Mexico - Commercial Guide
Education and Training

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2020-08-17

From education technology for school-age children to professional training for adults, U.S.-supplied education and training represent a best prospect industry sector in Mexico.

Overview

Mexico is the tenth-largest country of origin for students studying in the United States. In the 2018–2019 academic year, 15,468 Mexican students were enrolled in U.S. schools, primarily in undergraduate programs, contributing USD 633 million to the U.S. economy. Mexican students often choose to study in the United States due to the prestige of the American higher education system, as well as the strong ties and proximity between the countries.

Mexican Students in U.S. Colleges and Universities 2018–2019 Academic Year

Academic Level

Number of Students from Mexico

Undergraduate

8,802

Graduate

3,839

Other / Non-Degree

1,137

Optional Practical Training

1,690

Total

15,468

Source: IIE Open Doors 2019

Mexican private education institutions have prioritized international education, fostering student mobility and academic exchanges with institutions abroad, to become more competitive in the international market. A successful program launched in 2011 is 100,000 Strong in the Americas, an initiative created to foster region-wide prosperity through greater international student exchange. Within this program, Western Hemisphere governments collaborate with private sector and higher education institutions to increase academic exchange and student mobility, including opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds or historically underserved populations. As of October 2019, after 27 sets of competitions, the Innovation Fund has awarded 232 grants to teams of 477 higher education institutions in 25 countries and 49 U.S. States.  In five years, Mexico has become the leading country in this hemispheric-wide initiative to form partnerships with U.S. colleges and universities to create sustainable student exchange and training programs in both countries.  To date, 19 Mexican states and 24 U.S. states benefit from Innovation Fund partnerships.

Mexican higher education institutions actively participate in regional education consortia to increase their knowledge and collaboration with regional institutions and to develop mobility strategies to increase the exchange of students, faculty and collaborative programs. The most recent example of regional collaboration is the Hemispheric University Consortium (HUC) created in 2018  to facilitate collaborations in education and research to generate solutions to challenges in public health, climate change, sustainability, and innovation. The University of Miami serves as the coordinator of this unique consortium, comprised of 14 universities, developing problem-based research and educational programs with consortium members across each of their campuses.

The current COVID-19 pandemic is impacting student mobility making higher education institutions to change their dynamics implementing virtual recruitment strategies and more online collaboration with local institutions. We encourage U.S. higher education institutions to contact us for new updates.

Opportunities for community colleges and boarding schools are increasing, particularly among Mexican students looking for educational opportunities at a younger age or interested in two-year programs. Mexico’s higher education system offers different options for U.S. community colleges to develop collaborative programs and increase academic mobility with technical universities in different regions in Mexico.

U.S. institutions must be aware of the new taxation of the Digital Economy in Mexico that came into effect on June 1, 2020. Mexico incorporated a new chapter into its VAT law aimed to set rules for the rendering of the considered 'digital services' by foreign residents. Under the new taxation regime, digital services – including distance learning – that are performed through digital content or applications via internet or any other network, which are fundamentally automated, are subject to specific VAT rules (16% tax) whenever the receiver of the service is located in Mexico. It is still not clear if hybrid or blended formats are subject to these new rules, as there is no clear guidance or interpretation of the law. It is expected to receive an update of the regulations by the tax authority in the following months as virtual education is becoming the new norm. Please contact the U.S. Commercial Service for further updates.

Workforce and professional training are also provided by employers in Mexico. With an eye towards global competitiveness, employers and economic development organizations are interested in training opportunities for the Mexican workforce. Employers in Mexico seek training to improve their business processes, reduce costs, improve workforce effectiveness, innovate, and strengthen their relationship with clients. Customized training in information technologies, quality control, management, and language programs are in high demand. In addition to traditional training methods, Mexico is investing in technology and opening the market for on-line or blended courses.

Finally, as part of the Mexican education model, technology plays a key role in providing learning tools to students and fostering interactive experiences. The Mexican Government, through the Secretariat of Education and private educational institutions, have been investing in equipment and technology solutions such as software, applications, and digital content to provide students a more participative experience. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the education sector, mainly in the K-12 levels, as students continue their academic activities through digital channels. The Mexican Secretariat of Education launched the ‘Learn at Home’ (Aprende en Casa) program, a virtual project that allows students from public and private K-12 institutions to follow academic lessons either online or through a TV channel. The program is aimed at families who lack Internet access or do not have electronic devices for each family member. Over 500,000 teachers and parents received online training providing tools to support online learning for students throughout the pandemic. 

Higher education institutions in Mexico have evolved to educational models that incorporate innovative digital classrooms, laboratories (robotics, language), and digital libraries as part of their strategies to improve the teaching and student experience.

Leading Sub-Sectors

There are three key sub-sectors in the education sector:

  • Academic-related training in the United States is the largest sub-sector and can be divided into undergraduate, graduate, non-degree programs (including language proficiency), and practical training. There are niche opportunities for Mexican enrollment in high school level boarding/private schools.
  • Professional training services in Mexico represent significant opportunities for U.S. educational providers, which can include partnerships with educational institutions or local management companies
  • The education supplies and technologies sector offers strong opportunities for U.S. solutions providers, particularly in the areas of software, online learning, classroom or field education tools, and distance learning services.

Opportunities

To pursue these opportunities, we recommend to build relationship with education organizations, education agencies, and Mexican grant institutions. We see opportunities in smaller geographic regions in Mexico (outside of the major cities) where students are increasingly seeking quality education programs abroad.

Social media channels are also an effective recruitment tool to promote academic programs to Mexican students.

U.S. training companies have successfully partnered with Mexican institutions/universities to develop continuing education programs. However, training companies need to be flexible and sensitive to the specific characteristics of the Mexican market and typically need to work with a partner in country. The demand is for tailor-made programs conducted in Spanish.

U.S. technology suppliers should seek agreements with local distributors to increase Mexican sales.

Web Resources

Education USA

www.educationusa.state.gov

Mexican Secretariat of Public Education (SEP)

www.gob.mx/sep

National Association of Universities and Higher Learning Institutions

www.anuies.mx

U.S. Embassy education and English programs

mx.usembassy.gov/education-culture

COMEXUS–Fulbright-García Robles Scholarships

www.comexus.org.mx

Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration

www.conahec.org

100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund

www.100kstrongamericas.org

Peace Corps in Mexico

www.peacecorps.gov/mexico

Events

Contacts

For more information on the education and training sector in Mexico, please contact:

Martha Sanchez

Commercial Specialist, Education and Training

U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City

Tel: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5225

Martha.Sanchez@trade.gov