Education for democracy.
Salvador Allende Gossens.


Therefore, these are, in general terms, the tasks that we have traced. Meanwhile, and in a very tight form, I want and it is right to make it, since I have had the deference of Education Minister companion of not speak so that I could have more time, to emphasize that we have faced a task that represents the following:

In the kindergarten teaching we have increased the attended population in a 18%, with regard to 1970, what means 10,000 new children who will get kindergarten teaching. In the general and basic teaching, the increase reaches 140,000 children. In the middle teaching there is an average increase in 15%, what means 50,000 pupils more regarding 1970. In the university level, the revenue to the first year has increased in an 83%, making possible to increase it even more. The total enrollment has reached an increase of 28%. In the year 1969-70 this increase was only of 8%. The university budget was increased in 24% in real terms.

School constructions: between 4th November 1970 and 15th March 1971 we have built 993 classrooms, with a total of 85,289 square meters. And we fight so that in April the construction of 1,618 classrooms with a total of 118 thousand square meters is totaled.

Social benefits: the luncheons in relation to 1970, means that in 1970, during 150 days, 391,000 children had rations. In 1971, and during the same days, there will be rations for 600 thousand children. With regard to the breakfast, in 1970 1,250,000 children got it; in 1971 1,800,000 children will have it. We must add to this the milk half liter that every Chile's child will get. In 1970 we granted 38,295 scholarships, this year will be granted 60,000.

In 1970, had attention hogareña 2,500 children got family assistance; this year 5,000 will have it. Study presentations: there were 8,300 children in 1970 and the same number this year, but increased in real terms in a 34.9%.

Scholastic wardrobe: in 1970, 128 thousand overalls and 128 thousand brushers were delivered. The same quantity will be delivered this year, but, furthermore, we fight, and we want to reach it, we fight I say it again, to deliver to Chile's children, specially in the southern provinces, 500 thousand shoe pars, because we do not want to have barefooted children in our fatherland. Similarly we should increase the attention hours in the medical and dental fields, specially in this one, since it is a painful fact that every man can verify, professional or not, that dental attention in our country is extraordinarily unbalanced for adults, youths and children.

School colonies: in 1970 35,900 children were benefitted; this year 60,000. We do not forget that there are 900 Chilean thousand, older than 15-year-old, who did not went to school, what represents a 14% of illiteracy. And as we have spoken about an opened school and about the incorporation - though late - of them our compatriots, we are going to make true that said in Cuba: "The one who does not know, learn; the one who knows, teach". We will make a great crusade so that these compatriots who not due to them, but due to a regime, they did not even learnt to read, could do it. And it always will be time to open them a new spiritual horizon.


We indicate with deep satisfaction that this year we long to widely democratize the educational activity. For that rason we have already began, based on the Teaching Workers Only Union companions anxiety, the widest dialogue of the university community, of the educational community. And we hope that this ends in the Great Convention, where we could recast the discussions that will be performed in every settlement and in every level, so that an educational reform project authentically results, guaranteed in what parents, proxies, pupils and masters express with a wide and noble vision of the great task Chile claims.

We want to notify that through the responsibility attitude of the Teaching Workers Only Union, the just claims of the teachers have been satisfied, without the need of conflicts, which I estimate unnecessary to detail because I have conscience more about their own problems always to the Chile teachers who have been interested about the education and people problems.

Anyway I want to notify +that we have taken steps for the administrative decentralization, creating 10 regional coordinators, to make more effective the democratization and the planning of the teaching from the local and sectoral point of view.

An agreement through the State's Publishing has to be signed, and it's already working, together with the Publishing Company Zig Zag that we have acquired to save from bankruptcy and not as it has been said, to prevent publications. Because I say it here and it is fair to detail it: upon making that negotiation we have received the Zig Zag owners recognition yesterday, that they perfectly knew they were intended to a bankruptcy, not to mediate the Government's attitude which wanted that that company continued working, because it would be the base and the pillar to make possible the publication of new texts, books and notebooks, to deliver them in the cheapest forms and yet free for all the fatherland's scholars.

I indicate, as an important fact, the agreements of Chile's Education Minister, who representing the Popular Government subscribed, through the Minister, companion Mario Astorga, when he was in Lima in the meeting of the Andean Agreement countries and I want to read a part of his words because they have a transcendent and deep meaning: "The great political goal of the Andean cultural integration and of the Andrés Bello Agreement must be the conquest and affirmation of the cultural independence of the region countries".

The starting point of any politics must be the recognition of the fact that the Latin America countries are science and technology consumers and importers and the efforts should be centered to achieve the consolidation of a culture, a science and a common technology, national feeling without borders that opens the way so that someday America recovers its right to its own autochthonous culture and so that America could speak with a people and continental voice.


I'm interested in outlining that the Popular Government, respectful of the constitutional arrangements, knows and it is aware of the existing law in relation to the private education. It is Goverment's decision to observe and to make to observe such arrangements, integrating the private education to the national education system. With respect to the private teaching that provides free education, it is virtually integrated to the State's system, and its current rights will be maintained and perfected and we want it to operate in deign conditions, that their teachers may hold adequate remunerations and receive them regularly, that their facilities comply with the requirements that the children training process claims and that their courses will be optimum from a pedagogic point of view. Concerning private teaching establishments that impart paid education, the Government of the Popular Unity will also guarantee the respect and fulfillment of the constitutional and legal procedures, but they should be integrated to the national education system. We do not believe that it should be accepted that the education will be considered a business, and therefore, we will watch to control the collections made there so that, at the same time, the paid education not represents a segregation, from the cultural point of view, for Chile's children.

We will monitor those academic institutions or counsels, that offer certificates or titles that do not have any value and that offer to recover years of study through the high royalties payment. The Government will offer to the children and youths in irregular educational situation the possibilities of normalize their studies in fiscal schools, avoiding the proliferation of any kind of speculation, with parents' pain and hope, who long to adjust the educational situation of the children.


Finally, I want to say in general terms, that we will stablish the lines of the Popular Government in the education matter; we'll make a reality the Constitution mandate that confirms the existence of an educational system formed until today by the regular system of basic, middle and superior, fiscal and private education, which must be added as an integrated whole to a parallel education system to community, that attends the countless educational and cultural needs of the country population, of all the ages.

This system should include, under the Minister's authority, or at least under its coordination, all the educational and cultural initiatives disperse and limited: day care centers system, adults education, INACAP, Agriculture, Work, Health, Justice Ministry's and carabeeners body educational action, university extension, social development, culture houses, etc., etc. We want to project schools in the community and we postulate the fact that schools in the community are opened toward the community and put their material and human resources to the service of its development, organization and consciousness.


We conceive the teacher as a social worker and conscious agent and prepared in the great changes, especially in the most depressed communities, in which the social and family improvement is condition of an efficient pedagogic work. We nominate the year 1971 the year of the educational democracy. We propose the following ideas as new tasks, in order to guaranteeing this democratization or as development of what we have previously said: full administrative and technical authority to the teacher advice, converted into education workers counsel; training in each one of the scholastic community counsels facilities, signed by the teaching workers representatives, parents and proxies; together with neighbors, unions, cultural and student organizations when it proceeds, to concern about the general march of the facility and its relationships with the respective community.

We think this participation expresses the general democratization process of the country.

We think social processes are not stopped neither by crime, nor by force that we should walk toward the possibility of the fact that the establishments chiefs will be elected as an amplification of the trend begun in the universities or in the reformed teachers schools and as a means to commit teachers into their schools management and to break the resistances to the change that old tables management can not still jolt of old bureaucratic hobbles.

Unrestricted, as I said a moment ago, support to the National Education Congress, sponsored by the Teaching Workers Only Union, that will be accomplished around the end of this year, and in which all the discussion process already underway must culminate. We should deepen the scholastic assistance policy, delivering to the National Board of Scholastic Aid and Scholarships all the resources granted by law, especially, to develop the scholarship and homes programs, that have been practically frozen.


We should study an Economic Teaching statute that envisages, an only salary for teachers, with a 36 hours session, of which no more than 24 or 26 will be for classes and the remainders for other technical labors of administration and community, more triennium assignments, pedagogic studies and development years. But of course, at the same time, if we outline this as a longing, I think that in a so relegated country, I can not as President of the people, claim for the teachers voluntary work. I know perfectly well that if the coal workers have understood it and if in spite of their hard life and of the centennial exploitation they and their relatives are ready to work more, the same as the saltpetre and the copper workers, for the companies expropriated by the State, the teachers in this transition stage, will deliver without hesitations the necessary effort and sacrifice to open the horizons of Chile's people culture.

We understand the the in-deep redefinition of our education, has to be nourished with two sources: that of critical knowledge of the Chilean educational reality, by the consequent diagnostic of its problem, and the will of incorporating our education to the transition process toward the new society, that implies a commitment with the adopted national goals. We outline the scholar community for a discussion about tomorrow's man conception and the scool contribution to his formation, responsibility of the education system of the construction of a new society that we long s much.

Students, youths, children - the children present here perhaps do not understand what the hope that we deposit in them represents - if we are capable of changing the material means of their existence and if the father or the mother are each day, by a different existence, more fathers ans and more mothers, in the wide and mellow sense of the word and the school is continuation of the home, we have the right to think that those children who yesterday did not know about the didactic game of the paper neither the pencil, will be the tomorrow youths, who with superior responsibility will study more, to be better technicians, better workers, better professionals and better technicians, in a society that not separates the men by university titles and where they have the great responsibility of a work in the service of all.

Teachers, teachers of my fatherland, I've wanted to converse with you and to tell you how we trust in your support. You're depositories of a tradition that has placed the Chilean Teachers with an acknowledged prestige beyond our borders; you always knew about the hard hours, about the unknown and denied effort and work; you had martyrs who even offered their lives for longing a different life for the children; you are the great seam in which people trust to make possible, with your fighting presence the great transformations we long, because you are part of the child's mind, who will be the citizen of the future.

Beacuse of what you did yestreday and do today, me the President of the People and your companion, deliver my faith and my revolutionary hope in the revolutionary conscience of the Chilean teachers.

(Speech of the President of the Republic of Chile, Dr. Salvador Allende Gossens in the inauguration act of the 1971 school year, accomplished in Santiago 25-VII-1971, at the Stadium of Chile.)


Most recent revision: March 16, 2002.