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“I am the owner”: Privatising everyday life in Chilean subsidised schools

Waterloo Bridge Wing, Franklin Wilkins Building, Waterloo Campus, London

18 Nov Aerial view of Santiago, Chile Part of CPPR Lunchtime Seminars

Dr Alejandra Falabella will talk about her recent study looking at privatisation in education in Chile.

In thinking about privatisation in education, Chile is an exemplary case. Under a neoliberal dictatorship in 1980s, pro-privatisation measures were implemented through a competitive funding formula. Today 54% of all schools are private state-subsidised institutions, managed by a diverse range of school owners, including the church, charity foundations, individual or groups of teachers and entrepreneurs. Despite the growth of this private-subsidised sector in Chile, and around the world, the private sector in education has been under researched.

The aim of the study reported here is to examine the life-stories of the private owners and the ways these schools are managed on a day-to-day basis. The study is based on 28 interviews of private-subsidised school owners, together with six in-depth school case studies. The findings of the research contribute to understand what is implicated in the ‘ownership’ of a school, including the sense of risk, of ‘life commitment’ and the claim for loyalty towards an ‘educational project’. The research outcomes reflect on the possible dangers of privatising policies for the nature of school democracy as a public good.

About the speaker

Dr Alejandra Falabella is an Associate Professor at Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Chile. Her main areas of interest are in sociology of education and the relationship between education policy, school practices and social class. Dr Falabella’s research draws on market and accountability policies, school privatisation and social segregation. Recently she has studied history of school markets and national assessment policies in Chile. Falabella is Associate Editor of Education Policy Analysis Archives.

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