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Bachelet pledges to make Chilean education free and accessible at all levels

Monday, April 8th 2013 - 00:49 UTC
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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. Read full article


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  • Ndaxi

    Chanta !!

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 01:22 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • bushpilot

    Weren't there recently protests in Santiago concerning university education? Aren't there often protests concerning this issue in Chile?

    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?

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 02:09 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • The Chilean perspective

    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 - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Chicureo

    I voted for Piñera. Actually Chile needs to make major reforms and allocate a substantial increase to in funding to its educational system in k thru 12. We need also to reform the private university system that is producing way too many design, journalism, architecture and law graduates, that only a small percentage will ever find employment in their chosen majors.
    Piñera's management of education has been no different than what was Bachelet's or Lagos's. 
    Chile needs also to spend more money on public health care as well. Let's not forget about Dr. Bachelet's Potemkin medical clinics... I feel the current public opinion polls reflect the current sentiment, but frankly her past performance was very disappointing as many of her promises were never kept.  Also, many forget that the brainchild of HidroAysén was her government's coalition. 
    Chile can afford to spend more on its social programs, the money will come from royalties.

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 04:03 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GeoffWard2

    No such thing as 'free education', as well she knows.

    What she is implicitly saying is:
    ”if you want to eliminate private education in Chile, I will do it for you (private schools, international schools, language centres, etc, etc)
    ... but it will need millions of voters to join those being taxed,
    and those already taxed will need to pay much higher taxes.”

    This will, of course, massively depress the domestic economy and the GDP as there will be much less available money in circulation through Chilean commerce and industry.

    In the long run it may be good to have more education in the wider Chilean population,
    but rejecting the private players in the education business is a bit like saying that only the government can drill for gas and oil.

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 11:29 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • pgerman

    In Argentina a free law of free and secular education (Ley 1420) was passed during the administration of President J. A. Roca (who is today wrongly accused of genocide) on July 8, 1884.
    He, and his Ministers, had to face the anger and attacks of highest authorities of the Argentine Catholic Church who were deported and expelled from the country.

    With this law of clear Masonic inspiration Argentina was one of the countries with the highest level of social mobility and education in Latin America for decades.

    Whith the the coming to power of nationalist, fascist and Catholic projects the education were removed from the priorities of the Governments leaving it to its fate. This is quite a reasoning and logical attitude from them since for a fascist leader it is easier to “carry ignorante people from their noses” that to cheat educated ones.
    This is Peronism at its best expression. This is Peronism 100% !!!

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 01:00 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Ndaxi

    #2're right.
    I agree with all of you, the problem is how to convince all the people who don't understand just a bit of economy or how to handle an administration that she (or they) is giving just a cake to bite.....but nothing else.....

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 01:07 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Condorito

    @2 Yes it is blatant electioneering, as post 1 says “chanta”!

    @3 I agree.
    Not only that, but it is not necessarily desirable. There is no such thing as free education. The private system, provided it is regulated properly, can deliver resources effectively where they are needed and contribute to increasing standards.

    There was a good piece by Hernan Buchi in the Mercurio yesterday, saying, look at the mess they made of TranSantiago, if they do this to education we are in real trouble!

    We definitely do need some reforms: fewer majors in Public Relations and Surf Management and more skilled technicians.

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 01:19 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • pgerman

    Dear Condorito,

    I disagree with you. Most (I would say allof them) of the deleloped countries (all of the countries with the highest education level in the world) had implemented free education. At least at the basic levels (primary and secondary educacion). I don't see any other way of increasing the education level of all the population.

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 01:40 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Stevie

    I agree with you but education isn't free in most places. It's paid for by taxation.

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 01:52 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • pgerman

    Of course, free doesn't mean that it doesn't cost money. It costs plenty of resources but it is paid by the citizens by taxation and is one of the best investments for countries.

    “Free” means that you are not directly charged by attending school.

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 01:56 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Condorito

    Dear pgerman,
    What you say is true but it doesn't mean it is the only way. Many of those developed countries are no living with the consequences of spending too much on services like education. There was a recent study (I can't remember who by right now) that showed there wasn't a clear link between government spending on education and a country's performance in education. One of the conclusions was that parental involvement in schools was a more important factor. So it is not all about money to start with.

    However looking at the money and the Chilean case: 25 years ago almost no one from the poorest 20% went to university. Today as many students from the poorest 20% get a university education as did students from the richest 20% 25 years ago. This has been achieved by the proliferation of private institutes.

    If the government has the budget to spend more on education I would like to see it done through “becas” based on achievement. This motivates the students and allocated the funding to the institutes that are achieving the best results. This is also a sustainable measure. The number of becas available can be set each year depending on funds available in the budget.

    We don't always need to do what the developed countries have done before, we need to learn from their mistakes too.

    PS: Did you notice that for today only your provocative comment “who is today wrongly accused of genocide” has been ignored ;)

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 02:47 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • pgerman

    HA HA HA !!!..your comment regarding that none refuted my defense of J A Roca is making me laugh. But it is true, and mine is quite an argument. Genocidal dicatators do not educate people, they simply use them to their own advantage. But, what you say is true. Nobody answered it. It must have been because there not any Argentine of La Campora interested in this article.

    What you mentioned about different options is right. There are many ways of funding education but, as far as I know, the most well educated countries have a system based on mandatory, secular and free education. At least during basic levels. I don't know exaclty the Chilean systems but I know that there have been plenty of complains there about it.
    What I know is that the Argentine systme was very usefull to increase pleople's education level during plenty of decades mainly when education was among the most importan targets of Governments. Basically if you don't invest money nothing works. Not any system works.
    Nowadays, nothing works in Argentina. Not onle the education system, the sanitary system doesn't work, the publec transport system doesn't work, the the fight against crime doesn't work...the country doesn't work !!! the issue is not the system chosen. It the people who rule the country.

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 03:05 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Simon68

    It is wrong to talk about FREE education, there is no such thing. What we should be talking about is “universal access” to education at all levels.

    The best way to achieve this is through scholarships to those deserving of them, whatever their social position. Such scholarships should be supported financially by the companies and corporations that will eventually benefit from the graduates of the educational system.

    This seems to me the most democratic way to achieve universal access to education.

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 03:07 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • pgerman

    Simon, this is applicable at high levels (university) but it's not applicable in basic levels such as primary or secondary ones. You cannot leave a kid, or a youth, out of the system because his/her marks are not good enought.
    Having people with the basic education is mandatory if you want to develop a country.
    Don't forget that, in developing countries, charging people for the education at basic levels would leave them out of the educationl system in most of the cases

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 03:26 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • jakesnake

    My wife came from the absolute bottom of the socio-economic ladder in Chile. She always got 7's and had becas that paid for the majority of her education. She didn't go to Univ de Santiago or Chile, but she did go to IPLACEX, which seemed to be a halfway decent institute. Here's the deal...she paid next to nothing for it because of her consistent 7's. Her younger sisters did the same thing. They paid a little, but not much. This is an example of 3 women from poverty who were able to get college educations through becas.

    The problem is that the culture of laziness among the people living in las poblas is off the charts. Yes, some of them work their asses off and are just good, hard-working people. But, there are many, many of them who are in their 20's, 30's, and 40's who never left their parents' houses and don't work and love to complain about “los cuicos”. And, they make up quite a significant percentage of the Chilean population. How Chile deals with changing that cultural problem is what I think is the biggest challenge for Chile.

    Apr 09th, 2013 - 01:18 am - Link - Report abuse 0

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