, successful assessment can result in the award of credits or certification through the recognition of skills relevant to the Educational Model for Life and Work (Modelo Educación para la Vida y el Trabajo, MEVyT).
Rigour and fairness are maintained through the use of assessors who are neither involved in the educational process nor work as learning facilitators. Instead, the final assessment, accreditation and certification are undertaken by a third party assessor authorised by the Secretariat of Public Education.
Recognition of non-formal and informal learning in basic education begins with a series of diagnostic tests. A diagnostic test allows individuals to discover how their knowledge, skills and wider competences align to basic education and schooling certification. These tests result either in the issuing of a primary or secondary certificate, or the applicant’s referral to the appropriate level of participation in basic education.
Mexico also uses traditional examinations for assessment in the basic education sector, as certification at these levels is a requirement for admission to programmes leading to baccalaureate and higher education qualifications. While this may appear to create inflexibilities, the broader standards described in the MEVyT programme help to ameliorate this by enabling broader learning to be directly assessed.
Outcomes and ways forward
The assessment processes have facilitated learning and accreditation for people from diverse geographical and socio-cultural environments. The assessment of learning outcomes is viewed as a formative and ongoing process, allowing young people and adults to identify the progress and limitations of their learning.
Castro-Mussot, L.M. and de Anda, M.L. Mexico’s National Adult Education Programme. In: M. Singh and L. M. Castro Mussot. 2007. Literacy, Knowledge and Development: South-South policy dialogue on quality education for adults and young people. Hamburg/Mexico City, UIL/INEA. pp. 117–139.
Source: UNESCO UIL