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  • Student Protests led to the suspension of PSU in 67 exams venues

    Student Protests led to the suspension of PSU in 67 exams venues | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 January 2020

Barricades, school takeovers, and even the theft and burning of facsimiles were recorded in different locations in Chile.

The Department of Educational Evaluation, Measurement and Registration (Demre) of the University of Chile reported the suspension of the University Selection Test (PSU) in 64 schools in the country.

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In a statement published by Radio Bío Bío, the agency argued that the measure seeks to "safeguard the safety of applicants, application staff and materials.

"During this day of Monday, January 6, the application of the PSU was suspended, for various reasons, in 67 establishments that were exam venues. In view of this, DEMRE decided to suspend the rest of the day on Monday, as well as the application of the tests of this Tuesday, January 7, from 2020″, they add.

Press release: Chilean Universities' Rectors' Council on the suspension of History, Geography and Social Sciences Test, and the validity of #PSU2020 applied on January 6 and 7. 

The organization stressed that "it is relevant to emphasize that our objective is to guarantee the safety of all the applicants. To those who have been affected in any way, whether by shootings or other situations, we call upon you to be attentive to your email and to DEMRE's website".

Barricades, school takeovers, and even the theft and burning of facsimiles were recorded in different exam locations in Chile.

The Undersecretary of the Interior, Juan Francisco Galli, reported that 81 people have been arrested nationwide for disorders, damage and non-violent usurpation in the framework of the protests against the University Selection Test today.

He questioned the protesters, emphasizing that "this affects their own classmates, and their families who have not been able to take the exams in order to access higher education in peace.

He also noted that the preventive measures were being coordinated from the beginning, considering that this is the first phase of the process.

Previously, the sub-secretary of Higher Education, Juan Eduardo Vargas, reported that about 10% of the students have not been able to take the PSU after the Demre confirmed that there are 64 PSU exams locations that have suspended their functions.

"All possibilities will be given so that these students do not see their right to access higher education threatened," said the undersecretary, adding that Cruch and Demre will inform the mechanism by which this will be done.

Protesters argue that the current system only favours those within a higher socio-economic situation and discriminates a large majority of students who can't afford access to higher quality education. 

Camilo Sánchez, president of Chile's Communist Youth wing, said that "we support the protests against the PSU and point out that the responsibilities of having reached this point are not those of the students, but of those who have refused for years to listen to them."

And he stressed that "as long as we have so much inequality in school education, any mechanism that makes students compete for access to higher education will always be unfair."

Therefore, the leader said that the proposal is "universal access to higher education without discrimination, and at least adapt to universities to incorporate the baccalaureate in the first year of studies."

In addition, Sanchez called on parliamentarians to legislate so that this is the last PSU in history and said that "the talents are distributed equally in the population but not the wealth, and the PSU ends up being a reflection only of the latter."

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