Sofialeticia Morales, Secretary of Education for Nuevo León, proposes promoting academic development under a model of innovation and resilience.
“We want to connect knowing with doing and transformation, to make evidence-based decisions that consider the uniqueness of the state of Nuevo León,” says the official appointed by Governor Samuel García, who took office on October 4.
She’s also a distinguished professor and Director of Education and Development at the Tec’s School of Humanities and Education.
During an interview with CONECTA, Sofialeticia shares her proposed objectives, the challenges to overcome, her pedagogical vision, and her strategy for the educational future of Nuevo León.
Track record of the Secretary of Education for Nuevo León
Dr. Morales has experience of roles in the education sector, including:
- Director General of International Relations and Director General of Innovation and Academic Reinforcement at the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico City.
- Director of Social Development and Education at the Organization of American States (OAS)
- Senior Advisor on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals at WHO/PAHO
Her experience at the Second Summit of the Americas in Chile stands out, where under the leadership of President Ernesto Zedillo, the central theme was education.
“The themes of that summit are applicable in education today, since they’re about equity, quality, and relevance,” she says.
She’s also acted as consultant for the Natura Institute on its Learning Project in 6 Latin American countries and has been a professor at the Tec’s Monterrey campus.
Main challenges: equity and inclusion
Although the return to face-to-face classes is one of the priority issues on the agenda, Dr. Morales explains that there are a variety of related situations that must be addressed in parallel with this first challenge.
As well as coordinating an informed effort to reintegrate students into classrooms, Morales highlights how imperative it is to address challenges such as equity for women and the inclusion of indigenous groups.
“It’s essential to draw upon the wealth and diversity that characterize this state,” says Morales.
What’s more, the Secretary says that her team is working to collect and analyze data that will allow them to make effective use of the budget.
The official also says that despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, lessons have been learned as part of this experience.
“One of the most important realizations is that peer learning is the best way to learn,” she says, highlighting the importance of the use of mechanisms that promote diverse interactive groups.
Nuevo León, a unique player on the national educational scene
As part of her plan of action, Sofialeticia highlights the characteristics that make Nuevo León a unique player on the national scene.
According to Morales, around 130,000 people come to the state each year. What’s more, Nuevo León is the state with the second largest diverse indigenous population in the country,
“Nuevo León has great wealth in terms of language and culture. However, there are challenges in terms of discrimination and educational inclusion,” she said.
Despite this, she shares her confidence in the nature of the people of Monterrey, which becomes apparent when she speaks about the interest of civil society in volunteering and their resilience.
“We don’t give up. We always put innovation, persistence, and passion for work first. That’s what makes us exceptional,” she said.
Dr. Morales also says that alliances with the corporate commitment that exists in Nuevo León will be a firm path to carrying out educational projects.
“Nuevo León has great wealth in terms of language and culture, however there are challenges in terms of discrimination and educational inclusion.”
Empowering women, one of her objectives
One of the main objectives of Morales’ team is to focus on equity and equality of educational opportunities in the state, proposing a “level playing field” for the people of Monterrey.
“We have a responsibility to address these issues through an approach that allows us to feel proud of who we are,” added the professor.
Alongside this first theme are issues such as improving quality of education, reexamining the importance of each academic level, and increasing support for women to prevent school desertion.
“We’re going to empower women, because by doing so, we empower mothers, families, and the state,” she stressed.
In turn, Morales has set herself the task of highlighting the benefit of a national education system that allows the possibility of this level playing field for the way in which students are educated.
The strategy to involve families and teachers
In order to meet her objectives and ensure this approach is reflected during her term, Sofialeticia proposes implementation of an intersectoral strategy.
This plan of action includes working not only with students, but also with families and teachers so that quality education is coupled with the emotional wellbeing of those involved.
According to the professor, one of the first steps to take is related to diagnosing students through standardized tests designed to measure their performance throughout the school year.
“Education is a gradual process, but we propose demonstrating our progress with evidence,” Morales concludes.
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