AGENCIA LATINOAMERICANA DE INFORMACIÓN — [Español]
In the last decade, South America has been the vanguard of the global left. Chile’s student movement is no exception. This article deserves our attention because it is an example of the vision that our own occupations in the US tend to lack—Ed
[In Chile] education is highly segmented. According to Garcés, there is one system for the rich, another for the middle class, and a third for the poor. At the secondary level (high school), 7 percent attend private schools, which cost between 300 and 500 dollars a month. The middle class (about 50 percent of all secondary students), attend semi-private or government-subsidized schools operated with a voucher system. They pay a small amount (from 40 dollars a month), and financing is shared with the state. The poorest students (40 percent) attend municipal schools which have few resources.
Chilean students question the education system as commercial and elitist because it reproduces existing social inequities and makes them worse. But they are not just asking questions: They are practicing the kind of education they have spent years dreaming about and struggling to obtain.
“If workers can manage a factory, we can manage the school,” says Cristóbal, 17, as he flashes a smile. Cristóbal is a student at the Luis Galecio Corvera A-90 high school in the Santiago borough of San Miguel. The school is among the 200 in the city that students have occupied. But on September 26, they decided to follow the example of the workers of Cerámicas Zanón, the Argentine factory workers took over and began running 10 years ago.
Eliana Lemus, a teacher of biology, chemistry, and physics—the doyenne of the school—maintains that discipline is much greater than it used to be, perhaps because it is not imposed and there is a desire to be together and share the experience. […] At public school A-90, the parents association supports the occupation and self-management of the school.