March 12, 2014
Chile's students get back to the streets against education system
Hundreds of thousands of students took their educational claims again back to Chilean streets to demand a free, high-quality education system as the Andean country gets ready for key elections this year.
As a reminiscence of the first waves of demonstrations that date back to 2011, schools and universities were left empty once again with around 120,000 students protesting in Chile’s main cities such as Santiago, Temuco and Valparaiso to reach an educational reform.
Holding banners that read “the struggle continues”, demonstrators rallied at the Mapocho station in Chile’s capital city where certain unidentified groups clashed with the police.
“There are more than 120,000 people here in Santiago and we have to consider the demonstrations in the rest of the country which show that we can change the reality we are living under a latent injustice as we continue to be the world’s most segregated country in educational terms,” head of the Catholic University Student’s Federation Diego Vela affirmed.
President Sebastián Piñera has introduced a series of reforms –such as a reduction in loans students request to pay university fees and scholarships’ appointment- but has refused to deal with the root problem of Chile’s education, inheritance of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship.
Meanwhile, ex head of state and presidential candidate in Novemeber’s elections Michelle Bachelet, has recently said the first bill she will submit to Congress if she takes office again will be a project to battle “profit-driven” moves in the education system.