[QODLink]
Americas
Chile police clash with student protesters
Students pushing for more funding and reform of educational system to cope with high university fees.
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2011 09:51

At least 25,000 university student protesters have marched through the streets of Santiago, Chile's capital, calling for reforms in education, local news reported.

Police used water cannons to disperse demonstrators on Thursday, after some students broke through police barricades and others hurled stones at riot police. Fifteen people were arrested during the clashes, according to authorities.

The students have been pushing the government for years to boost education funding in a country with one of the highest university fees in the world.

Chilean university students receive only 15 per cent state funding, the lowest of all countries part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

When taking into consideration the average family income in Chile, university fees are nearly three times higher than the United States, Japan, and Australia.

Chile's president Sebastian Pinera has promised more scholarships and said that debt for 100,000 poor students would be recalculated, amongst other reforms, but student leaders say it is not enough.

"Today we are calling for the recovery of public education, equal access to education, quality, greater financing in the sector and, as always, regulation of the private sector and with greater involvement of the state to improve education to stop putting thousands and thousands of families into debt," Giorgio Jackson, Catholic University student president, said.

"We want greater participation from students, workers and teachers in the decisions being made at the universities," he added.

The student protest movement emerged five years ago in Chile under former president Michelle Bachelet. And there is little hope that Pinera will bring change to the education system.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.