Chile: Protesters Criticize Gov´t Response to Education Crisis

Chile: Protesters Criticize Gov´t Response to Education CrisisSantiago de Chile, June 29. -Student and social leaders accused the government of using desperate measures to weaken the citizens' movement in defense of public education.

Education Minister Joaquin Lavin announced Tuesday that winter vacations would be held early, from June 28 to July 13, at 206 high schools taken over by students in the Metropolitan region.

That decision was harshly criticized by Jaime Gajardo, president of the Teachers Association.

Lavin should open a dialogue, a truthful national debate with the people, instead of making desperate moves or separate agreements with specific demonstrators, Gajardo said.

The government made a desperate move to try to dissolve the student movement, said Paloma Muñoz, spokeswoman for the National High School Students Coordinating Committee.

Despite those efforts, high school students will participate tomorrow in a march on the Alameda de Santiago as part of their second national strike against for-profit education, she said.

Students would continue taking over schools and mobilizing during vacation, she added.

The Chilean educational system needs far-reaching structural changes, said Camila Vallejo, president of the Chilean University Students Federation.

Vallejo highlighted the unity among high school and university students, teachers, rectors, workers, and citizens in general. (Prensa Latina)