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News > Latin America

Chile Gov't Under Fire for Failing to Provide Free Education

  • People carry the Chilean flag during a rally to demand changes in the public state education system in Valparaiso, Chile, on Aug. 9, 2011.

    People carry the Chilean flag during a rally to demand changes in the public state education system in Valparaiso, Chile, on Aug. 9, 2011. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 April 2016
Opinion

The government's estimate of grant beneficiaries was divided by half, triggering the students' anger.

Chile's government is under fire after it updated the estimated number of students that will benefit from the education reform, which was initially branded as providing free access university for all.

“This demonstrates exactly what the Confech (student union) had analyzed,” said student leader Marta Maramala, President of Feusach. According to Maramala, the “about 120,000 to 130,000 students” who will be able to access free university education in 2016 thanks to a system of public grants, “is not what we had been promised.”

She condemned the government's “irresponsibility” for having given false expectations around the controversial reform, which has mobilized thousands of students in street protests for the past two years.

Gabriel Iturra, from student union Confech, warned that students will take to the streets “if President Michelle Bachelet (does) not hand out concrete answers by May 21.”

RELATEDChilean Students March as Education Reform Passed

The Education Minister had initially promised that about 250,000 of the country's most underpriviledged students will be able to go to university for free in 2016, but it lowered the estimate by half on Wednesday because of more general cuts in public spending.

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