In our new article, “Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Mexico”, writer Melissa Hartman explains why teaching English in Mexico is taking on new momentum and how it is translating into new job opportunities for expats.
English has been taught in Mexican public schools since the 1960s but English learning in Mexico was accelerated in 2009 when the Secretariat of Public Education launched the Programa Nacional de Inglés en Educación Básica (PNIEB) to increase the English proficiency of public school students by offering English classes from pre-primary to the end of secondary school.
A 2015 study by the British Council – the United Kingdom’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities and also the world’s largest English language teaching organization – found that to achieve its goals for teaching English across the country, the Mexican government must recruit and train over 80,000 additional English teachers.
About 13 percent of Mexico’s population speaks English, according to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). The government wants Mexico to be bi-lingual within the next 10 to 20 years. It recognizes that fluency in English creates a more favorable business environment for global trade and helps attract multinational corporations.
The British Council’s study in 2015 examined English in Mexico. Here are a few key findings from the study:
- The value of the “linguistic capital” gained by English competence in Mexico is estimated at around US$27 billion each year via growth in the services sector.
- Mexico has a substantial English learning market with around 20 percent of the population accessing English tutoring via public or private means.
- Sixty-nine percent of Mexican employers said they felt English was an essential skill when hiring new staff.
- Mexican business leaders believe that English is the international language of communication because it allows them to deal with foreign clients and customers and is a skill in demand due to the fast pace of globalization.
If you’re an expat and have an interest in teaching English, this is all very good news. And, as our article points out, although Mexico prefers a bachelor’s degree plus a TEFL certificate, there are opportunities to teach with just a TEFL certificate.