In the framework of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Ministry of Public Education (SEP), the State Institute of Public Education of Oaxaca (IEEPO) recognized the valuable legacy of José Vasconcelos Calderón, a native of Oaxaca who was the first head of this national institution.
Vasconcelos Calderón was born in the city of Oaxaca in 1882 and was considered in his time one of Mexico's greatest educators. He was the driving force behind the creation of numerous educational centers at the rural and urban levels.
"He sought to unify the educational systems between different Latin American countries and Mexico. He had an integrating vision of education that led him to consider it as the greatest fundamental right of people," said the IEEPCO in a statement.
Before his arrival at the SEP, Vasconcelos Calderón was appointed rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) by President Adolfo de la Huerta in June 1920. According to his ideals, this institution should teach and prepare a generation of humanists who would collaborate with society.
It was he who proposed to the University Council of the University of Mexico the logo that UNAM still bears today, as well as the motto that has accompanied it ever since: "Por mi Raza Hablará el Espíritu" (The Spirit Will Speak for My Race).
On October 12, 1921, he became head of the nascent Secretariat of Public Education (SEP), which he directed from 1921 to 1924; there he organized this agency into three departments: School, Fine Arts and Libraries and Archives, he also promoted popular education, started the distribution of school breakfasts and promoted mural painting.
In this regard, the general director of IEEPO, Francisco Ángel Villarreal, invited students, teachers, parents and society in general to "revaluate the most significant contributions of the philosopher, lawyer, educator and politician, promoter of great modifications, creator of libraries and collections so that literature and knowledge would be available to all citizens".