Three decentralization strategies in two decades: Chile 1981‐2000

Ernesto Schiefelbein (Universidad Santo Tomas, Santiago, Chile, and)
Paulina Schiefelbein (Centrode Investigación y Desarrollo de la Educación, Santiago, Chile)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Publication date: 1 December 2000


In the past two decades, Chile has implemented three reform strategies that shaped its educational decentralization process, each motivated by different goals. In the 1980s, during the military regime, an economic model structured a voucher system that created incentives for parents to choose schools for their children. In theory, bad schools would improve in quality or go out of business. The second reform began in 1990 and was embedded in the transition from autocratic to democratic government. Sociologists were the intellectual authors of this initiative which focused on improving the working conditions of teachers. In 1994, the third strategy began with educational researchers focusing attention on the classroom effectiveness and the need for better instructional materials and improvements in the teaching/learning process. The continued study of educational decentralization in Chile is important because it represents the only nation in the world with a nation‐wide voucher system.



Schiefelbein, E. and Schiefelbein, P. (2000), "Three decentralization strategies in two decades: Chile 1981‐2000", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 38 No. 5, pp. 412-425.

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Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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