Education in Chile

Education in Chile

Education in Chile is divided in preschool, primary school, secondary school, and technical or higher education (university).

According to the constitution, primary and secondary school are mandatory for all Chileans. The Chilean state provides a free public system of primary and secondary school education for those who cannot afford a private education.

Schools are either public or private. Public schools are funded by the government and managed by municipalities (local governments). Private schools can be either government subsidized or not.

Levels of education

The levels of education in Chile are:

*Pre-school: For children up to 5 years old, optional for 1 grade.

*Primary school, ("Enseñanza básica") for children from 5-13 years old, divided into 8 grades.

*Secondary school, ("Enseñanza media") for teenagers from 13-18 years old, divided into 4 grades.

*Secondary school is also divided into:
*#Scientific-humanities approach: From Tercero Medio (11th grade) in highschool, students can choose a major in either science (math, physics, chemistry, biology), or humanities (literature, history, sociology), which means they will get more lessons in the area of their choice.
*#Technical-Professional education: Students receive 'extra' education in the so-called 'technical' areas, such as electricity, mechanics, metal assembly, etc. This second type of education is more typical of public schools (Liceos), to give students from poorer areas a chance to work right away after completion of highschool, as a way to fund a possible higher education career later.şḤ

*University, a system divided in public or 'state' universities and a private system.

Mandatory right to education

Until recently, only primary school education was mandatory for Chileans. On May 7 2003, former president Ricardo Lagos, issued a law making high-school education also mandatory, giving the State responsibility for education of all Chileans under 18 years old.

Also, there is a law to guarantee full coverage of care and education to children from age 2 to 5 by the end of the current government of Michelle Bachelet.

The twelve years of mandatory, free education, make Chile a special case within Latin America.

In 1990, the LOCE act on education, passed by Pinochet's government, completed the dismantlement of public education (Superior Education had been privatized earlier on) Manuel Riesco, "Is Pinochet dead?", "New Left Review" n°47, September-October 2007 ( [ English] and [;pdflang=es Spanish] ) ] . According to senator Manuel Riesco:

"Overall, the impact of neoliberal policies has reduced the total proportion of students in both public and private institutions in relation to the entire population, from 30 per cent in 1974 down to 25 per cent in 1990, and up only to 27 per cent today. If falling birth rates have made it possible today to attain full coverage at primary and secondary levels, the country has fallen seriously behind at tertiary level, where coverage, although now growing, is still only 32 per cent of the age group. The figure is double this in neighbouring Argentina and Uruguay, and even higher in developed countries—South Korea attaining a record 98 per cent coverage. Significantly, tertiary education for the upper-income fifth of the Chilean population, many of whom study in the new private universities, also reaches above 70 per cent."

Admission to University

Students can choose between 25 state universities or private ones, which are increasingly growing in number. For admission to state universities, students must do a University Selection Test, called PSU, which consists of two mandatory 'basic subjects' test (math and literature), plus other specific exams (chemistry, physics, biology, universal history), depending on what the student wishes to study. The cumulative grade point average achieved during secondary school is also taken into account in the final admission score.

Currently exists a big gap between students coming from public schools and those coming from private schools. The results in PSU obtained from students coming from private schools are far higher than those coming from public ones. It is for this reason that it is difficult for lower class students coming from Liceos to study in Universities which require high entrance scores. Some lower class students, the most talented, achieve very high PSU scores and the government offers 100% tuition scholarships for these students, though, these cases are not much. For students that can't afford to pay Public or Private Universities, the government offers loans (i.e Crédito Corfo). Many students are not satisfied with the way these loans operates and react in different ways such as protesting or not assisting to school.

According to media and official statistics, in 2006 a total 241,390 students took the PSU test. [ [ Universidad de Chile ] ]

See also

*2006 student protests in Chile


External links

* [ Ministry of Education]
* [ EducarChile]

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