Mineduc will lease disused facilities of a subsidized private school to expand enrollment in Alto Hospicio

According to figures from the Ministry of Education, Tarapacá and Antofagasta are the regions of the country with the highest foreign demand for school fees, which, in turn, leads several of the communes located there to be the ones with the most quota problems. The pressure on educational establishments is such that in some cases there are simply no vacancies.

Coincidentally, the north of Chile is the area where migration has the most stuck the different services. The collapse in enrollment, then, different understandings attribute it precisely to this phenomenon.

That is why, they say in the Ministry of Education, one of its priorities for this year is precisely to expand school coverage in communes of the country where there are not enough vacancies. “For some years our educational system has had a problem of lack of educational offer in certain areas. We have a commitment to guarantee the right to education of children and adolescents. For this reason, as a ministry we have worked from the beginning to expand school coverage in sectors of the country where there are not enough places, as is the case in some northern areas, such as Alto Hospicio, where it is estimated that there are about 500 places missing”, details Marco Antonio Ávila, Minister of Education.

We have a huge deficit in school infrastructure in Alto Hospicio, which translates into hundreds of children ending up without enrollment. This is explained by two main reasons: the migration crisis that exponentially increased the demand, and also, for many years of absence of public investment in the sector”, contextualizes the mayor Francisco Ángel Garrido (DC), who details that together with the Mineduc they are working on three main lines: in the short term the leasing and reconditioning of a school that is currently in disuse; in the medium term, the installation of a second modular school; in the long term the installation of the permanent municipal school. “The challenge is to transform this enrollment crisis into a development opportunity for our community, providing more and better public education to our girls and boys,” adds the mayor.

The idea, as complemented by Minister Ávila, is to respond “as soon as possible” to the demand in the area. And here comes the novelty: as a short-term measure, The Mineduc will lease the disused facilities of an abandoned establishment that belongs to an individual to absorb the immediate demand.

Thus, from the same portfolio they say that this year efforts were made to identify spaces in the commune that would allow them to be adapted or leased for the operation of a school establishment. So they selected a property that, according to their calculations, would allow them to house a maximum of 595 students“with which the demand for enrollment in the area would be covered,” as they say.

They have knowledge of the negotiations that the facilities are disused rooms that belong to the Sagrado Corazón de Jesús subsidized private school, from the Bicentennial network and whose director and supporter is Lucía Cáceres (64), a teacher who has dedicated almost her entire life to the educational field. The owner of the property, in fact, is currently making some arrangements for these facilities, so Education has not yet defined how much (and if) they should invest in it. In the Mineduc they do not reveal how much the rent will amount to.

What they do say from the ministry is that The necessary procedures are currently being carried out for its prompt implementation, such as the request for permits, requirements of the Alto Hospicio Municipal Works Directorate and the adaptation works prior to the formalization of the lease. In this sense, the calculations say that it is expected that the works can be finished in December 2022 so that the building can begin its operation during the beginning of the 2023 school year, where the holder, if everything follows its course, would become the municipality.

For which students is this rental establishment designed? It is expected to absorb this growing demand for Chileans and foreigners. In the latter case, as has been the case for years in public establishments, either for already regularized migrants or those in an irregular migratory situation who have their Provisional Student Identifier (IPE)a unique number granted by the Mineduc for children and adolescents who do not have a Chilean RUT, but who want to join the educational system and that allows them to participate in the school admission and enrollment processes, certify studies and guarantee access to texts , food, school insurance and National Student Card (TNE).

But, it is said, the Ministry of Education has also devised two other solutions in the same Alto Hospicio, in the medium and long term. The first is that they are working on financing for the acquisition of a modular emergency solution. The project under development, they point out from the portfolio, considers a provisional school for levels from pre-kindergarten to fourth grade and it is expected that it can come into operation during 2023. This solution would allow to receive 980 students from the area.

In the long term, meanwhile, The municipality has a final school establishment project underway in the La Pampa sector, with registration for 1,200 students. For this, the Ministry of Education established coordination with its National Assets counterparts to obtain the free use concession and occupation permit for educational purposes.

The theory says that once the definitive establishment of La Pampa is finished -in about three years- the modular one will be dismantled, but, according to connoisseurs of the hospice reality, it is likely that this will not happen and the three will end up operating in parallel for the sustained population growth and enrollment demand.

Mineduc will lease disused facilities of a subsidized private school to expand enrollment in Alto Hospicio – La Tercera