Officials blast Mexican teachers' salaries report

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Education officials and a teachers union on Friday blasted a recent study that found that several Mexican teachers earn more than the country's president, saying it lacks veracity and contains mistakes.

"The analysis ... lacks seriousness and rigor," said Deputy Education Secretary Enrique del Val Blanco.

The report published Wednesday by the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, a private organization that analyses public policies, found that at least 70 teachers earn more than $15,000 (193,000 pesos) monthly, President Enrique Pena Nieto' monthly salary. It also found that one professor in Oaxaca state, one of the poorest in Mexico, gets a monthly salary of $46,000 (603,000 pesos), three times that of the president.

The report also said there are 1,441 teachers in the central state of Hidalgo who are all registered as having been born on the same date and being 101 years old

The study, which the center based on documents provided by the Education Department, was immediately picked up by critics who used it to point out the lack of transparency in Mexico's education system.

Del Val Blanco said the institute misunderstood the information and pointed out the teachers in Hidalgo were given the date "12/12/12" as a way of identifying those who are paying child support and not as a date of birth. He said the teacher in Oaxaca receives a monthly salary of $3,500 (45,475 pesos) and another $1,780 (23,000 pesos) in benefits, and added that because of administrative errors the professor was once paid a lump sum of $46,000 and that's not his monthly salary.

The official, who read a statement and didn't take questions, didn't mention the 70 teachers who get paid more than the president.

Experts say the study and authorities' rebuttals of it show a lack of transparency in Mexico's education system, which for years was under the control of a powerful teachers union.

"This shows the mess they have" at the Education Department, said Alejandro Ocampo, an education expert and professor at the Tec de Monterrey University. The data used in the study come directly from official documents, so "in theory it should be reliable."

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