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The most promising prospect for Hewlett would be in helping to build Mexico’s institutional capabilities to develop a broader understanding and public transparency of the Mexican education system and provide empirically supported feedback on existing programs and policies. The Foundation could make gradual, but cumulative, investments, and develop relationships with key actors. Should the Foundation choose to get involved in building Mexico’s institutional capabilities for policy and evaluative research, it can do so by engaging in one or more of the following activities: (1) helping establish a policy research center, (2) supporting public and academic forums on specific issues, (3) helping develop centralized access to education research and data, (4) funding systemwide descriptive studies, and (5) funding objective evaluations of ongoing school reform initiatives. The project found few immediate programmatic opportunities for the Hewlett Foundation at the national or the state level. At the national level, the Mexican government is trying to address the key identified namely low enrollment and low student-achievement. For the Foundation to have any real impact at this level, it would have to develop trusting relationships with the Ministry of Education and the Teachers’ Union and make large and possibly risky investments. At the state level, programmatic initiatives tend to be opportunistic and short-lived and would impose similar burdens on the Foundation.

The research described in this report was sponsored by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and was conducted within RAND Education.

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