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Preprimary & Primary Education

Preschool Education: The Educación Parvularia (preschool) was developed and organized by German teachers according to their traditional model in 1911, and was known as kindergarten. However, the first program offered in the country for preschool teachers was in 1905 graduating the following year the first kindergaterianas. Later on, the Decree no. 4.156 of 1928 incorporated preschools into elementary education, as optional schooling. During this period, Chilean preschool was deeply influenced by the Montessori method. Unfortunately, due to political turnouts, this innovation was implemented for a short period of time.

In 1945 the Escuela de Educadora de Párvulos was authorized and incorporated to the University of Chile's educational programs.

Three years later, in 1948, the notion of kindergarten was readopted and authorized, nevertheless, it still remained optionally added to the elementary school curriculum. Though some were aware of the benefits this level could offer to students, economic and social conditions did not support this type of schooling as a need. Extended family (elders and siblings) had traditionally preserved culture, and had been in charge of taking care of minors as parents were away for work. At the time, additionally, women had not massively participated in the labor force, and there was reticence from the part of mothers to separate their children at early ages from home. The aim at creating habits of independence and readiness for curricular elementary education has been more fully understood by the population in contemporary times, yet preschool is not part of the national compulsory education.

The objective of preschools in Chile concentrates on cognitive, language, psychomotor and affective development pertinent to educate well balanced citizens.

Educación parvularia or educación preíescolar assists pupils from 84-days-old up to 5-years-old. This type of education is supervised by Junta Nacional de Jardines Infantiles (National Council of Child Care Centers), an organization of the Ministry of Education, and the Fundación Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral del Menor referred to as INTEGRA (National Foundation for the Integral Child Development), an organization depending from the Ministry of Interior. It has been observed that as women integrate into the national labor force and the composition of the family changes, preschools have become a necessity. To 1990, about 20 percent of children up to 6-years-old attended preschool, eight years later the percentage raised to 30 percent (1998.)

Elementary Education: The first attempt for the creation of a national educational system in Chile took place in 1813, when the Junta de Gobierno decreed the creation of escuelas de primeras letras (schools of first letters) in cities and towns having a population of 50 or more individuals. These schools had to be administered by the correspondent local municipalities and the education had to be offered free of charge. This initiative turned the country into the education pioneer in the Latin American context. Nevertheless, this resolution was only partially carried out due to the lack of infrastructure, government supervision, and political instability in the country. At the time, most free education was in the hands of the Catholic church. Conflicts with the church dealing with the freedom of teaching prolonged for decades, getting intensified during 1870s. In 1882, Monsignor Celestino del Frate was sent by the Vatican on special assignment to solve the conflict, but agreement between the two parties was never fruitful, the Papal dignitary was declared persona non grata, and subsequently, expelled from the country by the Chilean government. This situation precipitated the approval of Leyes Laicas (lay laws) between 1883-1984 and the expansion of non-sectarian schools.

Elementary education began expanding vigorously to rural zones during the first decade of the twentiethth century (1906) gaining solidification in 1920 when the Ley de Instrucción Primaria Obligatoria (compulsory primary instruction law) was promulgated, put in effect, and enforced.

Historical Framework: During the decades of 1920 and 1930 varied innovations were carried out in public education in the country. Collaborative projects with foreign education experts and political leaders introduced significant new pedagogical models and methodologies to public education.

The Supreme Decree of December 1927 introduced revolutionary changes in the national educational school system's exemplary for the other nations in Latin America. Educators opened themselves up to new psycho-pedagogical models recognizing the integral development of children as a function proper and inherent to the Ministry of Public Education.

Highly influenced by Decroly, Montessori, and Parkhurst, the passive lecture school was transformed into an active laboratory where children could freely express their innate interests. This movement known as la escuela nueva (new school), was characterized by the how focusing on the methodological processes and comprehension rather than on the how much or memorization of facts. Whole language was introduced in the language arts as parallel to phonics.

Though educational change was greatly influenced by Europeans, the purpose was to integrate new theories in a framework that recognized characteristics that were unique to the Chilean fabric by incorporating German postulates known as Heimatkunde. To implement this principle, schools were divided into rural (co-educational), urban, farm, and boarding schools (having a family regime created for orphan students and pupils who lived at a distance inappropriate to attend school daily.)

Though emphasis was centered on elementary education based on the promulgation of Primary Education General Regulations, secondary schools and adult education benefited and dramatically improved.

Provincial Education Councils oversaw the participation of land owners who agreed to donate land to create schools in the regions, while industrial zones' participation was requested to implement adult and regular public education. In both cases when mandates were violated the government fined the responsible party.

In 1928, two new educational systems were adopted in the country: escuelas experimentales (experimental schools) and escuelas modelo (model schools). Innovative experimental schools were instituted in Chile in 1928, the second country in the world where they were adopted, after Italy where they were created in 1923.

Two types of experimental schools were incorporated: the limited schools where a foreign specific plan or program had to be tested in a Chilean context; and broad schools where a variety of methods had to be tested previous to their adoption. Model schools, on the other hand, had to adopt methods and plans that were already tested by experimental schools. Rural schools were envisioned as temporary, which objective was to be turned into regular schools after certain standards were achieved.

The coeducational system was introduced partially for preschoolers, first and second graders, and rural schools.

Binet, Simon, and Dearburn Psychological tests were incorporated into schools to offer schooling appropriate to the pupils' needs. Unfortunately, and due to political conflict, the ideal school system that had begun to be implemented so successfully was abruptly ended by Ibañez's government, 1929-1930, declaring teachers revolutionaries. Chilean education suffered deterioration, offering minimum opportunities to students by reinstating archaic systems. Nevertheless, extensive systematic documentation on the adoption and assessment of these innovative programs was collected that not only became historical documentation, but educational material for the coming generations.

The creation of the Junta Nacional de Auxilio Escolar y Becas (national council for school aid and scholarships) in 1953, started programs in public schools that were two folded: to indirectly contribute to poor family income and to motivate students to remain in school and reduce dropout rate.

A more populist movement began during the decade of 1960, governments that concentrated on educating agrarian workers. The reform was influenced by the Christian Democrat party guided by a religious doctrine that reconciled church and state as participant forces with a common objective—education for the poor. Though elementary education continued having adequate support, the objective was to expand what had been accomplished searching for an articulation of elementary and secondary levels. The idea of experimental schools was retaken, nevertheless, it was applied to secondary education, that had remained traditional for almost a century requiring modernization to expand serving the national population.

The influence of Paolo Freire's teaching methodology contributed to the emphasis given to adult education during the presidencies of E. Frei, (1964-1970) and particularly S. Allende (1970-1973). Previous to this time, adult education had had no notable advancement for half a century.

The Pinochet era, in terms of education, is known for its reduction of educational funds from the national budget and its increase to defense. The development of subsidized non-sectarian schools imposed a new conception of schooling, which at the same time contributed to reduce the government expenditures opening to school privatization. The reduction of educational expenditures was systematic between the years 1975 and 1990. It was a phenomenon opposed to what was happening in democratic countries where priority to education predominated. The financial framework contributed to the deterioration of education in Chile.

Since 1988, the Sistema de Medición de la Calidad de la Educación or SIMCE, (Education Quality Measurement System) has been applied to all elementary schools in the country. Tests are given to fourth and eighth graders alternatively every other year to assess academic performance of students in the areas of Spanish and mathematics. It has been argued that variables such as family income, geographical residence, and the system to which students attend (private versus public schools) have an impact on the results. Due to these circumstances, and based on scores revealed by the instrument, the Ministry of Education has developed a number of projects to cover the needs of the populations who traditionally score low.

Since 1990, a special program known as P-900 offers extra infrastructure and economic support to 900 schools that show the lowest scores at the national level, has been implemented. Simultaneously, Talleres de Aprendizaje or TAPs (learning workshops), have been developed to offer remedial education to at-risk students at the elementary education level. These workshops meet twice a week beyond the regular school schedule, and are monitored by high school graduates trained for the purpose.

Additionally, Rural Programs in the Escuelas Multigrado Incompletas (multigrade incomplete schools) that house children of varied ages at different school levels, offer from preschool to secondary education according to the zone demand, have been created.

Special Education: Special education schools were created by European expert educators who were hired by the public education ministry to incorporate the most advanced techniques for the different needs during the decade of 1920. The school for the deaf located in Santiago, for example, was developed by Belgians whose global method of demutation was the most advanced in the world; at the time, Chile became the first foreign country to adopt the method.

Special education was an active part of the Compulsory Primary Instruction Law and the 1928 educational reform that incorporated new methodological practices. Besides, the deaf schools, schools for the blind, and for the mental deficient were expanded. Psychology clinics articulated their functions with the new pedagogy, training teachers to understand and apply psychological testing that was newly adopted (Meyers, Gooddeaugh, and Binet-Simon.)

Special education offers study programs to students between 2- and 24-years-old, at three levels: preschool, elementary, and vocational. The curricula of studies are directly approved by the Ministry of Education.

Two modalities of special education are offered in Chile: Educación Especial in special schools and Differential Groups to students who attend traditional schools. The former is imparted by highly specialized professionals in schools offering programs designed for particular purposes attending the needs of children who suffer from: mental deficiencies, visual, hearing or language deficit, motor skills and relation, and communication impediments as diagnosed by professionals through certified organisms. The latter is offered as parallel programs in regular schools assisted by psycho-pedagogues to students who have learning deficiencies related to reading and writing affecting literacy and/or numeracy. Normal intelligence should be demonstrated through testing in order to be included in this category.

Private Education: Two types of private schools offer education in Chile. Non-sectarian schools, which demonstrate special interests such as bi-national schools where the primary language of instruction is not Spanish are offered. These schools were originally created in Chile to keep tradition and language alive among immigrants. Later on, these schools became popular among students whose interest is to fluently learn another language and culture. The main method of instruction is bilingual education where total immersion is applied. A second type of private education is imparted by religious schools run by religious congregations. A percentage of these schools also offer international education and bilingual instruction. Private religious schools are viewed by people as rigid systems, where respect and classic traditional education is maintained.

Reforms have not negatively affected private enrollment, to the contrary, during the last fifty years private education has raised its relatively high stable enrollments. The current percentage of Chilean children aged 4 to 18 registered in private education is of 10 percent.

Secondary Education: Chilean history recognizes Seminario de Santiago as the first secondary institution funded in 1608 in the territory. However, this religious institution graduated priests exclusively.

The first secondary school not having the sole purpose of graduating priests was the Convictorio de San Francisco Javier, a religious Jesuit institution intended for the upper class of Spanish lineage during the early colonial period. This school was closed when the Jesuit order was expelled by the Spanish king from his territories in 1767. While colonial education was scarce, the kingdom authorized a second secondary institution during the same year, the Convictorio Carolino, recognizing the need for educating Spaniards who lived out of the Iberian Peninsula. All these institutions were boarding schools. Other secondary schools were created during the last two decades of the century and early 1800s, though all of them were regented by the clergy.

The first secondary public institution was created by the Junta de Gobierno of 1813, August 10, in Santiago. The initiative unified four previously private secondary schools, Convictorio Carolino, Academia de San Luis, the Seminar, and the division of education of the Real Universidad de San Felipe to create the Instituto Nacional. The newly created institution turned into the most prestigious national secondary school for males.

The creation of secondary education in the country was originally aimed at attending universities. Based on the rigid encyclopedist model, secondary education was predominantly authoritarian offering a rigid curriculum reflecting the European models, particularly the French one. Reflecting this European influence, secondary education has been referred to as liceo (lyceum) in the country. The first private secondary school for girls was created in 1823, and the first public institution in 1891 in the city of Valparaíso.

The new century brought national political radical movimientos gremiales (labor unions), urbanization, and industrialization leading towards democratization and influencing the adoption and modification of new pedagogical theories predominant in Europe. These conditions offered the ideal framework to create experimental secondary schools where theoretical models could be applied and tested, and at the same time, to serve as professional development for pre-service teachers. Experimental schools were administered by pedagogical institutes that were well known at the time as professional innovators.

The year when the Ministry of Education was created, 1927, the government transferred the administration of secondary education from the university to the officially recently created Ministry. During this period, for the first time the concept of technical-professional education was incorporated in a modality proposed as liceo integral in 1928, where humanistic tradition was viewed as different from the productive reality of the country in a first effort to implement it.

The last two years of general Carlos Ibáñez del Campo reign in power (1930-31) were particularly repressive against unionized educators who had played a preponderant role in the national pedagogical advancement. Schools were closed, the systems partially abolished, and teachers incarcerated—accused of provoking civil disobedience.

In 1940, the escuelas consolidadas were specifically developed in rural areas or urban poor neighborhoods to attend the needs of a growing population to continue their education. The post war movement influenced Chilean education creating technical-professional training as an alternative to the traditionally humanistic secondary education that to the time predominated as a model. Unfortunately, the nitrite crisis impacted greatly Chilean economy, obligating the government to reduce public expenditures.

New economical stability in the country during the 1960s permitted the government to expand education to certain sectors. The population growth demanded a system that required new facilities, hence the instauration of escuelas completas provided the possibility to continue education for 12 or 13 years at the same public institution.

Upgrading elementary education to 8 years required restructuring the secondary educational system. As secondary education was reduced to four years, it was strictly necessary to reallocate funds to optimize its infrastructure.

Preparatory Secondary Education: Secondary education remains characterized by a tracking system based on abilities and goals that prepare students to continue studies in higher education. Core classes are offered as common plan for the first two years; while the last two years emphasize either scientific or humanistic content to better prepare students for higher education within the disciplines they have chosen.

The Academic Aptitude Test is a standardized exam offered nationally and simultaneously to all students during the last semester of the twelfth grade. The Prueba de Aptitud Académica (PAA) was administered for the first time in 1970. This is the culmination of secondary education requirements.

Private school students obtain better scores than public school attendees. This fact has been observed as discriminatory from the part of some sectors conducive to fill vacancies to register in higher education institutions reserved for the best students. On the other hand, those who support this process of selection claim that due to the limited resources of the country, authorities cannot afford to open universities for everyone, hence, higher education institutions have to search for predictors reliable to ensure graduating students who respond to more rigorous curricular demands than those expected in secondary education.

The process of pre-selecting students to attend higher education begins with the publication of Listas de Selección (score lists), which are of public domain. The PAA's scores (verbal, math, and specific knowledge in the areas of history and geography of Chile, biology, social sciences, physics, mathematics, and chemistry) are currently published by the newspaper La Nación, the third Sunday of January every year.

Higher education institutions have the right to pre-establish a cap, which limits the number of students admitted to a competitive selection. Grades, and/or additional tests of pre-selection including, in some cases personal characteristics established as compatible with the profession, are additional requirements to apply to some professions.

In 1970, about 49.0 percent of Chilean adolescents attended secondary schools as compared to 75.0 percent in 1989, and 81.8 in 1998. As of 1998, the retention rate was 87.1 percent, the repetition rate 7.9 percent, and the dropout rate was 5.0 percent. By 1995, about 58 percent of secondary students attended the scientific-humanistic modality in the country.

Secondary Technical-Professional Schools: The first secondary technical institution recognized in the territory was the Academia de San Luis, founded in 1797. This modality though scarce, as most institutions during the colonial times, was also regented by religious organizations.

Between 1939 and 1941, there was strong support from the part of the government as well as from the part of Chileans en general to promote and establish Educación Técnico-Profesional, an educational modality directed at inserting secondary graduates into the labor force having specific skills received systematically though a well articulated curriculum, activities and assessment. People perceived this modality, from the beginning, as practical, particularly by those sectors where apprenticeship had been a tradition, and who had not contemplated higher education. This new education was accepted as a way of stepping up in socioeconomic terms.

Focusing on different specific purposes, the most common types were commercial schools, industrial, agricultural, and vocational for girls.

This modality, that had gained many adepts until Allende's government, attained 36 percent of secondary students in the country. Matriculation in secondary technical-professional schools was dramatically reduced to 19 percent as a result of the policies applied by the military educational reform directly affecting popular classes. The educational reform of 1980, changed their traditional names to Liceos técnico-profesional. During the period, more than 50 percent of these schools were transferred to private companies for their administration to reduce government's expenditures in education in addition to their municipalization. Privatization was adjudicated by means of contracts regulated by the Ministry of Education.

As a result of allocating extra funds from the part of the democratic government, matriculation in secondary technical-professional recovered to 35 percent in 1990 to reach 42 percent in 1995. The repetition and dropout rates in this modality have been higher than in scientific-humanistic schools during the 1990s, reaching an average of 12 and 7.5 percent. In 1999, industrial and commercial schools have been the most frequented by students, 43 and 36 percent, respectively.

Adult Elementary & Secondary Education: The reform of 1928 incorporated evening and night schools for adults. They were organized in two categories: de alfabetización (for literacy) and escuelas complementarias (complementary schools) designed for adults of both sexes to give them the opportunity to begin or continue their studies while working. The main innovation introduced by this reform was turning the school into a center that bridged students and the labor market. This objective included looking for contracts that satisfied students' interests while matching their training.

From 1965, the Christian Democrat government centered its interest on agrarian reforms. The government created centers to organize peasantry to receive land that was confiscated from owners who did not work it. As an extension, the government adopted the responsibility to educate new farm workers to become autonomous. Organizations such as Corporación de la Reforma Agraria, (Corporation for the Agrarian Reform), Instituto Nacional de Capacitación (Training National Institute), Consejo Nacional de Promoción Popular (National Popular Promotion Council), and Servicio de Cooperación Técnica (Service for Technical Cooperation) among many others promoted cooperativism, peers support and mainly education, from literacy courses to technical agrarian training.

Some sectors adopted for adult literacy education in the country a new method developed by Brazilian educator Paolo Freire that focused on social participation known as education for liberation. The Church adhered to the cause, though separated from the political forces that involved ideology, contributed to educating disenfranchised classes. These innovations were implemented during the complete Christian Democratic presidential period (6 years.) Legislation on adult education systematized, articulated (between elementary and secondary adult education) and organized schools into educación vespertina (evening education) and nocturna (night school) utilizing public infra structure destined originally for elementary and secondary children education. For the first time, public buildings were used to their maximum capacity.

To the year 2000, public Adult Education serves persons of all ages from 15 years and over free of charge at a national level. These students obtain the same benefit school children have regarding reduce fares on public transportation to facilitate attending schools. In addition, the Centros de Educación Integrada de Adultos or CEIA (Adult Integrated Education Centers) offer classes to stop-outs, of the ages established by the law, also during the day.

The first Chilean University was founded August 19, 1622. Governed by Dominican priests, the Santo Tom s de Aquino University's curriculum was mainly directed, as most universities at the time, at theological studies conducive to clergy and sacerdotal professions, including the arts, at the levels of baccalaureate, master, and doctoral degrees. The curriculum was organized as trivium or cuadrivium, according to the conservative scholastic tradition. The former incorporated grammar, logic and rhetoric, while the latter included geometry, music, mathematics, and astronomy.

After a century, and due to political circumstances, Phillip V, king of Spain, authorized on July 28, 1738, a teaching and cloister university, named in his honor Real Universidad de San Felipe. As compared to the first higher education institution, the new one expanded its studies to law, medicine, and mathematics, as its counterparts located in other viceroyalties in the Americas (Peru and Mexico) and Salamanca, Spain.

The foundation of the Universidad de Chile took place in 1842. This institution partially incorporated the disciplines offered by the Universidad de San Felipe when by law the nobility titles were banned in the republic, adding disciplines that had developed to supply contemporary academic needs. This university has been historically considered a blending between the academic European tradition and the national Chilean character. The Universidad de Chile developed campuses at different national geographical locations, making it until 1988 the largest national university in the country.

The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, the first private institution, was founded in 1888, governed by the Catholic Church. As well as its public counterpart, it expanded to other locations beyond the capital city where it was originally established.

The second public higher education institution was created in 1952, Universidad Técnica del Estado (UTE), offering a shorter curriculum on technical professions as compared to other universities to supply the country's needs for specialized highly trained technicians.

The Christian Democrat government of 1965 reformed the most traditional system to survive the strictness of the previous century in the country: university education. For the first time in the history of Chilean education, students and academicians could participate in the process of decision-making within the higher education system. This reform was known as the democratization movement.

Until 1980, there were eight universities in the country that had multiple campuses in different geographical areas of the national territory. Two were public, Universidad de Chile and Universidad Técnica del Estado, while all others were private. The authoritarian reform of 1981 stratified and segmented the Chilean university system. Regional branches of the two public institutions became separated independent universities (17); additionally, the government authorized the creation of private new universities (42 during the first year). The original higher education institution central offices conserved their names, with the exception of the Universidad Técnica del Estado that changed its name to Universidad de Santiago, and are currently known as traditional universities. Chilean higher education gained prestige in the Latin American context, the University of Chile and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile currently offer international programs in areas as varied as engineering, medicine, commerce, and education.

In 1999, there were 66 universities in Chile, and 200 other higher education institutions had been authorized. Nevertheless, during the 1990s the Ministry of Education did not accredit the 5 universities and 6 professional institutes.

Chilean Higher Education is defined as postsecondary education and is offered at three types of institutions: Universities, Professional Institutes, and Centers for Technical Formation. Traditional universities created before 1981 are subsidized by the government while those private institutions created after the reform are financed by tuitions and fees, including Professional Institutes and Centers for Technical Formation.

Alternative Higher Education: Establecimientos de Educación Superior de las Fuerzas Armadas y de Orden (Armed Forces Educational Institutions) grant technical and academic degrees adequate to their specific military functions that are equivalent to those similarly granted by regular higher education institutions offered to civilians. Institutos militares are educational institutions offering alternative higher education restricted exclusively to Chilean citizens. In Chile, even though these institutions are not affiliated to universities, but to the Ministry of Defense, they fall under the category of educational institutions granting postsecondary degrees. Therefore, they are also governed by the Ley Orgánica Constitucional de Enseñanza (Constitutional Educational Organic Law) of 1980 that establishes institutional autonomy, academic freedom, and political independence for higher education institutions.

Administration: Higher education is overseen by the Consejo Superior de Educación (Higher Education Council): an autonomous body where all areas of higher education are represented. The main functions of this council are to supervise the official accreditation of higher education institutions as established by the law, to accept or reject curricular programs proposed by the Ministry of Education, and to decide on appealing cases by elementary and secondary schools on study programs rejected by the Ministry of Education. This council is presided by the Minister of Education; three members represent the three types of higher education institutions; three members of the national scientific community are nominated by the two other national councils; one judge from the Supreme Court; and one representative of the Armed Forces Commanders. Additionally, a technical secretary is elected by the members of the council. The Rectors' Council, on the other hand, oversees the traditional eight universities and those created from their regional branches.

Budget & Finance: Historically, higher education had received stable financial government support, that had been increased according to its needs. Nevertheless, between 1970 and 1989 this budget was reduced dramatically to almost half of its original total of 30 percent assigned from a fiscal national budget to 17 percent. By privatizing institutions, the reform liberated the government from assigning financial support to practically half of these institutions. Since the political system returned to be a constitutional system, the three democratic elected governments put emphasis on increasing the fiscal budget to restore the quality of higher education. Currently, the government resources are assigned in two forms, direct and indirectly. Both are granted to traditional universities, in addition to the Institutional Development Fund, University Credit, fee scholarships, and the National Commission on Technological and Scientific Research (Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica or CONICYT). Private universities on the other hand, are limited to apply for the indirect government budget and CONICYT's. Finally, the Centros de Formación Técnica (Centers for Technical Formation) and the Institutos Profesionales (Professional Institutes) can only apply for the Indirect government budget. Of the total national budget for education, 18.1 percent is allocated to higher education.

Admission Process: Until 1966, all traditional eight universities selected their students based on a set of tests known as bachillerato. Examination commissions assigned by the Ministry of Education visited the places where students had to be tested on areas chosen by the candidates consisting of written and oral tests in humanities and sciences.

The Prueba de Aptitud Académica verbal (Spanish), mathematics, and Chilean history and geography are administered once a year. This is a standardized test required by all universities and institutions of higher education in the country. Minimum scores are set, nevertheless, other standards apply in addition to this score. Grades from secondary education, Specific Standardized tests in one or more of five disciplines offered: biology, chemistry, physics, social sciences, and math, and in some cases, internal testing (psychology tests, spatial orientation, vision and auditory, etc.) after pre-admittance to some professions and careers are also required so as to complete the application process. The process is highly competitive, as well as the retention rate based on performance of higher order skills. Traditionally, during the last century, it has been observed that two are perceived as the most prestigious universities in the country capturing students whose academic performance has been exceptional: the Universidad de Chile and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

The length of professional studies vary according to specific curricula between 5 and 7 years. A new proposal presented to higher education in Chile suggests the incorporation of core curriculum for all university careers, increasing an additional academic year of education is currently in the process of analysis.

Cátedras (classes offered at the higher education level) are taught by catedráticos, (faculties/professor) also known as docentes (faculties), individuals whose professional preparation, advanced degree and experience, qualify them to teach classes at a higher education institution. Twelve percent of faculties hold doctoral degrees at universities in the country, which is proportional to the pyramidal educational stratification of the nation.

In addition to the core curriculum, and after approving all courses, the memoria de titulación (thesis) and a práctica profesional (practicum or supervised internship) are the last requirements for graduation for all careers, undergraduate as well as graduate degrees. The memoria is a scholarly research work relevant to the curricular specialty, within a higher educational institution, students have to write during their last year of studies. Students carry out the práctica profesional as an activity with the purpose of demonstrating articulation between relevant curricular aspects in their major and the incorporation of theory to concrete situations. These two activities vary in length from a semester to a year as established by the institutions.

Licenciaturas, magisters, and doctoral degrees are offered in the country, nevertheless, they are limited to some professions and careers, and they are limited to a reduced number of participants. Higher degrees (particularly doctorates) are limited to professionals who have demonstrated solid advancement in their careers, leadership, and commitment. These degrees are well known for their curricular demand. Magister and doctoral degrees are considered postígrado and demand to hold a baccalaureate degree; nevertheless other alternatives are offered to higher education graduates such as: postítulos, especializaciones, and actualizaciones that consist of official studies directly related to the degree held shorter in time as compared to postígrados.

In 1989, about 10.0 percent of the population between 18 and 24 years old enrolled in higher education. In 1998, from the total students enrolled in higher education, 71.2 percent attended universities, 15.3 percent attended Professional Institutes, while 13.5 percent attended Centers for Technical Formation. The higher education graduation rate in the country is of 9.1 percent, one of the lowest in Latin America.

Nominal fees according to family income are charged to students nationally. However, scholarships have increased during the democratic governments, for instance, scholarships have been offered to sons/daughters of teachers who are accepted into the teaching profession and who have demonstrated high academic performance. Low interest loans, on the other hand, have contributed to support students of low income families to attend higher education.

Educational Research: Research was very limited in Chile until 1960, when a number of programs of international cooperation were implemented. During the period previous to the military regime, research had increased in the country. The political military coupe episode of 1973 and subsequent dictatorship provoked a recess in this activity, international cooperation from all countries were discontinued, and the limited funds allocated by the government for the purpose were suspended.

As higher education was declared a "privileged situation" by the military regime, the system was intervened by the government provoking the rupture of the articulatory process of education. In the scientific areas, the phenomenon of brain drain, or exodus of scientists to foreign countries was accentuated due to the lack of resources. On the other hand, social scientists who were viewed as leftists, were prosecuted ending up on exile.

Due to repressive practices such as rectors assigned by the government, military personnel (who hadn't experienced university systems) were perceived as vigilant to the systems while researchers were perceived by non-academician military representatives as suspiciously attempting for freedom of expression. Private organizations, some under the umbrella of private higher education institutions, were able to continue conducting research particularly in the humanities and social sciences during the dictatorship. Additionally, the church and international organizations supported research dealing with controversial aspects the government did not approve sometimes acting underground.

To the year 2000, the National Commission on Technological and Scientific Research (CONICYT) administers the National Scientific and Technological Development Fund (FONDECYT) and the National Science and Technology Promotion Fund (Fondo Nacional de Fomento de Ciencia y Tecnología or FONDEF) that finance research projects on a competitive basis. Since the constitutional state was restored in the country, international cooperation has increasingly funded research at the national and international levels.

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