The first law on compulsory and free compulsory education
in Chile came in 1920.
A strongly centralized education system was replaced by
decentralization and privatization in the 1980s school
reforms. The major political changes in Chile have had
little impact on the school, which has been governed by a
strong, stable middle class. Equal right to education has
been central for a long time. However, research shows that
there are major differences in the quality of education.
Large parts of the education program are private, in primary
and secondary school, more than 40% of pupils attend private
The compulsory elementary school is 8 years old and
starts when the children are 6 years old. It is divided into
two steps. The high school is 4 years old and is divided in
an academic and a vocational direction. About. 75% of pupils
in primary school continue in high school. See TOPSCHOOLSINTHEUSA for TOEFL, ACT, SAT testing locations and high school codes in Chile.
Higher education is built around universities,
professional institutes and technical education centers.
There has been a strong privatization of higher education
since 1980. Approx. 37% take higher education (2000). The
largest university is the Universidad de Chile in Santiago,
founded in 1843.
Adult illiteracy is estimated at approx. 4% (2000), which
is very low according to Latin American conditions.
In December 2003, General Manuel Contreras' case came to
court along with several other intelligence chiefs. The
background was the disappearance of 9 people during
Operation Condor, a joint operation among the military
dictatorships in Latin America in the 1970's. Against this
background, a new petition was filed with the Court of
Appeal for prosecution of Ex-dictator Pinochet, after it
appeared impeccable - and thus suitable for prosecution - in
Chile's former UN ambassador to the UN Security Council
in March 2004 accused the United States of espionage against
both the Chilean UN mission and several other countries in
the months leading up to the US attack on Iraq in March
Despite continued pressure from the Catholic Church, in
April 2004, President Lagos signed the law giving Chileans
the right to divorce.
That same month, the head of intelligence under the
Pinochet dictatorship, Manuel Contreras, was sentenced to 15
years in prison for the disappearance of journalist Diana
Aaron in 1974.
In July, the Permanent Investigation Commission of the
United States Senate criticized that while Pinochet was
arrested in London, the North American bank Riggs helped him
hide his fortune. Pinochet had 4-8 million. US $ standing in
the bank without the bank's management investigating the
origin of the money. Acc. North American anti-money
laundering legislation requires banks to investigate the
activities of their clients to ensure that they originate
from legal activities. In addition, Senate investigators who
investigated Riggs activities for more than a year found
that the bank had used companies and accounts abroad under
false names to conceal links with Pinochet.
Commenting on the US investigation into the relationship
between Riggs and Pinochet, President Lagos stated that: "If
the US investigations establish with certainty that these
accounts exist and are linked to Pinochet, then a commission
will likely be set up to investigate the circumstances
within the framework of the Chilean state ». Immediately
afterwards, Pinochet was reported for fraud and other
financial crimes due to the secret bank accounts in Riggs.
The complaint was filed by attorney Carmen Hertz, a widow of
a politician who was executed shortly after the coup d'etat
in 1973. The complaint was filed with the Santiago Court of
Appeals, accusing the ex-dictator of fraud with public funds
during his reign.