With the country’s presidential runoff election on Dec. 19, Chile Today takes a look at what the candidates have to offer on the most urgent topics. We analyze the latest versions of their presidential programs and compare their proposals. Today Part III: Education.
When it comes to educational policies, presidential hopefuls José Antonio Kast and Gabriel Boric seem to be on the same page, placing an emphasis on diversity and inclusivity. Both see a need to change the national curriculum, which both claim is discriminatory.. Both of their programs also identify indigenous peoples and rural schools as being marginalized by the current system.
José Antonio Kast
Kast’s program strives for the reduction in discrimination against those who are home-schooled and those receiving bursaries and scholarships. Under a Kast administration, educational institutions would receive greater autonomy over the curricula they choose to implement. The Republican candidate proposes that increased autonomy will help eliminate the discrimination faced by parents who opt for a differing curriculum.
As president, he would also promote universal daycare and provide mandatory kindergarten education. In addition, Kast hopes to improve existing infrastructure so that educational spaces, including playgrounds, also double up as public spaces when school is not in session. These types of inclusive spaces are already seen in various countries around the world.
Under a Kast administration, those over 26, often “excluded by the educational system,” would receive additional educational support to better prepare them for the working world. While Kast also hopes to improve the current adult-learning systems, his program remains vague on the details.
According to his program, the right-wing candidate would also introduce “Leadership Schools” that would promote the education and training of people with disabilities for futures in politics. These particular schools will offer practice and theory courses with the current objective being limited so far to improving the visibility of young people with disabilities in public posts.
Also vying for an inclusive education system, Boric would offer a new “flexible” curriculum system which will include the reformation of institutions and bodies in charge of the current model. He will create a “comprehensive and creative” system that encourages public participation.
The former student leaders’ plan hopes to promote better territorial and cultural diversity and bring awareness to emerging issues worldwide. Gender studies, multiculturalism, and environmental studies are among such issues that would be brought into the new curriculum. Workshops for subjects like arts and sports will also be introduced in the new design.
Under a Boric administration, the national evaluation system would be scrapped in favor of standardized testing. Vocational studies will also be encouraged with pupils choosing this academic route not having their learning outcomes affected.
The Apruebo Dignidad representative has also opted for the de-privatization of the sector, offering citizens “the right to a good education.” He will introduce a new public education department and reform local education services with the goal of expanding public education. A public education development fund will also be created to finance the new services, but in the meantime the existing fund will be extended to 2025 until the installation of the new fund.
Emmanuela is an International Relations and Modern Languages student from the Univeristy of East Anglia. Human Rights is of key interest to her as are culture, politics and sports.