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Relief for Bachelet: Chilean Congress passes ambitious education reform

Wednesday, January 28th 2015 - 07:47 UTC
Full article 14 comments
“We need good teachers with good salaries, with decent working conditions. We also need for schools to go back to the state” said Bachelet “We need good teachers with good salaries, with decent working conditions. We also need for schools to go back to the state” said Bachelet
Education minister Nicolas Eyzaguirre underlined that “Today we've recovered Chile's historic tradition in education and the best practices in the world” Education minister Nicolas Eyzaguirre underlined that “Today we've recovered Chile's historic tradition in education and the best practices in the world”

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday her government was preparing the second phase of an ambitious education reform, hours after Congress approved the first set of changes.

 After eight months of intense debate, the Lower House late on Monday approved the first part of the multi-pronged reform, which includes an end to profits at state-subsidized schools and eliminates their selective entrance policies.

The measure was sent to Bachelet to be signed into law.

“What we've put an end to here is a set of illegitimate bases put in place during the dictatorship, behind the nation's back, and today we've recovered Chile's historic tradition and the best practices in the world,” said Education Minister Nicolas Eyzaguirre.

The government will now look to bolster teacher pay and conditions, bring public schools, now managed and financed by townships, under national jurisdiction, and make university education free, Bachelet said.

Details on the next phase of the reform are scant.

“We need good teachers with good salaries, with decent working conditions. We also need for schools to go back to the state ... and of course we think it's of the utmost importance that nobody is left out of the university,” she said.

Months of massive student protests, demanding major changes to an education system that was privatized under then-dictator General Augusto Pinochet, helped shape the 2013 electoral campaign and propel Bachelet into power.

She took office in March for her second non-consecutive term promising to upend some of the long-lasting legacies of Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship and to bridge Chile's wide income inequality gap.

Bachelet championed a recently approved tax overhaul that will boost the state's coffers by 8.3 billion dollars and help pay for the education changes. She also sent Congress a bill that seeks to balance labor relations by bolstering unions and workers' rights.

Categories: Politics, Chile.

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  • Chicureo

    The problem is that the tax overhaul to increase revenues for the state has caused new investment to significantly drop and economic growth has fallen far behind original estimates.

    We needed educational reforms, but with a dramatic drop in copper prices, it will be difficult to pay for.

    Jan 28th, 2015 - 02:40 pm 0
  • 313toBioBio

    Copper fell like a rock and Argentina and Brazil are having currency crises....Argentina closer to a violent conflict with each passing day. In santiago the finance guys I met were long dollar and short chilean shares before the election. I think a turnaround would be after a bank crisis. Theres an impending insolvency. Argentina is actually the worst possible case scenario playing out. The breakdown in institutions is centered around a religious divide.

    Jan 28th, 2015 - 05:41 pm 0
  • Think

    Think, as Mr.Eyzaguirre, thinks that Chile has finally recovered its historic tradition in education and renewed it with some of the World's best practices...
    As a South American and close neighbour, Think is happy for his Chile lindo...

    Fuerza Mami!

    Jan 28th, 2015 - 08:34 pm 0
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