Polarización y Cohesión Social del Sistema Escolar Chileno

Cristobal Villalobos, Juan Pablo Valenzuela


This research gives the magnitude, evolution and characteristics of academic and socioeconomic polarization in the Chilean school system. After examining the importance of the education system as a means of social cohesion, we analyze the implications of distribution processes of students in their education and the main background on the Chilean education system. Furthermore, the paper conceptualizes the notion of polarization, which is related to two aspects: the alienation or distance that students have with students different from them, and the identification or identity that individuals develop with others of similar characteristics. Using SIMCE databases from the last decade, we create and formalized three different indicators of polarization to assess the school system. The results show that the degree of academic and socio-economic polarization of the Chilean school system over the last decade has been constant, and in some cases increasing. Additionally, the measurement that determines the degree of polarization shows high levels socioeconomic and academic polarization, which is related to processes of fragmentation and clustering. These results show the necessity of analyzing the impact of educational policies on the processes of social cohesion and integration in the school system. This has to consider the importance of the school as a privileged place for these goals, as well as on the development of skills, values and cognitive thinking and noncognitive skills for all children. These results have been questioned from recent conflicts that have occurred in the education sector.


Polarization, social cohesion, system school

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