After Mexico became independent in 1821, the establishment of the public educational system did not proceed smoothly due to political strife within the country and conflicts with foreign countries. In the second half of the 19th century when the Porfirio Díaz administration established an autocracy, the system of public education gradually improved. After the revolution occurred in 1910, school education began to spread even more quickly all over the country in the 1920's and 1930's.
For the revolutionary government, the expansion of public education into rural areas, where many indigenous peoples lived, was one of the most important policies in order to integrate the nation. Therefore, the government had to secure capable teachers who would serve in the rural areas. However, it was very difficult to set up the system rapidly. The teachers who graduated from normal schools did not want to work in the hard conditions of rural areas. Furthermore, the teachers trained in urban areas were not necessarily competent to educate the peasantry, because they did not have a thorough understanding of the local residents' needs.
The education in rural areas, which was different from the education in urban areas, required extensive knowledge and skills to improve the local residents' living conditions. For example, in addition to providing basic education for children, teachers were expected to instruct about agriculture, small industries adequate to rural areas, and medical treatment. It was necessary to design special education in rural areas, namely "educación rural (rural education)", and to train a new professional "maestro rural (rural teacher)" who would be able to lead that education. The government started with the establishment of normal schools for the purpose of training rural teachers in the first half of the 1920's, such as rural normal schools (escuela normal rural), and regional normal schools (escuela normal regional).
This paper explains the history of the rural teacher training system in the 1920's and 1930's, and analyzes how the system affected the relation among teachers and rural societies at that time.