This post was originally published at the invaluable studentactivism.net.
Chilean student activists hold control of at least seven schools in the country’s capital this morning, following street protests that saw 75 arrested and three city buses burned.
The students are seeking to reverse the privatization of the country’s educational system that took place under dictator Augusto Pinochet, the Associated Press reports, rejecting government proposals to expand scholarships and lower loan rates as inadequate:
Mass demonstrations initially raised expectations for profound changes but more than a year after the first protests few students have seen any real benefits. Protesters say the system still fails families with poor quality public schools, expensive private universities, unprepared teachers and banks that make education loans at high interest rates most Chileans can ill afford…
Student leaders say real change will only come when the private sector is regulated and education is no longer a for-profit business…
“If we’re coming to this extreme, this level of anger among students, it’s because this government has been unable to have a dialogue and give us any answers,” said Gabriel Boric, the president of the University of Chile student federation.
Student leaders met on Tuesday with Santiago mayor Pablo Zalaquett, who has threatened protesters with the loss of their academic scholarships, but the talks broke down after only two hours.