ESU statement on Chile

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ESU Statement on support for Chilean students fight for accessible quality education for all

ESU Executive Committee (EC)

Date: 25th August 2011

The European Students’ Union, umbrella organisation for 45 national unions of students in 38 European countries, expresses its support for the struggle of the Chilean students for reforms of their national education funding model. ESU believes that education is a public good and that every student has a right to open and free access to quality higher education.

Public funding of higher education in Chile is below the OECD average. The burden of covering the full costs of studying, including tuition and living expenses, falls on students and their families. According to the Chilean students, the quality of teaching in private universities and technical institutes is not properly regulated. Mainly students from lower socioeconomic background study in these institutions as lower exam results lead to them not qualifiying for public universities for further studies.

Many students find themselves graduating with huge debts and a degree that is little practical value to them in relation to the labour market. The legal measures proposed by the government are not effective enough as they do not tackle the main problem concerning the declining quality of the higher education in the country.

ESU reaffirms its belief that quality education is a right, not a privilege and therefore advocates that free access to education is a public responsibility.  Every student must be free of any form of discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of students’ socioeconomic background. Therefore, we express our solidarity with our Chilean counterparts who stand up for their rights to accessible and quality education.

Allan Päll
Chairperson, European Union of Students (ESU)


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