Originally Written For I Love Chile
MICHELLE BACHELET, PRESIDENT OF CHILE, RELEASED THE CHILEAN MINISTER OF EDUCATION. THE CHANGE WAS A RESULT OF RECENT PROTESTS, AND PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF CONCERN ABOUT THE EDUCATION SYSTEM. HOWEVER, NICOLÁS EYZAGUIRRE WILL NOW BE IN CHARGE OF THE GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE PRESIDENCY.
SANTIAGO — The protests include thousands of Chilean teachers and students whom are unhappy with the current state the country’s schooling is in. Bachelet has already appointed a new Minister of Education to take over.
“I decided to appoint Adriana del Piano as the education minister, replacing Minister Nicolás Eyzaguirre,” Bachelet said on Saturday morning at La Moneda. Del Piano has a close friendship with the former president, Richard Lagos.
The President claims the new Minister will continue the work of the previous one. Chile’s education system has a reputation for being one of the most expensive and unequal in the world. However, the government is promising that certain universities will be free by 2016.
The education system still has a lot of on going opposition, regardless of the promises. The most recent student march was to push the former education minister Nicolás Eyzaguirre into allowing more debate and transparency within his decisions.
The marches are held not only in Santiago; there are protests in cities around the country. The teacher’s union is now 29 days into their working strike. Some schools will be closed indefinitely.
A student-union leader, Valentina Savvedra is demanding “democratic dialogue,” and for the ministry to end their “arrogance.” Many of the protests lead to violence. The Gendarmerie, or the military division of police has had to step in, which led to two student deaths in May.