When you’re a parent with school-age kids, moving to Mexico as an expat has an added challenge: How do you ensure that your kids get a good education?
The good news is that there are plenty of good schools in Mexico. It depends on finding the right fit for your family’s needs.
First, accept that you’ll need to send your children to private school–that’s what middle- and upper-class Mexican families do. Private schools can have a smaller class size, a broader curriculum and a wider choice of teachers. Many of these schools are also bilingual (Spanish-English) or with a heavy emphasis on English. That’s because Mexican parents want their children to be as fluent in English as possible—just as you do for your own kids.
Because of the strong demand for private schooling, you’ll generally have several private schools to choose from in Mexican cities with a population of 100,000 or more. Depending on your child’s age, you’ll generally pay $150 to $300 a month per child for tuition, plus registration fees, school supplies, and other incidentals.
Second, consider the school’s accreditation. Private schools should be accredited in Mexico through the Ministry of Public Education (SEP). Your child will be able to attend college in Mexico if she graduates from a school with Mexican accreditation. And don’t discount this possibility—some expat kids decide they do prefer to continue their studies in Mexico.
If you plan to send your children back to the U.S. for college, the school will need accreditation accepted in the U.S. One common U.S. accreditation is through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). However, some U.S. universities and colleges also accept the International Baccalaureate certificate or the University of Cambridge program. For one association of schools in Mexico with U.S.-accepted accreditation, see the Association of American Schools in Mexico.
Finally, and most importantly, consider the school’s quality. Not all schools are created equal, after all—not even private schools. Ask to see the curriculum and books. Ask about the teaching methods and the grading system. Meet with teachers. Visit the facilities. If possible, watch students as they go to classes…. Can you see your child here? Will he be happy? And will he—regardless of what credential he receives at graduation—receive a good education that will enable him to achieve the life he wants, where he wants?
At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.
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