Founded in 1936, during the administration of President Lázaro Cárdenas and with the help of astronomer Luis Enrique Erro, former revolutionary Juan de Dios Bátiz Paredes and former education minister Narciso Bassols, the National Polytechnic Unviersity (IPN) was created to provide education to the most deprived social classes.
It is now one of the larges public universities in Mexico and among the top 20 universities in Latin America. It is also one of the world’s only vocational schools.
IPN’s main campus, named Unidad Profesional Adolfo López Mateos (or Zacatenco), is located north of Mexico City and spreads across 2.1km². There are also several research institutes and other facilities spread over 22 states.
Comprising 98 academic units, with 293 courses of study, 78 technical career programmes, 80 undergraduate and 135 postgraduate programmes.
It is highly selective in its admission policy and relies on entrance examinations and past academic records. Between 20-30 per cent of those who apply are accepted to study.
The institute operates Canal Once, the oldest public broadcast service in Latin America, which covers cultural, scientific, information and entertainment programming, foreign shows and classic, rare and independent films from all over the world.
Known for their impressive sports offering, students at IPN can play on any of the 26 varsity teams: for archery, American football, athletics, baseball, bowling, boxing, gymnastics, handball, judo, kendo, rowing, swimming, volleyball, wrestling and many more. There is a fierce rivalry between teams from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, especially with the football team, the ‘Pumas Dorados’ (the Golden Pumas).
Notable alumni include Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico (1994-2000).