UK Mexico strengthen ties through new education agreement

13 November 2014

Over 150,000 students will be able to study or work in Mexico or the UK thanks to a new agreement to build academic accreditation, signed last Monday in the National Palace in Mexico City.

The agreement, signed by the UK and Mexican governments in the presence of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, means for the first time Mexico and the UK will jointly recognise and accredit academic studies in each country. 

This will enable up to 170,000 students to use their qualifications in either country to extend their studies, conduct research or take up graduate level employment.

It will also enable qualified scientists, technicians and managers to work across both countries to support the skills gaps in both countries in sectors such as Energy, Health and Environment

The British Council will support a joint UK and Mexico government level commission to build this agreement; through which universities across both countries will be able to develop new joint awards, offer new scholarships and placements, and strengthen their quality assurance systems.

John Bramwell, British Council Director of Education in the Americas, said “This agreement is the first vital step to opening the door so that by the end of 2015, highly skilled people can get their qualifications properly accepted in both countries. For example, the Energy industry is deregulating in Mexico, leaving a skills gap that UK qualified graduates and technicians could fill – but at present cannot. And the UK is not able to take qualified and experienced Mexican graduates, technicians and managers into UK employment as their awards are not recognised here.

“This agreement starts the process of releasing these barriers, and unlocks the door to freedom of employment, advanced studies and mobility between the two countries that has up to now been prohibited by law. It’s a huge opportunity for both countries and will create huge benefits.” Bramwell added.

This initiative leads on from a British Council organised workshop in August 2014, in which UK NARIC presented the UK approach to international qualification recognition and there were early discussions between Mexico and the UK on the scope of a potential recognition agreement.

Ambassador Socorro Rovirosa, Director of International Relations at the Ministry of Public Education, said "For the Ministry of Public Education, the signing of this letter of intent represents a very important step to consolidate the historical cooperation relationship between Mexico and the UK. I am completely sure that the signing of an agreement on mutual recognition of awards will increase substantially the academic mobility which will strengthen the knowledge and labour exchange, as well as the economic development of both countries."

Provost of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico’s Premier University, Eduardo Barzana, said "The agreement being developed by the British Council for the Mexican and British Governments is vital for the internationalisation of our universities. It will enable UNAM and other universities to pursue our objectives of establishing a presence in the UK as well as supporting mobility and progression for our very best innovators and scientists.”

For the Mutual Accreditation signing, the signatories and dignitaries were:

Signatory: Duncan Taylor, HMA British Ambassador to Mexico 

Witness: His Royal Highness Prince of Wales

Signatory: Emilio Chuayfett, Minster of Education, Mexico

Witness: Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico