Rodolfo Tuirán, academic and official in favor of the right to education
On Tuesday, September 3, 2019, at the request of Senator Josefina Vázquez Mota, the Mexican Senate observed a minute of silence in homage to Dr. Rodolfo Tuirán (Nicaragua 1955-Mexico, 2019), prominent academic and Mexican official “his only party was service and love for Mexico”, said Vázquez Mota in the Mexico Informa newspaper review.
Upon knowing of the academic’s demise, Ricardo Villanueva, rector of the Universidad de Guadalajara, proposed the creation of the Rodolfo Tuirán Chair of Higher Secondary Education to honor his career.
Mexican public personalities have remembered him through twitter, including former President Felipe Calderón, who recalled that 140 new public, free, technology-oriented universities were built during the management of Tuirán and Mexico began to graduate more than 100,000 engineers per year, according to the note in the Mexican newspaper Milenio.
The current executive secretary of the Sistema Nacional de Protección Integral a Niñas/os y Adolescentes de México (National System of Protection for Children and Adolescents of Mexico), Ricardo Bucio Mujica, also reminisced him through his twitter account: “a great public servant, prominent among many, a man who loved Mexico deeply. With a clear commitment to gender equality, education”.
Tiurán held a doctorate in Sociology by the University of Texas at Austin and he was also author or coordinator of 30 books and about 200 articles in specialized books and journals on socio-demographic topics. In July 2004 he won the National Demography Award. In the field of Federal Public Administration, he served as General Secretary of the National Population Council (from 1997 to 2002); Undersecretary of Urban Development and Land Management of the Ministry of Social Development (from 2002 to 2005); Undersecretary of Higher Education of the SEP (2006-2012); and undersecretary of Higher Secondary Education (2012-2018) of Mexico.
During his tenure at the Secretaría de Educación Pública SEP (Ministry of Public Education), he promoted actions and policies aimed at expanding educational opportunities (increased enrollment), improving HE funding, expanding opportunities for disadvantaged youth through scholarship programs , the professionalization of academic staff, promoting quality academic programs, improving the quality of programs in private institutions, and promoting the interconnection between educational institutions, among others, as indicated in his extensive resume. At this stage of his career he worked closely with the UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC), especially through the contribution of transformative ideas for the construction of the II Regional Conference on Higher Education (CRES 2008).
Tuirán became a change agent for higher education in Mexico, with an impact on the Region. He did it through his work as an academic, public servant, teacher and researcher. On the occasion of his departure, we share a message he addressed to the Mexican youth: “The investment you are making in order to train in the university field is the most extraordinary. There is no investment that has greater social and personal profitability than education, and you have to do it with deep conviction, and above all because of your love for your family and for Mexico. Higher education is the window of opportunity, it is the window of Mexico’s future”.