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Home >> World
UPDATED: 11:08, June 08, 2006
Chilean president names students to education reform panel
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Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday appointed a 74-member education reform panel, including 12 students, as part of her strategy to resolve the country's educational issues which have led to widespread student protests.

"I want all that spirit, all that energy, which has been shown (by students) demonstrating against the problems we have in education, to be channeled into debating the polices needed to resolve those problems," Bachelet said.

The Presidential Education Advisory Council will be made up of educational experts, teachers and 12 high school and university students. Juan Eduardo Garcia, director of Alberto Hurtado University's School of Education, will be appointed leader of the council.

The move was a further bid by Bachelet to quell the three-week-old demonstrations, run by Chilean secondary school students, who were demanding better school conditions, free transport and more help for poorer Chilean students.

Last week, Bachelet announced an emergency program in response to the student demands, which would cost Chile 60 million U.S. dollars to reform Chile's education systems.

The Assembly Coordinating Secondary School Students, which represents students from 800 colleges, said they would not stop demonstrating unless the new council was mostly made up of people who represent education.

Around 600,000 students took to the streets last Tuesday to voice their demands, with some 730 arrested and at least 28 injured.

Pictures of police beating school teenagers and clubbing reporters and photographers to the ground were widely circulated by local media, arousing indignation from the public as well as President Bachelet.

Chile has not seen student protests on such a scale since the early 1970s.

Source: Xinhua

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