SANTIAGO – Stress and anxiety for hundreds of thousands of Chilean high school students. The national Prueba de Selección Universitaria (PSU) has started with exams on Language and Science. The tests are a key factor in applying for universities in Chile.
Starting with Language, and later Science today, students are taking their first step towards higher education. More than 290,000 students, currently in their last year at school, are participating. On Tuesday, the tests will be in Mathematics and History.
The results will come in one day after Christmas. Results that will give both students and their parents sleepless nights. The PSU has proven to be a key factor in getting into a high-rated university in Chile.
A bad result will decrease chances of getting accepted, unless a student has the luck of having the financial resources to get into any university in the country.
Critics on the PSU system: “A segregation mechanism”
For a while, criticisms regarding the PSU abounded, as it has such a heavy influence on the future of a student. Those suffering from anxiety problems or stress, who could fail the test, could have lower results influencing their possibilities when applying at universities.
Experts say the PSU is in no way an honest representation of the skillset of a student, as it is nothing more than a snapshot.
Also, students who have access to private schools often receive education and thus PSU-preparation of higher quality than those in the public sector. This results in an increasing inequality gap, as students with better resources have an advantage over the students who don´t.
A decent PSU result ensures these “fortunated” students to have better chances of getting into top universities. The national organization for teachers called the PSU earlier a “segregation mechanism”.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.