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Forum 27:

Privatization and Access: The Chilean Higher Education Experiment and Its Discontents

Held Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Forum Summary

In their lecture, Professor Gonzalez and Professor Pedraja will discuss how Higher education in Chile warrants the attention of all who are interested in what the public university should and can be in the 21st century. Chile experienced the most deliberate and comprehensive university privatization experiment in the world, with tuition reaching the limit of what the public will tolerate. Intense student protests calling for greater educational access have brought the issue to the forefront of the nation’s political discourse. Indeed, President Michelle Bachelet recently promised to make higher education available free of charge. This presentation by Cristina González and Liliana Pedraja will review the recent history of Chilean universities and current debates there regarding tuition and inequality. While focusing primarily on the Chilean experience, the presentation will also address parallels with the U.S. experience, including the ongoing discussion here regarding whether higher education is a public or private good, and who should pay for it.