Deportations increase number of students in Tijuana

A long process of readaptation

by EFE Agency

January 26 2013

TIJUANA. - Deportations, unemployment or expired visas have contribute to increasing numbers of children who began their studies in the U.S., to have to continue them in the border cities of Mexico and adapt quickly to another school, another language and another country.

In 1996 Mexican authorities launched the Binational Migrant Education Program (Probem), which aims to aid students of Mexican parents who began their studies in another country and support their readaptation process.

Just in Baja California alone there are about 1,800 students enrolled in this project, of which about 800 are in Tijuana, and over 90% of them come from the U.S.

The statewide coordinator of Probem, Yara Amparo Lopez, explained in an interview with Efe that the change in the education system for these students is often "difficult" because of how different the curriculums are in both countries.

The program which is active in eleven schools in Baja California, according to the coordinator, it puts the emphasis on improving three aspects: The relationship between student and teacher, the school's internal organization and evaluation system.

However, the lack of Spanish skills is the main barrier these students encounter, whom in most cases learn to master it in the first school year.

"We currently don’t have a strategy or teachers right now that will instruct the students on how to learn Spanish," so "students usually learn the language out of necessity.” said the director.

“What is provided is the training for teachers to know how to give the necessary attention to these students, whose number has increased considerably in the Tijuana area since 2008, following the increase in deportations and worsening U.S. economy.” she added.

In some cases when parents are deported or lose their job, they also bring their children, even if they are U.S. citizens.