during the 1980s. Almost independent of the political priorities that have changed with each decade, the educational system has maintained a fairly high growth rate, except at the high school level. Throughout, education has continued to be highly relevant in the perceptions of the society at large. This is demonstrated in the growth in average years of schooling, in the growing private expenditures on education, and in the decrease in dropout rates from basic education.
Despite the expansion in the supply of education, there are still a significant number of children who never enter school or dropout before finishing primary school. This is especially true in rural areas and poor urban zones. In 1996-97 the terminal efficiency rate for primary school was up to slightly over three-fifths of the children that began six years before. The secondary school absorption index showed a recent increase up to 87 percent, but still remains a long way from universal, which is implicit in extending compulsory education to include secondary school. At the other extreme in educational distribution, the growing social demand for mid-level and higher education, coupled with its high rates of return for economic output in Mexico ( Bracho and Zamudio 1994; Psacharopoulos et al. 1996) will make it politically expedient to expand the supply at that level.
The problem of education is important in social research to the degree that new economic policies and the changes in the level of policy, together with the growing concentration of national income and the search for ways to increase employment, require focusing on conditions for an effective distribution of education as one of the ways of solving the problems of poverty, unemployment, and growth.
|North Pacific:||Baja California, Baja California Sur, and Sonora|
|North:||Coahuila, Chihuahua, Nuevo Le6n, and Tamaulipas|
|West Center:||Aguascalientes, Colima, Durango, Nayarit, and Sinaloa|
|Center:||State of Mexico, Morelos, Querétaro, and Tlaxcala|
|Center-Periphery:||Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Michoacin, Puebla, San Luis Potosá, Vera-|
|cruz, and Zacatecas|
|South:||Chiapas, Guerrero, and Oaxaca|
|Southeast:||Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, and Yucatán|