Chile's Bachelet: Right Ideas, Wrong Reforms

Chile's Bachelet: Right Ideas, Wrong Reforms

President Bachelet returned to power in March feeling the extreme urgency of now. Her first 100 days in office have produced a flurry of proposed reforms aimed at positioning Chile to take the last leap upward to become a developed country in the Nordic image. A casual observer might wonder why Ms. Bachelet feels so much urgency. Chile is a member of the exclusive Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development club. Since 1990 its GDP per capita quintupled and poverty declined from 40 per cent to 15 per cent. Its educational results outpace the rest of Latin America. Still, Chile is one of the world’s most unequal countries as measured by the GINI coefficient. Its public funding for education ranks well below those of developed and many developing countries. Its student test scores rank near the bottom of the OECD in part because access to pre-school and quality, affordable education at all levels for the less affluent are wanting. Responsibility for monitoring and taking corrective action on how schools perform is uncoordinated and underfunded.

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