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  • Teachers clash with riot police as they take part in a march against President Enrique Pena Nieto's education reform in Mexico City, Mexico, June 3, 2016.

    Teachers clash with riot police as they take part in a march against President Enrique Pena Nieto's education reform in Mexico City, Mexico, June 3, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 June 2016

Teachers have been engaged in a strike since May, demanding the government end testing imposed by a neoliberal education reform.

Teachers in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero have allegedly burned down a building that housed offices of the state’s education ministry, Proceso reported on Friday.

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The action was conducted in the state capital of Chilpancingo to protest the education reforms of President Enrique Peña Nieto. According to local press accounts, personnel inside the building were evicted before a protester set a fire in the first floor of the facility.

The teachers belong to a local union called CETEG, which along with the National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE, has been conducting a general strike since last May demanding the government repeal the teacher testing imposed by the reform.

The phone at the union's headquarters was not answered when teleSUR sought comment.

This is the most violent action so far since the strike began. Local authorities say they have already identified the union leaders who led the burning and that arrest warrants have been issued.

Peña Nieto unveiled the education reform in 2013 as part of a set of 11 neoliberal structural reforms implemented in his first 20 months of power. Since then teachers have been protesting, mostly in the violent southeast states of Oaxaca, Michoacan, Guerrero and Chiapas, where millions of children have been affected by the strikes. 

The controversial law imposes teacher evaluations in order to determine which applicants will be chosen to fill open posts in the public school system nationwide.

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Critics say the testing only justifies mass layoffs and does not effectively measure teaching skills, like the special knowledge and demeanor needed to teach in rural areas and Indigenous communities.

Education Minister Aurelio Nuño has refused to negotiate any point of the reform and has said he has the support of the Mexican National Educational Workers Union, or SNTE, which is the largest trade union in Latin America, with over 1.4 million members while dissidents have reportedly 200,000 members.

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