Chile’s Preferential School Subsidy has played a key role in providing more equitable learning opportunities to the country’s most disadvantaged students since its implementation in 2008. Schools receive additional funding based on their enrolment of students whose socio-economic conditions are likely to affect their learning outcomes, as well as for students from the poorest 80% of families. Schools use the funding to develop an educational improvement plan aimed at improving institutional management and learning outcomes for all students, but especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. In order to obtain the subsidy, schools must exempt disadvantaged students from any financial charges and maintain good retention rates for the least able students. The subsidy has helped rebalance what was previously a regressive funding system, and has significantly strengthened the relationship between the Ministry of Education and individual schools. There is also evidence that it has led to improved standardised test scores in subsidised schools with a high proportion of low-income students.

The number of disadvantaged students benefitting from the subsidy has increased significantly since the policy was introduced in 2008. In 2019, Chile’s Education Commission voted to extend the extra funding to all subsidised private schools. Previously, schools had been required to sign an Equal Opportunities and Educational Excellence agreement to access the subsidy. Some 700 subsidised private schools had not signed the agreement, meaning 200 000 children were not benefitting from the subsidy. The recent changes aim to ensure that all eligible students have access to the subsidy as well as giving greater autonomy to schools and principals (Diario Constitucional, 2019[6]). In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Superintendency of Education granted schools greater flexibility in terms of how they could use the subsidy. This gave schools additional funding for sanitation and other preventative measures (Ministry of Education of Chile - Los Rios Region, 2020[7]).

Further reading: OECD (2018[8]), Education Policy Outlook 2018: Putting Student Learning at the Centre, OECD Publishing, Paris,

Chile adjusted its National System of Ministerial Supervision (Sistema Nacional de la Supervisión Ministerial) in 2020 to better support schools in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergencies. This included adding a strand to the system’s school improvement framework (Focos clave para la mejora educativa del Sistema Nacional de Supervisión) that specifically addresses education in emergencies. The Ministry of Education also established a set of objectives to guide the supervision of and support for schools in the context of the pandemic. These include guiding the school system to ensure the continuity of learning and supporting schools to implement Chile’s Curricular Prioritisation package, which allows them to adapt their curriculum over a two-year period to support education recovery and consolidate essential learning. While supervision would normally take place through regular face-to-face meetings between supervisors and school leadership teams, these methods were adapted in the early stages of the pandemic. Remote solutions included video and telephone calls, audio-visual resources, and over 7 000 remote technical meetings between March and June 2020.

Further reading: Ministry of Education of Chile (2020[9]), El rol de la Supervisión Ministerial en contexto de emergencia [The role of Ministerial Oversight in an emergency context], (accessed 1 April 2021).


Diario Constitucional (2019), Comisión de Educación aprueba legislar sobre modernización de subvención escolar preferencial [Education Commission approves legislation on modernization of preferential school subsidies], (accessed on 1 April 2021). [6]

Ministry of Education of Chile (2020), El rol de la Supervisión Ministerial en contexto de emergencia [The role of Ministerial Oversight in an emergency context], (accessed on 1 April 2021). [9]

Ministry of Education of Chile - Los Rios Region (2020), Superintendencia de Educación flexibiliza uso de la SEP para implementar estrategias de seguridad sanitaria por Covid-19 [Superintendency of Education makes more flexible use of the SEP to implement health security strategies due to Covid-19], (accessed on 1 April 2021). [7]

OECD (2020), Learning remotely when schools close: How well are students and schools prepared? Insights from PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, [2]

OECD (2020), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume II): Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, [1]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume II): Where All Students Can Succeed, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, [4]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, [5]

OECD (2019), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume I): Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, [3]

OECD (2018), Education Policy Outlook 2018: Putting Student Learning at the Centre, OECD Publishing, Paris, [8]

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