The Mexican Secretariat of Public Education (in Spanish Secretaría de Educación Pública, SEP) is a federal government authority with Cabinet representation and responsibility for overseeing the development and implementation of national educational policy and school standards in Mexico. The Secretariat has several buildings distributed all over the country but its main offices, initially confined to the Old Dominican Convent of the Holy Incarnation in the oldest borough of Mexico City, have extended to the House of the Marqués de Villamayor, (also known as the Casa de los adelantados de Nueva Galicia, built in 1530), the Old House of don Cristóbal de Oñate, a three-times Governor and General Captain of New Galicia (also built in 1530) and the Old Royal Customs House (built in 1730-31). Some of the buildings were decorated with mural paintings by Diego Rivera and other notable exponents of the Mexican muralist movement of the 20th century David Alfaro Siqueiros, Raul Anguiano, Manuel Felguerez.
The Secretariat has the following responsibilities:
- Ensuring all requirements related to preschool, primary, secondary, technical and normal education (i.e., teacher education) as established by the Constitution of Mexico are observed and completed, and to prescribe the norms to which the incorporation of particular schools in the national educational system should adjust.
- Exercising supervision and vigilance that proceeds in the seminaries that impart education in the Republic, conform to Article 3 of the Constitution.
- To systematically organize, administer and enrich the general or specialized libraries that are sustained by the Secretariat or that form part of its dependencies.
- To promote the creation of institutes of scientific and technical research and the establishment of laboratories, observatories, planetariums and also centers that are required for the development of primary, secondary, moral, technical and superior education; to orient, in coordination with the appropriate dependencies of the Federal Government and with the public and private entities, the development of scientific and technological research.
- To confer scholarships so that students of Mexican nationality can do research or complete foreign study programs.
- To re-validate studies and titles, and to concede authorization for the exercise of the capacities that they accredit.
- To formulate the catalog of national historic patrimony.
- To organize, sustain, and administer historic, archaeological and artistic museums, painting galleries and art galleries, to the effect of preserving the integrity, the maintenance and conservation of historic and artistic treasures of the cultural patrimony of the country.
- To conserve, protect and maintain archeological, historical, and artistic monuments that conform the cultural patrimony of the nation, attending the legal dispositions in these matters.
- To orient the artistic, cultural, recreational and sport-related activities that are realized by the federal public sector.
- To maintain a National Data Base of the works protected by copyright and the trademarks through disconcerted institutes.