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Schools in Chile have less favourable disciplinary climates in science lessons compared to other OECD countries, according to students’ reports in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015, with an index of disciplinary climate of -0.11 (the OECD average index value was 0.00). Student truancy was lower, however, than the OECD average: 9.3% of 15-year-olds reported skipping at least one day of school in the two weeks before the PISA 2015 test, compared to the OECD average of 19.7%. Students in Chile were also more likely to report that their science teachers adapt their instructions more frequently than the OECD average, with an index of adaptive instruction of 0.21 (the average index value was 0.01) (OECD, 2016[1]).

The PISA 2015 index of instructional educational leadership (measuring the frequency with which principals report doing leadership activities specifically related to instruction) was below the OECD average at -0.03 (the OECD average was 0.01) (OECD, 2016[1]). In 2016, the proportion of lower secondary teachers in Chile aged 50 or over was 27.7%, compared to an OECD average of 35.4%. Teachers in Chile had among the highest net teaching hours for general programmes in 2017 compared to their peers in other OECD countries. Teachers annually taught 1 064 hours at both primary and lower secondary levels, compared to OECD averages of 784 and 696 hours, respectively (OECD, 2018[2]). According to school principals’ self-reports in PISA 2015, schools in Chile have slightly lower levels of autonomy over curriculum than the OECD average: 72.3% of principals reported that the school has primary autonomy over curriculum, compared to 73.4% on average (OECD, 2016[1]).

Lower secondary teachers in Chile earned 82% of the average salary of a full-time, full-year worker with tertiary education in 2016, which was below the OECD average ratio of 91% (OECD, 2018[2]). According to the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018, 80.8% of teachers in Chile said that if they could choose again, they would still become a teacher; this was higher than the OECD average of 75.6% (OECD, 2019[3]).

According to school leaders’ reports in PISA 2015, school leaders in Chile are about as likely as the OECD average to conduct self-evaluations of their schools (93.8% of students were in schools whose principal reported this, compared to the OECD average of 93.2%) and slightly more likely to undergo external evaluations of their schools (76.5% of students were in schools whose principal reported this, compared to the OECD average of 74.6%) (OECD, 2016[1]). However, teacher appraisal levels, as reported in the earlier cycle of TALIS 2013 were higher than the average: 81.2% of all teachers in Chile had reported then having received a teacher appraisal in the previous 12 months, compared to the average of 66.1% (OECD, 2014[4]). The share of students enrolled in secondary schools whose principal reported in PISA 2015 that standardised tests are used to make decisions on students’ promotion or retention was 37%, compared to an average of 31% (OECD, 2016[1]).

In 2017, local autonomy levels over resource management (allocation and use of resources for teaching staff and principals) in Chile were higher than the OECD average: 50% of decisions in Chile were taken at the local level, compared to the OECD average of 18%. Annual expenditure per student at primary level in 2016 was USD 5 064, which was among the lowest across OECD countries (the average was USD 8 631). At secondary level, Chile spent USD 4 930 per student, compared to the OECD average of USD 10 010, while at tertiary level (including spending on research and development), Chile spent USD 8 406 per student compared to USD 15 656. The proportion coming from private sources (including household expenditure, expenditure from other private entities and international sources) was the largest in the OECD (37.5% of overall spending compared to 16.1%). Between 2010 and 2015, the relative proportion of public expenditure on primary to tertiary education in Chile increased by 14.7 percentage points, compared to an average decrease of 1.3 percentage points across OECD countries (OECD, 2018[2]).

Evolution of key education policy priorities

Chile’s key education policy priorities have evolved in the following ways over the last decade (Table 8.5).

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Table 8.5. Evolution of key education policy priorities, Chile (2008-19)

Identified by

Selected OECD country-based work, 2008-191

Evolution of responses collected by the Education Policy Outlook, 2013-192

School improvement

The OECD identified the need to promote the role of the teaching profession, better preparing and engaging them to participate. The OECD identified the need to strengthen the incentives for teachers to improve their competencies, and the matching process between teachers’ levels of competence and the roles that need to be performed in schools. The OECD also identified the need to strengthen the framework for professional development provision for all teachers and school leaders. Both the profile of school leadership needed to be improved, and a strong professional cadre of school leaders and principals developed. [2013; 2017]

Chile reported the ongoing need to improve teaching conditions and support schools with strong school leaders to implement and drive improvements. Chile reported the ongoing challenge of designing and implementing the school leadership track as a complement to the teaching track. A more recent priority is to develop the capabilities of educational leaders, teachers and other educational professionals to promote student inclusion and diversity. Another new priority is to strengthen the capabilities of local and intermediate-level school leaders to improve education quality and equity. [2013; 2016-17]

Evaluation and assessment

OECD evidence found strong municipal leadership essential in establishing teacher appraisal as a priority at the local level and supporting schools to use evaluation results for improvement. The OECD identified the need to support teachers to understand evaluation procedures and benefit from evaluation results. Despite the existence of teacher appraisal practices in private schools, there was a limited guarantee that they were aligned with the national student learning objectives. More recently, the OECD found that teacher evaluation was well established, but its formative function remains limited. [2013; 2017]

Chile reported the ongoing priority of conducting evaluations and designing frameworks to generate information to support and inform teacher recognition and development processes. Another priority is to develop early childhood education definitions, processes and assessments instruments, ensuring alignment with the overall education system. [2013; 2016-17]


According to OECD evidence, a largely unregulated school market has contributed to inequitable schooling outcomes and poor overall educational performance. The OECD identified the need to complete the review of the Good Teaching Framework and to develop aligned professional standards that take teachers’ career structures into account. Regarding the observed level of excess employment (of teachers and other personnel) at the municipal level, the OECD found it important that adjustments are made before de-municipalisation takes place to avoid transferring this source of inefficiency to the new local education services. There is a need for a rural education strategy. [2015; 2017]

Chile previously reported providing local authorities and institutions with the capacity to deliver quality provision within a national vision as being a priority. New challenges include reducing inequalities and segregation among students by ensuring free tuition, non-selective and non-profit public and/or private-voucher schools for all students, as well as strengthening public education by transferring municipal schools to new local education services in charge of both the management and pedagogical support, and development of local public schools. The new challenges apply right across the students, institutions and the systems level. [2013; 2016-17]


Disadvantaged Chileans begin encountering barriers to access long before they are of age to enrol in post-secondary education. In terms of efficiency of spending, the OECD identified that strengthening pre-primary and compulsory education could likely improve equity in higher education (HE) more than direct changes to the HE system itself. Nevertheless, important changes at the HE level would also expand equity and access for disadvantaged students. Furthermore, while social and education spending has increased in Chile, inequality remains high. [2017; 2018]

Public funding and quality assurance of tertiary education institutions remained key priorities to ensure efficiency and equity. The government continued to focus on ensuring adequate provision and maintaining public funding to private third parties that participate in the mixed education system. [2013; 2016-17]


1. See Annex A (OECD publications consulted).

2. See Reader’s Guide (years and methods of collection).


Selected education policy responses

School improvement

  • In Chile, the Good Teaching Framework (Marco para la Buena Enseñanza, MBE, 2003) outlines what teachers are expected to know and be able to do. It identifies four domains: 1) preparation for teaching; 2) creation of an environment favouring the learning process; 3) teaching that allows learning for all students; and 4) professional responsibilities. Within each domain, the MBE describes criteria and performance levels (outstanding, competent, basic or unsatisfactory). The framework also outlines four elements of teacher appraisal: portfolio, self-assessment guidelines, interview by a peer evaluator and a third-party reference report (OECD, 2017[124]).

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Progress or impact: The OECD has praised the Good Teaching Framework (MBE), reporting that it gives a clear and concise profile of what teachers are expected to know and be able to do, providing a sound frame of reference for teachers in Chile (OECD, 2017[124]; Santiago et al., 2017[125]). In 2016, a revision of the MBE with updates to criteria and performance levels reflecting the latest research on good teaching practice was released for public consultation. The process of approval for the revised MBE remains ongoing. The OECD commended efforts taken to review and refresh the MBE (OECD, 2017[124]; Santiago et al., 2017[125]).

In addition, the System for Teacher Professional Development (Sistema de Desarrollo Profesional Docente, Ley 20903, 2016), aims to bring together and build on the various initiatives developed and implemented over the previous ten years to present a more organised vision of improvement for the teaching profession. It also provides an overarching framework for development in this area up to 2026. It introduces mechanisms such as multi-stage career structure, an increase in the proportion of non-teaching hours and mandatory accreditation, among others (Santiago et al., 2017[125]). Immediately following the launch of the new system, the OECD praised the increased clarity and goal setting it offered. However, the OECD also suggested that Chile consider introducing a coherent set of professional standards to better delineate teachers’ roles and career progression as well as more rigorous and formative teacher evaluation procedures and relevant professional development. The OECD also highlighted the importance of actively involving stakeholders throughout the implementation process in order to build trust and a sense of ownership, particularly among teachers (OECD, 2017[124]).

  • The Teacher Vocation programme (Beca Vocación de Profesor, BVP, 2012) offers scholarships to high-performing students who enter teacher training at the higher education degree level. Depending on the students’ university selection test scores (Prueba de Selección Universitaria, PSU), they may also have the opportunity to opt for an additional monthly stipend and a fully funded semester abroad. Students who receive the scholarship must work in government-subsidised schools for at least 3 years during the 12 years after receiving the scholarship.

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Progress or impact: A preliminary report demonstrated that, with the implementation of the Teacher Vocation programme (BVP), the average scores of enrolled students increased (Gallego et al., 2012[126]). A 2014 evaluation of the programme estimated that the introduction of the BVP had increased the percentage of top-scoring PSU students entering teacher education from 11% to between 16% and 19% (Pérez Mejías, Flores Serrano and Reveco Vergara, 2014[127]). Furthermore, a 2017 government analysis found that a greater number of high-performing students had entered teacher education since the introduction of the BVP.

Nevertheless, the report also raised some equity concerns. On joining the profession, a lower percentage of BVP recipients were placed in subsidised urban schools, considered disadvantaged in comparison to the rest of the teaching force (80%, compared to 90%), and a significant number entered private non-subsidised schools (7%). Furthermore, in 2016, a considerable percentage of students who received a grant came from private schools, thus posing a risk that they would go on to work in their former schools after qualification. This is not in line with the goals of the programme (MINEDUC, 2017[128]).

Furthermore, despite the increase in enrolment of higher performing students, a limitation remains at the systemic level. Overall, 60% of teaching students are not part of the BVP, and there is no obligation for these students to comply with the PSU scoring standards. Reports found that BVP demonstrated that it is meeting its goals to attract high-performing graduates and increase the attractiveness of the teaching profession. However, the OECD has noted that Chile will need to consider long-term, sustainable measures to ensure its continued growth and impact. These measures would continue to support fee waivers, scholarships and forgiving loans to candidates in order to financially incentivise graduates and attract high-performing students to the profession (Santiago et al., 2017[125]).

  • In Chile, various reforms and initiatives have been introduced to improve the quality of school leadership. In 2011, the Law for Quality and Equity in Education (Ley 20501: Calidad y Equidad de la Educación, 2011) introduced competitive and open selection processes for school directors in public establishments. It also introduced new responsibilities and powers for school leaders, including greater flexibility to remove teachers, higher salaries and more support for professional development in schools with a high concentration of priority students (MINEDUC, 2011[129]). The same year, MINEDUC launched the Principals’ Training Plan (Plan de Formación de Directores, 2010). This consisted of two phases: 1) strengthening training offers for school leaders through increasing flexibility in programme structures and improving quality assurance; and 2) offering scholarships to incentivise professionals to enrol in training programmes. In 2014, Chile’s commitment to improving school leadership was further established through the launch of the School Leadership Strengthening Policy (Política de la Fortalecimiento del Liderazgo Directivo Escolar, 2014). This aimed to strengthen leadership skills within the system in order to enhance the role of school leaders as agents of change. The policy had five lines of action: 1) definition of the role of the school leader; 2) improved selection processes; 3) capacity development; 4) establishment of school leadership centres; and 5) building an evidence base to support policy making (MINEDUC, 2018[130]).

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Progress or impact: From 2011-14, 2 969 acting and new school leaders received scholarships through the Principals’ Training Plan (MINEDUC, 2017[131]). However, an OECD review found that the plan had not been effectively applied to inform the teacher career structure, professional development plans, evaluation processes or salary scales (OECD, 2017[124]). Furthermore, the lack of a school leadership career path also meant that no related salary structure was in place, apart from the salary allowances introduced as part of the Law for Quality and Equity in Education for those working in schools with high socio-economic disadvantage, high numbers of students with disabilities and schools in rural areas.

The School Leadership Strengthening Policy hoped to address some of these issues. For example, MINEDUC launched the Good School Leadership and Management Framework (Marco de Buena Dirección y el Liderazgo Escolar, 2015) to better focus the work of school leaders and their professional development. Two national school leadership centres (Centro de Desarrollo de Líderes Educativos and Centro de Liderazgo para la Mejora Escolar, 2015) opened to improve the quality of training and support offered to school leaders. The centres have led several research and innovation projects in the area of school leadership and have built up an international profile (MINEDUC, 2018[130]). Chile’s Centre for Improvement, Experimentation and Pedagogical Research (Centro de Perfeccionamiento, Experimentación e Investigaciones Pedagógicas, CPEIP) launched an induction programme for school leaders in 2017.

The OECD recognised Chile’s work in the area of school leadership as a promising step in the development of the profession, but signalled a persistent challenge in the lack of sufficient career differentiation between teachers and school leaders, which most likely contributes to the continued low status of the profession (Santiago et al., 2017[125]).


Selected education policy responses


  • The National System for Quality Assurance of Early Childhood, Basic and Upper Secondary Education (Sistema Nacional de Aseguramiento de la Calidad de la Educación Parvularia, Básica y Media, SAC, 2011) is an accountability system that brings together the Ministry of Education, the National Education Council (Consejo Nacional de Educación, CNED), the Quality of Education Agency (Agencia de Calidad de la Educación, ACE, 2012), and the Education Superintendence (Superintendencia de Educación Escolar). The School Quality Assurance Plan 2016-19 (launched in 2016) aims to articulate and co-ordinate the SAC (OECD, 2017[124]). Its main objectives include: 1) developing and implementing strategies by schools based on their education improvement plans (Plan de Mejoramiento Educativo, PME) and other tools available to them; 2) providing schools with continuous access to the Support and Capacity Strengthening System for Education Improvement (Sistema de Apoyo y Fortalecimineto de Capacidades para el Mejoramiento Educativo); and 3) providing education actors in the system with useful, pertinent and contextualised information as well as tools and resources to help them improve their schools (OECD, 2017[124]).

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Progress or impact: An OECD review identified the National System for Quality Assurance of Early Childhood, Basic and Upper Secondary Education (SAC) as a chance for Chile to ensure that key institutions within the education system can actually reach schools and positively affect educational practice. However, SAC needs to ensure that its constituent institutions can achieve an effective model of collaboration. Co-ordination across these institutions will help educational authorities identify how to better support students as they progress through the education system. It will also help the government identify gaps or problems as well as successes and areas of potential collaboration (OECD, 2017[124]).

  • In 2015, Chile created two new institutions to strengthen early childhood education (Law 20835). The new Secretariat for Childhood Education (Subsecretaría de Educación Parvularia) within the Ministry of Education is responsible for designing, co-ordinating, implementing and evaluating early childhood education and care (ECEC) policies and programmes. The second new agency is the division for pre-school education within the Education Superintendence (Intendencia de educación parvularia). It creates guidelines to ensure that ECEC centres for 0-6 year-olds, which are officially authorised and recognised by the Ministry of Education, comply with educational regulations.

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Progress or impact: Before the creation of these agencies, expanding access to quality early childhood education was a special policy priority for Chile’s government. In 2013, a law made kindergarten compulsory for children aged 4-6 years old (Law 20710). In subsequent years, a substantial increase was observed in the number of day care facilities across the country and also in the number of children aged 0-2 years old with access to early childcare and education (OECD, 2015[132]). The net attendance rate of children aged 0-5 years in pre-school education increased from 49.1% in 2013 to 51.2% in 2017. Specifically, for children aged 0-3 years old, there was an increase from 28.4% to 31.6% in the same period (National information reported to the OECD).

Furthermore, Chile’s ECEC quality assurance system has addressed providers’ regulatory compliance and financial stability, leadership and management, and implementation of the official curriculum (Bertram et al., 2016[133]). However, a recent OECD review found that the ECEC quality assurance system has not yet met some international standards, specifically in terms of staff performance, children’s well-being, parental satisfaction and value for money (OECD, 2017[124]).

The OECD recommended that Chile continue its trajectory of expanding access to ECEC, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds or living in rural areas, but at a pace that ensures children have access to high-quality learning opportunities, as soon as possible. The OECD considered that the development of a system-wide strategy to identify and disseminate effective pedagogical and professional practices in ECEC was essential to achieving this (OECD, 2017[124]).

In 2018, the Subsecretaría de Educación Parvularia released Curriculum Guidelines for Early Childhood Education (Bases Curriculares de la Educacion Parvularia, BCEP), which provide ECEC with an updated national curricular framework that will better prepare children for the transition to primary school. This replaced the 2001 ECEC curricular framework (MINEDUC, 2018[134]).

Chile is also prioritising the early development of technological skills through ECEC. For example, as part of the Plan de Calidad, a “Bee Bot” robotic toy has been trialled to help children in nursery schools become familiar with basic programming and robotics (MINEDUC, 2018[135]).

In 2019, two new draft legislations were submitted for debate. The Law for Equity in Nursery Education proposes various financial subsidies to support children aged 2-4 years old to attend ECEC, including targeted funds for disadvantaged children and those with special educational needs. The Law for Compulsory Kindergarten proposes making kindergarten attendance a requirement of enrolment in primary education. Additionally, the Advisory Council for the quality of Early Childhood Education (CACEP, 2019) also came into operation to oversee the various bodies and agencies responsible for quality assurance in the ECEC sector. Finally, a Fund for Innovation in Early Childhood Education (FIEP) has been established to promote pedagogical innovation and experimentation around the key curriculum areas established in the BCEP (National information reported to the OECD).


  • In 2012, Chile launched the third implementation stage of the Programme to Improve the Quality of Higher Education (Programa de Mejoramiento de la Calidad de la Educación Superior, MECESUP, 1998) which has been supported by the World Bank. The third stage (MECESUP 3) saw the awarding of 179 performance agreements to tertiary education institutions (World Bank, 2018[136]). This followed MECESUP 1 (1999-2004), which consisted of launching a “competitive fund” (fondo competitivo) that allocated financial resources to develop plans designed by higher education institutions. Funding priorities in this first stage were academic infrastructure, institutional capacity building and accountability mechanisms. MECESUP 2 (2006-08) funded 371 projects, this time prioritising academic innovation, staff development, doctoral programmes and academic management. During the first two stages, the total investment was approximately USD 50 million per year (Ricardo, 2012[137]).

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Progress or impact: The Programme to Improve the Quality of Higher Education (MECESUP) programme has contributed to an increase in the share of public funding in tertiary education that is conditional on competitions or tied to specific activities. Whereas in 2004, conditional funds represented 30% of all direct government funding to higher education institutions (HEIs), by 2015, the share had increased to 42%. However, conditional funding still comprises a rather limited proportion of the revenue for HEIs, given that Chile’s higher education is funded largely through private sources. World Bank evaluations suggest that MECESUP has been beneficial in various ways. Through MECESUP, Chile’s government has been able to select plans and investments that reflect its priorities for tertiary education. At the same time, the programme has allowed HEIs to design plans that address shortcomings unique to their institutions. Furthermore, a World Bank report suggests that plans funded through MECESUP have led to improvements in teacher quality (specifically through the appointment of more full-time faculty members who hold doctoral degrees), curriculum design (through larger shares of students pursuing teaching degrees or vocational training in programmes with redesigned curricula), retention of first-year students and also higher student graduation rates (World Bank, 2018[136]).

  • Chile has introduced a series of reforms to its policies concerning financial aid for students enrolling in higher education. In 2012, the State Guaranteed Loan System (Crédito con Aval del Estado, CAE, 2006) lowered its actual interest rate to 2% per year (it had been 5.8% since its creation) and included a limit on the amount of future income that may be dedicated to repayment (up to 10%). CAE is a loan programme that covers up to 100% of a “reference tuition fee”, which is set by MINEDUC based on the estimation of the cost of every career. Private financial institutions (banks) grant the loans, and the State acts as the guarantor of the payment (OECD, 2017[124]). Chile’s government also provides a series of scholarships programmes. At the undergraduate level, the three most important scholarships are the New Millennium Scholarship (Beca Nuevo Milenio, BNM), the Juan Gómez Millas Scholarship (Beca Juan Gómez Millas, BJGM) and the Bicentenary Scholarship (Beca Bicentenario) all of which target students from the seven poorest income deciles. The first two are available to students who are also eligible for the CAE. There are also scholarship programmes that specifically target Indigenous students as well as those for postgraduate programmes and high-performing students (OECD, 2017[124]). Since 2016, free higher education (Gratuidad) is available for students from the bottom six deciles of family income who enrol in accredited HEIs (universities or professional and technical institutes and training centres) that voluntarily agree to participate in the scheme. It is expected that from 2019, the Gratuidad programme will extend free higher education to higher income deciles for vocational education and that by 2030, it will cover a further income decile for general education programmes (National information reported to the OECD).

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Progress or impact: In 2014, about two-thirds (62%, compared to 30% on average across OECD countries) of expenditure in tertiary education came from private sources; among OECD countries, only Japan comes close to Chile in these terms. Furthermore, fees increased between 2004 and 2014 in all types of HEIs (including public universities).

OECD reviews suggest that financial aid policies have been one of the enabling factors of the rapid growth in access to higher education observed in Chile. Student enrolment in tertiary education doubled between 2004 (584 000 students) and 2016 (1.2 million students). The number of recipients of some types of student financial aid (loans, scholarships and Gratuidad) more than quadrupled between 2006 and 2017 (from about 200 000 to about 860 000 recipients). In terms of loans and scholarships, the number of recipients increased steadily until 2015 but declined with the implementation of Gratuidad (with a reduction in CAE loan recipients from 370 000 in 2015 to 300 000 in 2017, and a fall in scholarship recipients from 400 000 in 2015 to 265 000 recipients in 2017. In 2016, the number of recipients of free higher education through the Gratuidad programme was about 139 000 students, growing to around 261 000 in 2017. Correspondingly, government spending in financial aid grew steadily between 2006 and 2017, but the allocation of funding to different types of financial aid changed substantially after the introduction of Gratuidad. In 2017, some 30% of governmental spending in financial aid was spent on CAE loans (compared to 50% in 2015), while 21% was spent on scholarships (compared to 43% in 2015) and about 49% was spent on the Gratuidad programme, benefiting around 23% of enrolled students (MINEDUC, 2018[138]).

  • With an estimated investment of over USD 500 million, Chile’s Strategic Plan for School Infrastructure (Plan Estratégico de Infraestructura Escolar, 2014-18) aims to upgrade infrastructure standards and remedy the deficits and shortcomings of pre-primary, basic and upper secondary education schools. This plan is based on an assessment of the state of infrastructure conducted between 2012 and 2014 that found significant gaps among municipal schools (Santiago et al., 2017[125]). Approximately 20% of the 5 509 registered schools were identified in that assessment as having a precarious drinking water system and deficient construction standards (Santiago et al., 2017[125]). The plan’s lines of action include constructing 30 public schools with the highest quality standards; improving infrastructure for at least 1 000 schools, including 150 ECEC institutions; updating infrastructure (preventive work) in at least 600 schools; updating equipment; and repairing damage caused by natural disasters.

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Progress or impact: In 2016, within the framework of the Strategic Infrastructure Plan for the Strengthening of Public Education, the Department of School Infrastructure of the Ministry of Education of Chile established 12 standards for educational infrastructure projects. These aim to ensure the construction of high-quality learning environments and cover criteria such as innovation, security, flexibility and openness to the community (MINEDUC, 2016[139]).

The Department of School Infrastructure also convened a series of competitions, aimed at selecting the best architectural ideas to develop definitive blueprints for 14 educational establishments (MINEDUC, 2019[140]). In order to participate, architects were required to be legally authorised to practice in Chile and to have at least five years of professional experience, including having previously built at least 3 000 m2 in school infrastructure or equipment. The ministry announced this contest on its website and on Plataforma Arquitectura (Architecture Platform, a regional website of ArchDaily, one of the most visited architecture websites in the world). A total of 106 proposals were received (MINEDUC, 2019[140]). From this, 15 winning proposals were selected for project locations across the country. A further 13 school infrastructure projects have been developed as part of a specific plan for rural schools in Araucanía. Of these, eight were selected through architectural competitions. These projects are due to be completed by the end of 2019 (National information reported to the OECD).

Additional education policies of potential interest to other countries


  • Chile’s Higher Education Information Service (Servicio de Información para la Educación Superior, SIES) is a dependent entity of the Division of Higher Education. It was established as part of the Law for a Higher Education Quality Assurance System (Sistema Nacional de Aseguramiento de la Calidad de la Educación Superior, 2007) in an effort to establish a national higher education information system to support better governance, policy making and quality assurance in the higher education sector (MINEDUC, 2007[141]). One key objective is to provide better information to students to help them make informed decisions about their futures. Information published for this purpose includes data on economic returns by area of study, indicators on the financial situation of institutions and academic attributes such as vacancies, enrolment rates and the number of professors. A recent report highlighted how the SIES could be strengthened to improve transparency in Chile’s higher education sector. Specifically, Chile’s 2016 higher education reform focuses on strengthening the collection, validation, updating and regular dissemination of information provided by institutions and other actors to inform public policy, institutional management and the public. This includes information on enrolment, staffing, resources and infrastructure. It also includes information on institutions’ legal statuses, partners and leadership, and details of institutional property and financing, including audited financial statements (OECD, 2018[142]).

  • Chile’s New Public Education System (Nueva Sistema de Educación Pública, Law 21040, 2018) established a new system of public school governance aimed at consolidating resources and administrative capacity (MINEDUC, 2017[143]). The reform mandated the transfer of school administration, previously under the authority of more than 300 local municipalities, to about 70 local education services (Servicios Locales de Educación, SLEs), a new set of intermediate agencies created especially for this purpose. Each SLE administers a group of schools according to their geographical location and/or cultural characteristics, replacing school administrations by municipalities (desmunicipalización) (Santiago et al., 2017[125]). A new body within MINEDUC, the Directorate for Public Education (Dirección de Educación Pública, DEP), became responsible for working in co-ordination with the SLEs. The establishment of SLEs and the transfer of school management from municipalities to SLEs will be progressively rolled out until 2025 (OECD, 2017[124]). As of 2019, four SLEs were operating in the areas of Barrancas (77 educational establishments), Huasco (63 educational establishments), Costa Araucanía (93 educational establishments) and Puerto Cordillera (61 educational establishments). In total, this covers 61 086 students (MINEDUC, 2019[144]). By 2025, when the process of de-municipalisation ends, the New Public Education System aims to have around 7 000 officials, 100 000 teachers and 75 000 education assistants, and 1.3 million students in 5 000 educational settings (MINEDUC, 2018[145]).

  • Chile’s Higher Education Reform (2018) aims to address access and quality issues and proposes important changes to the steering of higher education. The reform creates a new Sub-Secretariat for Higher Education covering universities and vocational education and training (VET) at tertiary level, bringing HEIs together in a unified system; and a new Higher Education Superintendency (OECD, 2018[142]). It introduces measures to strengthen quality assurance processes, through the reinforcement of a national quality assurance system for higher education and the creation of a new VET Advisory Committee (Consejo Asesor de Formación Técnico Profesional) composed of the higher education Sub-Secretary, the Superintendency and the National Council of Education. Furthermore, efforts to increase the involvement of the government in higher education have been made by creating two public universities and 15 public VET centres (OECD, 2018[142]).


  • Chile’s School Inclusion Law (2015) aimed to reduce socio-economic segregation and introduced three main changes to the school funding system. First, it mandated that private subsidised schools must be owned by non-profit organisations to ensure that public funds are used for educational purposes only. Second, the law eliminated “shared financing” (co-pago) through which fees were paid to schools by families to supplement the public subsidy, although voluntary monetary contributions by parents for extracurricular activities are allowed. To compensate for the loss of funds in private-subsidised schools, the law increased the amount of resources destined for school administrators. Finally, the law forbade public and private-subsidised schools from employing any form of selection criteria when enrolling students (Santiago et al., 2017[125]). They are also forbidden from expelling students due to behavioural, academic, political, ideological or other reasons (OECD, 2017[124]). It was expected that, by 2018, all private schools receiving public subsidies would be administered by non-profit organisations. However, in October 2018, 15 for-profit schools remained (0.13% of all schools in Chile) (National information reported to the OECD). According to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance, in 2014, 977 000 students attended schools with shared funding. This was expected to decrease to 108 900 students by 2025. In terms of adjustments, more recent developments in Chile were in process in 2019 to potentially reintroduce selection by academic criteria in schools from Grade 7, balanced with new prioritisation and inclusion criteria to protect vulnerable students (MINEDUC, 2019[146]).

  • Chile’s municipalities receive school grants and allocations for public education from several special funds or programmes (Santiago et al., 2017[125]). The Fund to Support Public Education (Fondo de Apoyo a la Educación Pública, FAEP, 2014) is the main existing fund and replaces the Fund to Support Municipal Governance (Fondo de Apoyo a la Gestión Municipal, FAGEM, 2007). It largely aims to cover the administrative costs incurred by municipalities in providing education services, and Chile introduced it in response to the education budget deficit faced by many municipalities. This deficit reveals possible over-employment of education staff in many municipalities, as well as shortcomings in educational management (Santiago et al., 2017[125]). In 2015, the fund corresponded to 4.8% of the budget for education grants (MINEDUC, ACE and ES, 2016[147]). FAEP has so far been guaranteed up to 2022 under the New Public Education Reform. Within the School Inclusion Law, a further FAEP has been introduced guaranteeing the provision of EUR 315 million each year between 2016 and 2019 (National information reported to the OECD).

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