Educational reform in Chile
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This article analyses the reforms put into effect in the mid-1990s with the aim of setting in motion a process of profound changes in pre-school, basic and secondary education in Chile, the main changes made, and some of the achievements and difficulties of this process as seen at the present day. It begins by describing the initial context of the reforms, in which, as the objectives of full coverage of the educational system had been largely achieved, the new objective addressed was to improve the quality of education with equity. It also makes reference to the institutional changes which had taken place in the organization of education: the consolidation of the system of subsidies and the transfer of educational establishments to the municipalities in the 1980s, and the change in teachers' working conditions in the 1990s. It then summarizes the main initiatives taken to improve education in the 1990s. The central part of the article deals with the four main pillars of the educational reform process: programmes to improve and modernize teaching methods; the professional development of teachers and the incentives offered for this; the reform of educational curricula, and the introduction of full-day rather than half-day classes. It concludes with an appraisal of the achievements made and the difficulties encountered; among the first are the high priority given to education within the increased allocation of public and private resources, the emphasis on equity in the measures taken to improve education, and the continuity of the policies followed throughout the 1990s; among the second are the relatively poor results still obtained by most pupils and the learning gap that those results imply.