Students’ Day, Día del Estudiante

May 23 – Students’ Day – Día del Estudiante

In Mexico Día del Estudiante has particularly important roots for education and freedom from political interference especially at the college and university level.

Students study group with teacher.   Photo:  monkeybusinessimages.

Students’ study group with teacher. Photo: / monkeybusinessimages.

In 1929 students of the now National Autonomous University of Mexico, went on strike for University Autonomy. They were forced to do this because the politicians at the federal level were using education as a political football for their own gains at the polls. There was a federal election that year and the university and education were being used to further the election of various candidates and political perspectives. The federal government had direct control over the university’s policies and curriculum.

In July 1929 President Emilio Portes Gil recognized the autonomy of education and declared May 23 National Student Day and Plaza de Santo Domingo in Mexico City was called Plaza 23 de Mayo or Plaza of the Student. The university rector, not the Secretary of Education, became the final authority for the university.