Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, Special Issue, 980-985
Published Online October 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
System and Policy in the Planning of Higher Education in Mexico
Gonzalo Varela-Petito
Department of Politics an d Culture, Xochimilco Campus, Metropolita n Autonomous Universit y,
Mexico City, Mexico
Email: vapg7469@
Received June 24th, 2012; revised July 27th, 2012; accepted August 11th, 2012
In higher education in Mexico, the tension between institutional practice and the directives of government
authority produces a scenario of uncertainty. In recent decades the government has used planning mecha-
nisms in an attempt to induce a more solid direction all round. Such a policy tries to assert itself in generic
criteria such as the opening of opportunities by increasing student enrollment numbers and the radius of
social recruitment. It does not relinquish the maxim of educational achievement and quality of service.
Nevertheless, given the interinstitutional complexity of the system, it is hard to ensure that these would
bring about significant corrections in the short term. The crux of the matter lies in the resolution of the
ties between the government and the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), indeed, between centralization
and autonomy. One escape route from this tension has been the parallel growth of the private higher edu-
cation sub-system, but in relation to the public sector the approach of official policy has been to advance
evaluations as a means of information and control.
Keywords: Mexico; Higher Education System; Higher Education Planning; Evaluation Policy
Since the great student strike of 1968, public policy in Mex-
ico began to pay closer attention to higher education. Previ-
ously, the Mexican government had opted to stay clear of the
issues regarding university; however, as it now faced conflict
stemming from an explosive rise in enrollment which itself
created unsustainable pedagogical problems, educational au-
thorities began to take the initiative. An attempt was made to
bring mechanisms into the national environment for the devel-
opment of higher education that had already been proven in
other countries (Coombs, 1967). The chief idea here was a
planning strategy that would be implanted more or less homo-
geneously within the various Higher Education Institutions
(HEIs), most emphatically in the public universities, which, to
this day, include the majority of students enrolled in higher
The attempt encountered two obstacles: the extreme hetero-
geneity and autonomy of the HEIs, and the excessive political
pragmatism of government officials. Different impulses can be
distinguished in this regard. The first of these, in the first half
of the seventies, brought with it marked changes in educational
policy, typically in the relatively haphazard application of an
array of planning measures. A second one, running approxi-
mately from 1978 to 1986, represents a stage in which a greater
unity and homogeneity was sought, overall, for higher educa-
tion. A third period began in 1990 and continues to this day. Its
objective has been the gradual, systematic and diversified
evaluation of higher education and, at the same time, the estab-
lishment of a basis for its development, at least through the year
2020, with a view towards bringing Mexico into the society of
In the last third of the 20th century, Mexican higher educa-
tion exhibited certain characteristics that were also visible in
other countries (for an overview see Lorey, 1993). On the one
hand, the student population was concentrated almost exclu-
sively in the universities, and not in any other types of HEI
such as technical institutes or teacher colleges. On the other
hand, post World War II economic and demographic growth
had brought with it increased levels of school attendance that
over time tended to result in the accelerated growth of higher
education. This gave rise to complaints of declining quality in
the educational service as the overburdened teaching profession
failed to keep up with the rising demands of students. Fears
also began to arise as to whether job offers for university
graduates would stay apace of graduation rates.
All of this sparked debate over the balance between quantity
(the number of students enrolled) and quality of education,
since, if an increase in student population without a matching
change in the school experience led to a deterioration in quality
(Honorable Cámara de Diputados, 1994), then this, in turn,
could generate a distortion in the job market: well-educated
professionals would become scar ce while poorly prepared gradu-
ates would abound. In practice, the predominant focus of edu-
cational policy was on quantity, even if in official publications
much was made on the importance of quality. Consequently,
public policy after 1970 was characterized by numerous, though
not always well-coordinated measures aimed chiefly at servic-
ing a demand that the teaching profession, whose attention until
then had been centered on two institutions (the National Uni-
versity and the National Polytechnic Institute), was unable to
meet. It was lacking in infrastructure, membership and funding,
among other things.
Attempts were made to deal with all of these problems at the
same time, but with uneven results (Latapí, 1980). To begin
with, educational policy tried giving structure and diversity to
higher education by distributing students more evenly among
the three branches: university, technological colleges and teacher
colleges. This effort had limited success, with the university
subsystem continuing its unchecked growth to the present day.
Nevertheless, the foundation was laid for changes that contin-
ued to mature in subsequent years. The accomplishments were
greater in the area of diversification; the options for areas of
career majors opened up significantly, though less so, where
enrollment by area of knowledge was involved. Growth re-
mained out of control in this respect as well, in the sense that
most students still signed up for a handful of traditional majors.
Even nowadays, approximately 46% of undergraduate degree
enrollment clusters around the Social and Administrative Sci-
ences, home of some of the most traditional majors. This, too,
is driven by an economic reality, namely, that this kind of ma-
jor offers greater possibilities for placement in the job market.
New teacher-training programs were also initiated, as was
systematic research on educational topics. Public financing of
higher education, both nominally and in real terms, underwent a
notable increase in the 1970s. But there were some marked
failures in the creation and coordination of the system of higher
education. The objective had been to organize the institutions of
higher education into an unabridged whole possessing common
goals, a plan which would allow for the effective use of sup-
plies and the accomplishment of universal purposes. This,
however, was blocked by the great heterogeneity and autonomy
of the institutions of higher education.1
Moreover, in specifically political matters, public universities
gained incentives for their role as the home of anti-government
students and labor union protest movements, as provincial in-
stitutions once marginal to the conflict now joined the struggle.
The unionizing of universities, which included both academics
and administrators, also emerged in this period, creating a fur-
ther focal point for conflict in higher education (Pulido, 1981).
Nevertheless, two important differences prevailed in the rela-
tionship between the university’s social movements and the
government compared to the previous decade. First, the attitude
taken by the federal government was that of non-involvement,
as far as possible, in university conflicts. Secondly, and as a
consequence, the watershed of university conflicts came either
in confrontation with certain provincial governments or inter-
nally on the campi where students and labor unions, on one side,
clashed with university leaders, on the other.
During this period the government undertook a broader array
of reforms at every level of public administration. Where higher
education was concerned, the goal was both to restore the ties
between the government and the HEIs, and to set up a bureau-
cratic channel of communication that would serve as a trans-
mission line for official policy. The National Association of
Institutes of Higher Education, or ANUIES (Spanish acronym),
began to gain prominence in this role. ANUIES is a non-gov-
ernmental organization that joins the authorities of the chief
HEIs, both public and private. It has an important lobbying
function vis á vis political leaders, insofar as it negotiates for
better conditions for the higher education system. By the same
token, it serves as a bridge between the government and public
HEIs in carrying out the directives of official educational policy
(Medina Viedas, 2005).
The efforts undertaken yielded uneven results. Thereafter,
policy would focus on propelling higher education towards a
more consistent homogeneity (ANUIES, 1978). This effort
materialized as relations between the government and the pub-
lic universities gradually stabilized, and as the economic picture
brightened under the oil boom of 1977-1981, which allowed
federal authorities to channel resources in exchange for certain
agreements with educational institutions through ANUIES.
These were agreements that revisited the idea of unifying
higher education within a single system through generalized
planning (regularly practiced by very few HEIs at the time) and
the coordination of different education centers. Previously,
similar proposals had failed to get off the ground for fear,
among other reasons, of provoking new conflicts between the
government and the universities.
Starting in 1978, several important measures were adopted
through an agreement between the federal govern ment, ANUIES
and the HEIs: a National Plan for Higher Education was for-
mulated; the National Law for the Coordination of Higher
Education was approved; and finally, university autonomy was
strengthened through the constitution (Villaseñor-García, 1988).
These legal provisions were limited in their ef- fect. Although it
seemed to fill a void, the National Act of Higher Education had
little effect in practice. The National Plan for Higher Education
had a marginally greater impact, but not exactly the kind sought.
In order to implement it, the National Permane nt Planning Sys-
tem for Higher Education (SINAPPES, Spanish acronym) had
been launched, which aimed to generalize the practice of plan-
ning in all HEIs by setting up a graduated series of departments
from national, regional and provincial levels down to the basic
home campus level. At the national level there was the National
Coordination for Planning in Higher Education (CONPES,
Spanish acronym); at a regional level, the Regional Coordina-
tion for the Planning of Higher Education (CORPES, Spanish
acronym), which grouped HEIs existing in geographical prox-
imity with one another; for each province, the State Coordina-
tion for Planning in Higher Education (COEPES, Spanish ac-
ronym); and fi nally, Inst itutio nal Planning Unit s (UIPs, Span ish
acronym) were created for all HEIs (CONPES, 1981).
These diverse organizational levels have had, to the present
day, a highly irregular existence and performance. It was to be
expected that an initiative of these dimensions would encounter
problems in its execution, especially in the beginning phases.
To be sure, there were advances as the HEIs accepted the need
to plan their activities. Yet, communication among the different
tiers of the planning system did not flow, as the architects of the
policy would have wished. Given the conditions of extreme
decentralization at the outset, it was difficult to bring about the
fluid and efficient communication of guidelines from the center
of the system of higher education to the periphery. As designed,
the model was heavy and bureaucratic, and the critics main-
tained that the federal government had sought to oversee statis-
tics (especially for enrollment, numbers of teachers and budget)
rather than guarantee quality. Advances in the mere creation of
new planning departments did not by themselves guarantee
progress in the quality of education.
Incidentally, under this new system public financing grew
stronger as a device of federal control over the growth of higher
education and—given the scarcity of financial resources occa-
sioned by the economic crisis that exploded in 1982 and lasted
throughout the decade—it was to concentrate even greater
power. But problems in implementing higher education plan-
ning on a national scale led to the adoption of a more precise
and supple method, one aimed at verifying and measuring re-
sults: performance evaluations. These came into effect in 1989.
1Public universities in Mexico are autonomous by law and through the
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 981
Current Policy
The debate surrounding the quality of higher education and,
consequently, the need to evaluate it, grew more heated as the
failure of conventional planning, a model based on the simple
idea of fitting the means to the ends, revealed its bureaucratic
and impracticable nature. It is no accident that in Mexico’s
intellectual arena, the focus on public policy sciences, with its
emphasis on sociological variables and the study of irrationality
and contingency in public administration, had, at the same time,
become fashionable (Aguilar-Villanueva, 1992). At an ideo-
logical level, the move towards evaluation coincided with the
advent of the idea of equity, which was displacing equality, that
is, stressing access to opportunity over the equal distribution of
resources and, therefore, the justification of merit payment and
rewarding productivity.
The new system for the evaluation of higher education insti-
tuted in Mexico was initially formulated with three orders of
magnitude: self-evaluation by each center of education; peer
evaluation of teaching programs and research projects by inter
institutional peer committees; and the evaluation of the overall
system by the office of the Secretary of Public Education (SEP,
the equivalent of a ministry of education at the federal level).
Currently, it is a manifestly more complex and developed sys-
tem, one that encompasses the entirety of the educational sys-
tem within different modalities (INEE, 2006). Theoretically,
evaluation is part of the planning process, but with the relative
atrophy of SINAPPES by the end of the eighties, it has taken on
a life of its own. In its association with the allocation of funds,
it places in the government’s hands an agile instrument for
some kind of recentralization of higher education without vio-
lating the legal autonomy of the universities. It is no longer a
matter of a direct and thorough change of higher education, as
was attempted in the early seventies and eighties, but rather of
working towards certain precisely defined and manageable
goals, which, cumulatively, would foster a chain reaction lead-
ing ultimately t o more deeply rooted transformations.
The official policy is now being guided by a strategic plan-
ning perspective (ANUIES, 2000). Accordingly, it is supposed
to be the case that, looking ahead to the 21st century, higher
education policy must form part of an educational system that
fulfills its strategic role for national development, thus attenu-
ating acute social disparities by tapping into human capital,
productivity and competitiveness. The foregoing offers a glimpse
of a new scenario brought about by the globalization of which
the country finds itself ever more a part of (especially since the
signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994,
involving the United States, Mexico and Canada), with its risk
of polarization among, or within, countries, but also its oppor-
tunities. Despite its shortcomings, educational policy has helped
to improve the status of the country’s teachers, among whose
ranks the number of PhDs has risen impressively over its pre-
vious, almost ludicrous, levels. With regard to accountability
and quality control, there are now programs that yield consis-
tent results, among them are the internal self-evaluation of the
HEIs, the external evaluation, and other mechanisms.
Other important modifications have come about as a result of
policies put into practice since the last century: the deconcen-
tration of enrollment ; the joint planning for the incr ease in edu-
cational supply within the federal states; the increase and diver-
sification of programs in numerous branches of knowledge; the
growth of post-graduate programs; greater participation by
women in different areas of higher education, starting with
enrollment itself. There is hope that the future will bring a
greater push towards permanent education, the organization of
higher education as a path to the society of knowledge (Ruiz
Durán, 1997) and not merely as the pursuit of a terminal degree,
the formation of innovators and entrepreneurs and the insertion
of the HEIs within a new scenario of international competitive-
ness. It is foreseeable that the reinforcement of the participation
of the leaders of higher education within the system of ac-
countability through evaluations, accreditation and other me-
chanisms (including financial control) will continue. In general
terms, cumulative changes in the system of higher education
have produced and will continue to produce, in the course of
the 21st century, innovations and restructurings that will be
related to citizen formation in ways that go beyond the tradi-
tional vision centered on professions.
In consequence, long-term objectives have been established
by stipulating strategic goals that should be met. According to
these (ANUIES, 2000), HEIs should comprise a proper, inter-
active system in keeping up with its regional, national and in-
ternational environment. Mexico should have a diversified,
integrated and high-quality higher education system, broader in
size and coverage, and should bring into its ranks at least 40%
of the population between the ages of 20 and 24.2 Furthermore,
it should involve a wide array of HEIs, covering social and
regional needs and ensuring quality in all of its institutions,
while attaining an international level in its most developed ones.
Each HEI would develop its own distinct pedagogy in relation
to its needs using innovative models that would allow for qua-
lity and social relevance. In this regard, one determining factor,
among others, would be the development of the so called “aca-
demic bodies,” disciplinary or interdisciplinary active groups of
dynamically prepared teachers and researchers who should be
identified with their institution, as well as supported and in-
creased in number so as to become the overall system’s prime
motivators and the guarantors of its quality (ANUIES, 2006).
The HEIs would also focus their attention on the formation of
students through well-integrated programs that would follow
any student from before his or her entry into the system until
after he or she has exited it, occupying itself with all aspects of
academic development. This assumes an adequately diversified
system, one capable of servicing different types of students.
The institutions would fulfill their task of generating and ap-
plying knowledge of great quality and relevance for the country,
along with the simultaneous development of the sciences.
Mexico’s higher education system would be capable of dis-
seminating universal culture through proper ties with society
and, in order to bring quality to the fulfillment of its function, it
should have the necessary human resources at its disposal. This
presupposes not only an increase in actual academic personnel,
but also the resolution of problems in providing administrative
and managerial personnel.
Along the same line, the HEIs should possess material and
economic resources of sufficient quantity, quality, security and
opportunity, both in terms of facilities and equipments as well
as funding streams. Spending 2% of the GDP is the ideal for
higher education; but currently this figure stands at about 1% of
the GDP (OECD, 2011) considering both public and private
spending. In any case, the aging population and the increase in
2The present number reaches 31% of the 19 to 23 year-olds, according to
official information (Gobierno Federal, 2011).
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
investment on education suggest that enrollment in higher edu-
cation, and with it, investment at this level, will grow incre-
mentally. Additionally, HEIs should feature organizational
structure, standards and systems of governance that would fa-
vor their efficient functioning and cohere with their nature and
mission. The legal framework would be consonant with the
system’s character while offering security and stability in the
internal and external relations of its members. It would likewise
ensure the provision of funds allocated by the state to public
HEIs. The nationwide system of planning, evaluation, accredi-
tation and quality assurance for higher education would be
consolidated. The importance of the “academic bodies” as
catalysts of the overall institution must be underscored in this
In short, the fundamental values of this policy are: quality
and innovation; the strengthening of academic quality; higher
education’s relevance to the country’s needs; equity; a human-
ism that will inspire not merely a specialized or utilitarian edu-
cation, but one that is guided by national and moral values; a
commitment to building a better society; the responsible au-
tonomy of the universities; and a fitting administrative and
operational structure.
The implementation of the objectives of higher education
policy appears within the framework of a system that is experi-
encing an important, albeit still inadequate, growth in student
numbers. As a result, ensuring teaching quality has become a
concern; but at the same time, in an emerging economy (as
Mexico is according to the international opinion) the impulse
towards research and innovation is also crucial. Both questions
focus on HEIs. Scientific research in the country is done, above
all, in public universities, a little less in state institutions and
very little in private firms, dependent to a large degree on the
importation of foreign technology (OECD, 2009). But not all
Mexican HEIs carry out quality research with consistency and,
in practice, are not expected to either, because social pressure
as much as government policy points more towards the teach-
ing profession. In practice, the higher education system is,
above all, a teaching system and therefore the majority of
teachers in higher education institutions are not researchers. In
turn, high level researchers have a limited relationship with
undergraduate students: they either give few classes at this level
or do so within the framework of curricular content which is
not always related to their research. Only at graduate and above
all, doctorate level, is there a direct link between research and
teaching. Among other causes, this is due to a characteristic of
origin: historically, HEIs sprang up in different regions around
the country to supply the demand for professionals, teachers
and technicians, while research functions came later, or never
in some institutions, or only in reduced scale (Varela-Petito,
Given the fact that enrollment poses specific problems, the
official policy of recent decades has centered on stimulating an
increase of students and, with some difficulties trying to ensure
the quality of teaching. The pivotal point lies in academic de-
mands, given that a minimal requirement model tends to pre-
dominate, particularly at an undergraduate level, making it
difficult to stimulate the outstanding students and help the
regular students overcome the obstacles on their path to know-
ledge. Although there are, naturally, variations depending on
each teacher, this is a trait of the system and not of the indi-
viduals. In Mexican higher education, still marked by the tradi-
tional teaching model, teachers are recruited for their specia-
lized knowledge but without having pedagogical training (be-
cause experience is laborious and requires the additional in-
vestment of time and teacher training), and in turn, the student
with a basic educational background of routine, gap-ridden
learning, is unprepared for active participation in the classroom
(Guevara Niebla, 1997). Student performance evaluation me-
thods are contingent on this (except when departmental or
similar exams are implemented, which is not often in public
HEIs) and must reconcile with the constraints identified. And
the programs are not always up to date. It is not unusual to see
reformulations of programs that, in the current institutional
scheme, take years to complete. Curriculum design in accor-
dance with university regulations, by collegiate bodies and
special commissions, tend to cause this delay. During the proc-
ess, rival academic groups may even argue at length over the
content to be renewed. As a solution, some HEIs have adopted
the practice of having academic authorities exclusively set the
schematic characteristics of course curricula, leaving their pe-
riodic adjustment to ad-hoc academic committees selected for
their knowledge and teaching commitment and which operate
for a reasonable amount of time and with technical autonomy.
In this context, the generalization of the evaluation practices
of researchers and teachers (Varela-Petito, 2011) puts pressure
on academics not only through productivity requirements but
also through the demand for diversification of tasks. Post-
graduate studies, especially PhDs, which have been very moti-
vated by the current policy of economic stimuli, point to this
goal. As far as the government policy is concerned on higher
education development, the key lies in the already cited aca-
demic bodies (Rubio Oca, 2006a). Innovation is of crucial im-
portance here, as well as the incorporation of technology and its
integration into the society of knowledge. On the question of
financing, the importance of grants must be stressed, as they
help restrict the tide of student desertion currently afflicting
higher education, as well as other branches of the system
(Rubio Oca, 2006b).3
In a developing country like Mexico, policy sets out to over-
come the social obstacles to educational progress; the first of
these is the socio-economic origin of the students, which the
social orientation of policies and the allocation of resources
seek to cushion (Poder Ejecutivo Federal, 2007). The immedi-
ate action must be to put public education within everyone’s
reach, guaranteed by the state and with the objective of passing
from basic education up to the very highest levels of education
over time. The educative institution is, to the student, not only
an environment in which to learn a curriculum, but also to so-
cialize by coming into contact with a diverse medium outside
his or her family. The learning it offers is different from the one
he or she receives at home and also broader than that produced
strictly in the classroom.
Mexican higher education, therefore, has been changing
since the end of the 20th century and no longer engages only
with the training of university professionals or elite education
groups. It has become a highly diversified system, one that
3Currently, from a total of around 3,000,000 higher education students,
400,000 receive scholarships (Gobierno Federal, 2011).
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 983
tends to encompass ever more individuals, whether because the
educative cycle extends as life expectancy is prolonged, or
because the integration of knowledge into society requires a
prolonged, continual and mass education, whose realization is
also a legitimate requirement for the government. Training in
public higher education is accessible for an increasingly greater
number of people, even in countries like Mexico where such
development was somewhat delayed. The expansion of the
private sector, which has also happened in other Latin Ameri-
can countries, and which accounts for 30% of total higher edu-
cation enrollment, is associated with this phenomenon: middle-
or high-income social groups, whether for reasons of academic
quality, safety in installations, values or desire for exclusivity,
feel the places they once occupied in public universities are
now disturbed or threatened by the appearance of a number of
students of a social type who did not frequent them before and
seek to create their own spaces regulated by a price system.
Nevertheless, the fundamental contradiction does not lie in
public-private differentiation but in higher education seeking to
respond to the circumstances of a developing society, correct-
ing structural defects such as inequality, injustice or mismatch-
ing; and in doing so, finds itself having to deal with a group of
very differentiated educational organizations, with a poorly
coordinated performance logic. Given this complexity, the
education system becomes an organizational and political prob-
lem in itself. Such is the outcome of this expansive phenome-
non driven by social requirements, such as the student’s accu-
mulation of knowledge in order to penetrate the job market, but
also, and this should be emphasized, by an internal logic of the
academic institutions.
Educational authority, federal or at the state level, plays an
important, but relative part in the process. Planning a design on
a national scale and the allocation of resources gives it a sig-
nificant power, but the impact is buffered by the de jure or de
facto autonomy of the set of HEIs, propped up by reasons of
legality or specialization of the service, and also for political
reasons. Although the results produced by educational policy
are not exactly as expected, the higher education system con-
tinues to embrace an ever-greater number of students, who
graduate at an adult age largely without previous work experi-
ence, and in current circumstances without the assurance of
finding a well-paid job in line with their professional training
(OECD, 2008). Higher education operates under its own logic
because its growth increasingly requires academics and other
support workers, as well as supplies and investments, putting
demands on the state budget and creating a double-edged po-
litical effect. On the one hand, the government seeks to control
the use of resources by motivating its participation in education
planning and placing conditions on the development of HEIs,
and on the other hand, it receives social complaints and criti-
cism from intellectuals and the press either for insufficient pro-
vision of resources, educational shortcomings or encroachments
on academic spaces. The solution from the government’s point
of view has been to allow the parallel expansion of private
HEIs, which relieve the public system of both budgetary de-
mands and political pressure.
In turn, as far as the public sector of HEIs, the education
process is increasingly permeated by evaluation mechanisms
prompted by educational policy which range from the evalua-
tion and certification of students by organisms outside the HEIs
to the evaluation of the academics, institutions and administra-
tive processes themselves, still without having a clear vision of
the effects this will have in the classroom.
Presently, higher education in Mexico strives to be a combi-
nation of actions carried out both at the institutional and the
systemic levels, wherein the objectives are spelled out under
headings such as students, innovation, university-industry rela-
tions and scheduling. An open higher education system is
sought, one based on scientific networks, which would bring
within its scheme of relationships elements of civil society, the
political system and employers. Progress in these characteristics
would imply better communication among the HEIs and less
isolation of academics within their home institutions. Focus
would shift from organizational apparati to formal as well as
informal efficient relationships.
Academic planning, even with the corrections introduced by
experience and the refinement of theories and practices, seeks
the homogenization of a mass service, which clashes with the
peculiarities of the different organizational cultures of academ-
ics, officials, administrators, students and classroom groups.
Educational policy prepares general guidelines for standardize-
tion purposes, but given the regionalization and heterogeneity
of the institutions which comprise the higher education subsys-
tem, reality demonstrates the survival of idiosyncrasies and the
difficulty of obtaining unified results according to plan.
Despite these obstacles, the evaluation has been established
through mechanisms that are also common in other countries
(Bleiklie & Henkel, 2010). Since 1988 the educational policy
sought to give a new direction to higher education based on a
closer relationship with the economy. This provoked tensions
with academic groups that saw reforms–carried out with mana-
gerial criteria of accountability- as diluters of intellectual tradi-
tions. Nevertheless, the new policy, reliant essentially on eva-
luation mechanisms and merit payments, made its way at an
individual level through the supply of economic stimuli addi-
tional to salaries, which in turn contributed to the relative
weakening of power of the university unions. Some public uni-
versities also made structural transformations that led them to
redesign the method of appointing their authorities, limiting the
power that previously had been held by a broad range of insti-
tutional actors such as professors, students, and administrative
staff (Doger Corte et al., 1998).
Following the same international patterns, the evaluation be-
came systematically organized and based on quantitative rather
than on qualitative criteria. Before the 1990s the predominant
forms of recognition in the academic world were informal,
based sometimes on the prestige earned by effort, but also on
simple leadership capacities within the communities, not nec-
essarily linked to the realization of important work. The current
patterns have changed both aspects. Organized evaluation is
governed by normative patterns and with fundamentally quan-
titative criteria: how much is produced within a determined
range of products in a given amount of time. The result greatly
depends on statistics. Moreover, evaluation and accreditation
have extended, as was explained above, beyond personal in-
stances, whether entire institutions or individually considered
academic programs.
Aguilar-Villanueva, L. (1992). El estudio de las políticas públicas. Me-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 985
xico, DF: Miguel Angel Por rúa.
ANUIES (2006). Consolidación y avance de la educación superior en
México: Elementos de diagnóstico y propuestas. Mexico, DF: Aso-
ciación Nacional de Universidades e Institutos de Educación Superior.
ANUIES (2000). La educación superior en el siglo XXI: Líneas estra-
tégicas de desarrollo. Mexico, DF: Asociación Nacional de Univer-
sidades e Institutos de Educación Superior.
ANUIES (1978). La planeación de la educación superior en México.
Mexico, DF: Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Institutos de
Educación Superior.
Bleiklie, I., & Henkel, M. (Eds.) (2010). Governing knowledge: A study
of continuity and change in higher education. Dordrecht, SH: Springer.
CONPES (1981). Plan nacional de educación superior: Lineamientos
generales para el período 1981-1991. Mexico, DF: SEP-ANUIES.
Coombs, P. H. (1967). The world educational crisis: A systems analysis.
Paris: International Institute for Educational Planning.
Doger Corte, J. et al. (1998). Transformación de las universidades
públicas en los noventa. Mexico, DF: ANUIES.
Gobierno Federal (2011). Quinto informe de gobierno. Mexico, DF:
Gobierno de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos.
Guevara Niebla, G. (1997). La catástrofe silenciosa. Mexico, DF: Fondo
de Cultura Económica.
Honorable Cámara de Diputados (1994). Diagnóstico y prospectiva de
la educación superior en México. Mexico, DF: H. Cámara de Dipu-
tados and Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana.
INEE (2006). Políticas y sistemas de evaluación educativa en México.
Avances, logros y desafíos. Mexico, DF: Instituto Nacional para la
Evaluación de la Educación.
Latapí, P. (1980). Análisis de un Sexenio de Educación en México.
Mexico, DF: Fondo de Cultura Económica.
Lorey, D. E. (1993). The university system and economic development
in Mexico since 1929. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.
Medina Viedas, J. (2005). La ANUIES y la educación superior en
México 1950-2005. Mexico, DF: ANUIES.
OECD (2011). Education at a gl ance 2011. Paris: OECD.
OECD (2009). OECD Reviews of innovation policy: Mexico. Paris:
OECD (2008). OECD Reviews of tertiary education: Mexico. Paris:
Poder Ejecutivo Federal (2007). Plan nacional de desarrollo 2007-2012.
Mexico, DF: Presidencia de la República.
Pulido, A. (1981). Cronología: 50 años de sindicalismo universitario.
Mexico, DF: STUNAM.
Rubio Oca, J. (2006a). La mejora de la calidad de las universidades
públicas en el período 2001-2006. Mexico, DF: Secretaría de Edu-
cación Pública.
Rubio Oca, J. (2006b). La política educativa y la educación superior en
México. 1995-2006: Un balance. Mexico, DF: Fondo de Cultura
Ruiz Durán, C. (1997). El reto de la educación superior en la sociedad
del conocimiento. Mexico, DF: ANUIES.
Varela-Petito, G. (2011). Evaluating public higher education in Mexico.
Higher Education Management and Policy, 23, 59-78.
Varela-Petito, G. (2010). Facing the knowledge society: Mexico ’s public
universities. Higher Education Policy, 23, 436-449.
Villaseñor-García, G. (1988). Estado y universidad, 1976-1982. Mexico,
DF: Universidad Autónoma Met r o politana.