The new century has witnessed a nearly doubling in the number of private university students in Mexico, now about one million students. This is a dramatic increase, although private students make up only about 30 percent of the total student population – a modest figure.
For basic social, economic and political reasons, the demand for public higher education has not decreased and the government continues to generously finance the region.
Government-non-action is not new. The problem here is that it continues to make it easy, or in the parlance of the critics, “acceptance” of the private sector. This situation allows private educational institutions to be established, legally licensed and operated.
There are very few restrictions, so establishing a private university is as easy as opening a bakery shop. Many new regulations from the mid-1990s may cause some anxiety for investors in private education, but not enough to create a decisive turning point. Good quality private schools easily meet government regulations, the rest find their way around regulations.
Taking advantage of the favorable conditions, the private education sector has recently developed new forms: private university networks, chain of private schools and online training. Online postgraduate education is growing rapidly and 80 percent of the growth in this sector is privately owned, but the scope of this article covers networks and chains only.
The new PHE models above reflect the bold initiatives of the private sector. In this section we will examine government reform initiatives in three key areas of public education: operational evaluation, quota allocation, and institutional diversification. In each area, the government’s goal is to make public higher education economically more affordable.
Similarly, the Mexican government decided to stop funding the training of popular traditional industries that saturated students and thus undermined public interest. The Government promulgates enrollment quotas for medical, civil engineering, law, business and management disciplines.
However, the results are not as expected: with the financial support of the family, students still enroll in their favorite fields – mainly because these fields provide higher incomes. Many candidates who fail to enter public schools due to enrollment limitations still pursue their aspirations at private universities.