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Mexico’s new school textbooks are causing an uproar between leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and opponents who have criticized them as politicized and rife with factual error, a dispute that comes as Mexican students returned to class on Monday, the Financial Times reported.

The controversy centers on new school textbooks published less than a month before the new school year was to start. Government officials have promoted the new material, saying it aims to provide “decolonial” perspectives, as well as teach honesty, respect, and social justice.

However, critics countered that the books sponsor communism and homosexuality, as well as contain many factual errors, such as the wrong date of birth for Benito Juarez, Mexico’s first Indigenous president.

The criticism also included accusations of age-inappropriate content and political bias, such as the assertion that “hope was the soul of the campaign” that elected López Obrador in 2018, according to Agence France-Presse.

A group of Indigenous parents in the southern state of Chiapas burned some books in protest, while thousands of people in the opposition-governed central state of Aguascalientes demonstrated against what they called “Marxist ideologies” spread by the new texts.

Meanwhile, some conservative groups have taken the matter to Mexico’s Supreme Court, which suspended the distribution of the books in two northern states. At the same time, governors in opposition-run states said they will refuse to distribute the books.

Despite granting two injunctions, the country’s top court will still have to review the merits of the case.

López Obrador has criticized the burnings as “medieval” and labeled the controversy as “politicking” stirred up by conservative opponents.

The school textbook issue erupted less than a year before Mexicans hold general elections, scheduled for next June.

Analysts said the curriculum controversy has arisen as Mexico continues to grapple with education issues following the pandemic.

The country experienced one of the world’s longest school closures during the coronavirus pandemic and has had no standardized teacher evaluations since a 2019 reform, according to the FT.

Some teachers complained that there has been little training in the new pedagogical approach, cautioning that the situation will force educators to develop their own teaching methods and change their timetables to accommodate projects.

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