Tag Archives: Chile

Education reform in Chile

Is the government really putting an end to private education in Chile? A recent article in Xinhua.net (which was also picked up by Shanghai Daily) makes it seem so. On April 20th, Diane Ravitch noticed the article and posted it on her blog using the headline: BREAKING NEWS. However, later that same day, Ravitch posted two more posts: “More on Chile’s education reforms,” and “Chile: Dismantling the most pro-market education system in the world.” In each of these posts, Ravitch calls upon Mario Waissbluth, President of Educación 2020 Foundation (a Chilean citizen’s movement founded in 2008, which put forth reform proposals) for clarification.

Dr. Mario Waissbluth

Dr. Mario Waissbluth

I also wrote to Professor Waissbluth for more information and he made it clear that Chile was NOT actually ending private education, as Xinhua.net and  Shanghai Daily made it seem. Waissbluth pointed me to his clarifying post, in which he explains that the educational system in Chile is far too complex for such a simple solution. He details the cultural hurdles that Chile must overcome to address what has become, in his words, “a true apartheid.” He also explains what will be changing in Chile: 

Education Minister, Mr. Nicolás Eyzaguirre (with a powerful political and financial experience and profile) has announced the first wave of legislation, to be sent to Congress in May, whose details are now being drafted. They include, amongst other things, the radical ending of academic selection and skimming, the gradual elimination of cost-sharing (to reduce social skimming), the phasing out of 3,500 for-profit schools (to be converted into non-profits), the radical pruning of the standardized testing system, the strengthening and expansion of the public network of schools (so that they can compete in a better way with the charters) and a major reform to the teaching profession, from its training (completely unregulated so far), to improving salaries and working conditions.

While it is not an overall end to private education, these changes do seem – to use a word Waissbluth employs in the quote above – somewhat radical. What seems even more striking, to an outside observer, is the fact that these changes have come about after the student protests that came to be known as the “Chilean Winter” of 2011-2013.

Valentina Quiroga

Valentina Quiroga

It will be interesting to understand better the link between these protests and the reforms. For example, in February Valentina Quiroga (one of the student leaders involved with the protests) was appointed undersecretary of education.

It is also interesting to note that coverage of Chile’s education reforms has been somewhat limited, and information in English-language news sources is not easy to find. We will continue to pay close attention to the evolving situation in Chile and will follow-up with another post in the coming weeks.

Deirdre Faughey

For more information:

Reforma educacional: las claves del proceso que busca poner fin a la selección en los colegios

Chile: Students set to win free higher education

Chile’s Bachelet to unveil $8bn tax hike to fund education boost

Chile: Bachelet elected, social reforms begin

Chile

Chile must attract the best to the teaching profession

Marcela Andrés, Latercera (December 9, 2012)

*link in Spanish

Andreas Schleicher (Google Images)

Andreas Schleicher (Google Images)

Andreas Schleicher, Deputy Director for Education and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD’s Secretary-General, has declared that Chile should embark on a campaign to obtain a better education system. He assured that compared to other Latin American countries, Chile has made gains according to PISA results; however, compared to economically developed countries, Chile presents much lower scores, and much higher disparities. Social context, such as public versus private education, has an impact on academic performance that is more significant than in many other countries.

Schleicher proposed measures to avoid the conditioning of the academic future of students according to social class. Additionally, Schleicher declared that Chile must attract the best to the teaching profession and place them in schools most in need of improvement to lessen current disparities.

Schleicher also professed modifications to the PISA test. He stated that in 2009, many students used computers and PISA assessed their ability to read digitally. In 2015, they will be evaluated on their ability to solve problems collaboratively and in  context.

For more information:

Chile should not be satisfied with being the best of the second division (link in Spanish)

 

Chile

Chile’s English Teachers To Be Put To The Test
Agostini, M.  The Santiago Times (11 July 2012)

The Chilean government has revealed a new initiative that aims to improve English education in Chile by testing English teachers’ competency.  The test, designed by Cambridge University, will determine the teachers’ knowledge of the English language. It will be required of roughly half the teaching population (approximately 5,000 teachers) in public schools throughout the country, and, as Education Minister Harald Beyer said, “Those who obtain the highest levels…will be able to become certified with an additional test.”