SANTIAGO – President Michelle Bachelet said on Monday that tuition-free university education will make Chile a “more just and supportive country for all.”
During a breakfast with students who earned the highest scores on the national university admissions test, Bachelet hailed the “good news” that some of them will benefit from free higher education.
Education, she said, should become “a social good.”
“We don’t want a single young person to miss the chance to study because his or her family doesn’t have resources,” the president said.
Tuition-free higher education was one of the main demands of the students who began taking to the streets in 2011 to press for an overhaul of an educational system still marked by the legacy of Chile’s 1973-1990 military dictatorship.
Bachelet put forward a plan that would cover 70 percent of the neediest students, though her administration scaled back the scope of the program in the face of an economic slowdown.
On Dec. 10, the Constitutional Court ruled against the government’s revised project, calling it “discriminatory,” and the Bachelet administration responded by expanding the number of beneficiaries.
The program will cover all state universities and non-profit private institutions that offer four-year degree programs.