In Chile Education is divided into pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary education. The middle 2 phases are mandatory and up to 90% of costs are covered by the state. These are paid directly to the school concerned, which is likely to be owned by the municipality and based on individual pupil attendance.
Pre-school is voluntary, however all children are required to enter primary school or Enseñanza básica where they must remain for the following 8 years.
Following this period teenage pupils proceed directly to Enseñanza Media
secondary school which they attend through to age 18. Grades 9 and 10 are standardized. From grade 11 though (Tercero Medio
) students may choose to focus more on sciences or humanities. In this case either maths / physics / biology / chemistry or literature / philosophy / history respectively receive greater attention.
Especially in poorer areas students may also receive training in practical subjects such as electricity / mechanics or metal assembly. It is hoped that they may thereby be able to getter better jobs after school, and perhaps even self-fund themselves through university later.
Alternatively students may prefer to proceed to a technical secondary school instead. Following the same two initial years of education they can elect to go on industrial, commercial, technical or mixed training. This equips them for a job for life if they work well.
There are 25 state universities and over 50 private ones in Chile. The standards of the more recent privately funded ones are reported t
o be falling. The entrance criteria for all remains the same, and in administered by a Council of Rectors or Consejo de Rectores
. These includes mandatory examinations in maths and language, as well as other course-specific ones. A student’s school performance is merged with the result to obtain a final ranking.
The oldest Chilean university is the Universidad de Chile
. It was established in 1622 as the Universidad de Santo Tomás de Aquino
, but became the Real Universidad de San Felipe
in 1738 for a while before assuming its current name.