Teaching is the profession that inspires the highest level of trust and confidence in Chile. That’s according to the findings of a national survey conducted in December, 2012, by Centro de Estudios de la Realidad Contemporánea, which was reported by EI’s affiliate Colegio de Profesores de Chile (CPC).
Teachers received a confidence rating of 70 per cent, up 10 per cent since May, 2011. Doctors were ranked in second place. This finding shows that education is a top priority for Chilean people.
Strong student movementAnother recent survey revealed that the student movement inspires far more confidence than the government administration. This study, the Public Confidence Index, was conducted in January by consulting firm Asia Marketing among young Chileans aged 18-34.
In the study, students received a confidence rating of 52 per cent, compared to 34 per cent for the Chilean authorities.
Dialogue about teaching “The good results reflect support by citizens who show confidence that we can be part of the solution, and not the problem, as the authorities seem to believe,” said CPC President and member of the EI Executive Board, Jaime Gajardo.
Gajardo, who attended the recent EI OECD conference in London, called on the Minister for Education in Chile, Harald Beyer, to accept EI’s invitation to participate in the International Summit on the Teaching Profession, together with government authorities and the civil society.
The conference, which will deal mainly with the public role of education and the teaching profession, will be held in Amsterdam on 13-14 March, and will bring together, for the third time in a row, representatives of EI and the OECD, together with political leaders and leaders of the teachers’ unions worldwide.
“We are calling on Minister Beyer to attend this important conference, where a dialogue, which has not existed in our country up to now, can be initiated,” Mr Gajardo stated.
Education not a core State function The CPC is opposed to a dichotomised view of quality education, now reduced to standardised tests, and the strong commercial character of education.
At the beginning of the 1980s, Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship set in motion a process of privatisation and decentralisation of the education system in Chile. This was a real ideological and political transformation, breaking away from the popular educational proposals of deposed President Salvador Allende.
The policies remain in place today because, under the Constitution imposed by the dictator, education ceased to be a core function of the State. As a result, over half of the Chilean population has to pay for education.
Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are concentrated in municipal public schools, and account for a little over half of the enrolment. The rest attend private schools, likewise financed by the State, but which also receive tuition fees from families.
EI: Free accessible education must be resourced EI supports both the Chilean teachers and student movement in their demands that provision of education for all is a primary function of the State.
As the EI’s Education Policy Paper argues, public authorities “have a fundamental responsibility to guarantee that free education, accessible to all, has adequate resources and is constantly updated and developed”.