WASHINGTON, D.C., October 20, 2017 – More than 382,000 students and 17,000 professors of public universities in Chile will benefit from a new project partially financed by a US$ 50 million loan approved today by the World Bank Board of Directors. The Project to Strengthen Public Universities in Chile seeks to improve the quality and equity of those universities and strengthen their institutional capacity to address the challenges of sub-regional and national development.
Over the past two decades, Chile’s higher education system has made notable progress, especially in terms of access, with coverage rates of 40 percent, surpassing those of several OECD countries. Even so, higher education in Chile faces important challenges in terms of quality and equity. These are reflected, for example, in the vast differences among institutions of higher learning, the salaries of their graduates, and in the high dropout rates.
The project will support all public universities in preparing and implementing long-term development plans that contribute to improving accreditation levels while respecting their autonomy. Additionally, it will help facilitate the secondary school-university-work transition of students, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable, through remedial programs, improved teaching and vocational counseling activities. It will also work to increase the relevance of these universities’ contributions to research and innovation and will promote the formation and consolidation of networks in topics of sectoral or regional interest.
“With this project, the World Bank seeks to contribute to improving the institutional quality of public universities, as well as to reduce dropout rates of students and increase financing for research projects associated with sub-regional and national development,” said Alberto Rodríguez, World Bank Director for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. “We hope that the project will have a positive impact, especially on the most vulnerable students,” he added.
Project financing totals US$ 375 million, of which the World Bank will finance US$ 50 million. The project is expected to be completed in 2022. The loan has a five-year implementation period with a design based on a program-for-results lending model. In other words, loan disbursements will be made once the public university system has implemented a series of actions and achieved concrete targets.
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