Former Chilean president and pre-candidate for this year’s election, Michelle Bachelet announced during her first campaign rally that if elected her first bill will be addressed to put an end to ‘education for profit’ and make schooling at all levels free and accessible to all.
“The first bill I will send to Congress is to end with education for profit and advance in making education free at all levels” promised the former president (2006/10), during a rally at a poor neighbourhood of Santiago.
Education has been the most controversial issue for Conservative president Sebastian Piñera, who despite a strong economy has seen his support plummet for upholding that education as any business is another “factor of production and must render a profit”. He has faced over two years of massive student and teachers’ street protests demanding an end to private universities and universal access.
Last week’s was Ms Bachelet first political rally since returning from New York where she worked for over two years as the first director of the UN Women recently created office.
However presidential hopeful Bachelet made her announcement without representatives from the Socialist and Democracy parties, which belonged to her ruling coalition and which are expected to proclaim her as candidate next 13 April.
President Piñera’s conservative coalition may be rock bottom in public opinion polls, but certain main groupings from the Concertación coalition that supported ex president Bachelet are in the same bag and there are fears their public exposure next to her could be damaging.
Even when all opinion polls have Ms Bachelet as the winner next November, she still has to compete with other hopefuls from the Concertación left wing coalition that is holding its primaries on June 30.
Bachelet stepped down from office in 2010 with the highest performance approval of any Chilean president in recent times, but that was not enough to ensure the Concertación coalition that has ruled the country since the return of democracy in 1990, another four year mandate that went to the conservative coalition of Piñera.
“I believe we are no longer in the time when us politicians from the pulpit offered a program for the country for the next four years and the people, the voters could only say ‘yes or no’”, said Bachelet indicating her intention of keeping the ‘bad boys’ from the coalition outside the stage. “Now we will elaborate the program together, in consultation with the grass-roots” she added.
Chile’s controversial education system was implanted in 1981 by then dictator General Pinochet and clearly favours a business approach to education (privately managed as companies) naturally excluding those whose parents can’t afford to pay.
Chile has the worse ratings in education performance and access of all OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries.
Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!
Chanta !!Apr 08th, 2013 - 01:22 am 0
Weren't there recently protests in Santiago concerning university education? Aren't there often protests concerning this issue in Chile?Apr 08th, 2013 - 02:09 am 0
And now here is a potential candidate saying, Oh yeah! If you vote for me, I'll give education to you all for free!
Is that much different from Hugo or CFK handing out cash to get votes?
Blatant electioneering. Am I wrong?
Chile cannot afford to have free education for all right now, those families that can afford it must pay. Otherwise it will put an unbearable strain on the budget.Apr 08th, 2013 - 02:57 am 0