On Tuesday, a big student protest was held on the streets of central Santiago taking over the street where the “Casa de la Moneda” lies.
These protests, demanding free tuition have been sporadical and happening since 2006. According to world news and education reviews, families in Chile have to pay 75 percent of costs for higher education, compared to the USA, where families pay 40 percent. There are also currently no public universities in Chile.
Although the government maintains and has a scholarship program, leaves half of those students helped without being eligible to attend certain universities.
These protests were sparked since Bachelet made a campaign promise to allocate $15 billion to overhaul the education and healthcare systems during her term. Resulting in $765 million of the 2016 budget going toward education.
Bachelet, the current president of Chile as well as the legislative system has been postponing finding a solution.
“Last year, Chile’s constitutional court rejected large portions of Bachelet’s plan to offer a free college education to half of the nation’s poorest students on grounds that requiring them to attend certain schools participating in the program could be considered discrimination. However, what remained of the plan allowed Bachelet to send 200,000 students from low-income families to college free of cost.” According to an article about the current demonstrations in Vice News.
Tuesday held a public demonstration, that was very energetic. The protests turned violent towards the middle when protesters began throwing rocks at police officers and officers backlashes with tear gas and water cannons.
I somehow found myself last week drawn to this huge crowd of students of all ages protesting for free tuition. Hope you all enjoy the pictures:)