Education International
Education International

New professional pathways programme in Chile is education movement’s victory

published 1 February 2016 updated 10 February 2016

After a decades-long fight, thousands of teachers will benefit from a new national professional pathways plan that includes professional development, higher wages and fewer contact hours.

Teachers from all over Chile have been mobilising since April 2015 for a change in the professional pathways plan, which was finally adopted last Friday by members of Parliament. In the words of Jaime Gajardo, president of the Colegio de Profesores de Chile, Education International’s (EI) affiliate in the country, “the new law is the result of social and political dialogue, combined with constant mobilising. Without the latter we could never have redesigned the text, which was initially based on mistrust in teachers and on a general lack of rights and guarantees for the education professionals”, he added.

From dialogue to law

Based on the agreements reached by the country’s tripartite commission, the new text is thus based on a process of convergence between government and trade union positions.

The key achievements welcome by the Colegio de Profesores de Chile in a statement published today are the inclusion of a greater number of non-teaching working hours, free career development schemes, an increase of 30 per cent in salaries for teachers working in sensitive locations, and an extension of the early retirement bonus scheme.

Despite the fact that “this system of professional acknowledgement is not the ideal professional pathway plan that [the trade union movement] wanted, it is an essential stepping stone on which to keep on working to improve the teaching and learning conditions in our schools”, Gajardo concluded.