SANTIAGO – President Piñera announces a measure that helps 70% of the most vulnerable families of the Chile. Soon, the government aims to extend this policy to 90% of the most economically unprotected families.
President Piñera told CNN Chile that with this project from 2019 onwards the government will guarantee professional and technical education for free. More than 13.000 people can opt for a higher education as well as technical education. It represents a total of 70% of students able to study in both technical and higher education institutes. The measure could require up to CLP$ 310 billion in investments per year. Piñera claims that the government is helping not only students but also their families by reducing the cost of professionalization that allows the country to improve in education and thus, economic and social enhancement.
Piñera also remarked the importance of having a better education, because it takes the development of society to a new level. He argued that “The great mission of our country and also of our government in matter of education is aimed to accomplish four fundamental pillars. The first one is to improve the quality of our education on all levels, the second is to extend the range of pre-scholar education, the third is to strengthen our instruction system for workers, and the fourth is to maximize our professional and technical education system.”
Education minister Gerardo Valera said that this project is really positive and gives Chile a great chance to have more skilled professionals, who represent the power of the country and the future of the nation. He stressed the principal advantages of investing in this law referring especially to the technical aspect: “the importance of this is with the need for professionals in any context, for example when we go to the doctor and we need to take some medical examination, there must be technicians to help us, when chatting online there are communication technicians and so on, so they are the power that moves Chile and that is why we want to help them.”
Conversely, ex-minister of education and current dean of University Adolfo Ibañez (UAI) Harald Beyer said the policy of free higher education as a “mistake” since the budget for professionalization cannot depend just on public funding, because the government has to think about how the state will finance the measure. Likewise Beyer emphasized: “the aim of the UAI is to offer a high quality preparation and it has a cost, so gratuitous education as it is designed does not provide to this cost.”
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today.