ESU expresses its support to Chilean students’ protests

BRUSSELS  - The European Students' Union (ESU), the umbrella organisation for 45 national unions of students in 38 European countries, expresses its support for the struggle of the Chilean students for reforms of their national education funding model. Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson said: “Education is a public good and every student has a right to open and free access to quality higher education.”

Many Chilean students hit the streets in the last weeks to protest against the current situation in Chile. Public funding of higher education in Chile is below the OECD average. The burden of covering the full costs of studying, including tuition and living expenses, falls on students and their families who often cannot afford this.

Huge debts
According to the Chilean students, the quality of teaching in private universities and technical institutes is not properly regulated. Mainly students from lower socioeconomic background study in these institutions as lower exam results make it impossible for them to qualify for public universities for further studies. Päll continued: “Many students find themselves graduating with huge debts and a degree that is of little practical value to them in relation to the labour market. The legal measures proposed by the government are not effective enough as they do not tackle the main problem concerning the declining quality of the higher education in the country.”

ESU emphasizes its belief that quality education is a right, not a privilege and therefore advocates that free access to education is a public responsibility.  Every student must be free of any form of discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of students’ socioeconomic background. The statement concludes: “Therefore, we express our solidarity with our Chilean counterparts who stand up for their rights to accessible and quality education.” Full statement can be read here.

Published 25 August
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For more information, please contact:
Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson: +32479591499 or allan@esu-online.org or Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32473669894 or marianne@esu-online.org