Education International
Education International

Chile: Intensive efforts to defend public education

published 29 January 2013 updated 31 January 2013

Significant progress has been made in building on EI’s high-level mission to Chile last year, which was organised by the EI Regional Office in Latin America. This is all part of EI’s continuing work to defend public education from the onslaught of the Global Educational Reform Movement and its privatisation agenda.

Jaime Gajardo, President of EI’s affiliate, Colegio de Profesores de Chile (CPC), has been actively calling attention to the plight of Chilean educators, students and citizens.

In just two short weeks, he has joined senior EI union leaders in Madrid for Spain’s FECCOO Congress, spoken at a union-led education quality conference in Finland, and held an audience in Geneva with International Labour Organisation Director General  Guy Ryder.

Gajardo is also taking part in an EI Affiliates in OECD Countries Conference in London.

Education is a right, not a commodity

Time and again, Gajardo has shared the CPC’s frustration at the anti-teacher and anti-student policies of teaching deprofessionalisation in Chile, the auctioning off of the education sector, and the Chilean government’s refusal to engage in any social dialogue on their proposals.

"The education profiteers in Chile have been able to shift the risks and debts of their gambling and competitive zealotry onto citizens, workers and students,” Gajardo stated. “They projected an image that this is what high-performing countries do and given the impression that the train has left the station.

“Well, I have been studying, listening and speaking with leaders around the world and I can tell you that social dialogue, union engagement and public provision of education are the features, not the obstacles, of educational equity and quality. This is the story that they don't want Chileans to know, but I am an educator and this is precisely the story that has to be told."