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Jul 13, 7:38 PM EDT

Mexico agrees to revise teacher evaluation


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MEXICO CITY (AP) -- The Mexican government will undertake a revision of the evaluation exam given to all teachers, which has been a focal point of protests, officials said Wednesday.

Education Secretary Aurelio Nuno announced the agreement on the same day that government officials were to hold their first working group meeting with representatives of the teachers. He said officials together with the national teachers union will make changes that better recognize the country's regional differences.

Mexico approved sweeping educational reforms in 2013, but the evaluation has been criticized by thousands of teachers who say it infringes on their labor rights. Those who do not take the exam lose their jobs. It aimed to ensure that teachers are hired based on qualifications rather than other criteria more influenced by the union.

Nuno emphasized that the move was not a concession to some teachers' demands that the constitutional reforms be scrapped.

"What we're recognizing here is that the public policies, the implementation of the reform, has a wide margin for corrections, to be able to improve it," Nuno said. The goal will be to make it "much more relevant and in line with the sociocultural conditions of each region of the country and each state."

The most radical element of the teachers' union has been behind more than a month of highway blockades and other demonstrations especially in several southern states. Last month, a demonstration turned deadly when authorities moved to open a blockaded highway in Nochixtlan in Oaxaca.

At least eight people were killed in the clash and more than 100 wounded. The blockades have continued.

It was not immediately clear if that radical wing, the National Coordinator of Education Workers, accepted the agreement made by the larger umbrella union.

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