From 2024, the regional SLEP will be in charge of the administration of 63 establishments in the 4 provinces: Magallanes, Última Esperanza, Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica.
At the Central House of the University of Chile in Santiago, the deputy dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Mathematics (FCFM), Marcela Munizaga, and the executive director of the Local Public Education Service (SLEP) of Magallanes, Mario García, signed a collaboration agreement that will have an impact on 15 thousand students in the region, representing 42% of the school universe.
Starting next year, the SLEP will take over the administration of 10 VTF nursery schools and 53 municipal schools, distributed in the 4 provinces: Magallanes, Última Esperanza, Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica.
With this challenge ahead, both institutions agreed on a work plan to strengthen the schools and the local service team in the areas of professional development, program evaluation, research and innovation in educational leadership, and school accompaniment models, among other items.
“This agreement is at the heart of what is the mission of the Universidad de Chile, which is to contribute to the development of the country, in this case, in something as fundamental as public education. This collaboration will be very virtuous and will be developed through the Center for Mathematical Modeling, which has 23 years of history and recognized social impact”, said the deputy dean of the FCFM, Marcela Munizaga.
For his part, the executive director of SLEP Magallanes, Mario García, emphasized that “we have a double challenge, we cannot fail ourselves who believe in public education and even less fail the more than 15,000 students who are currently in the municipal schools of the region. We cannot allow the luck factor to be decisive in the future of the students”.
“Knowing, moreover, that after a pandemic, the gaps in such critical subjects as socio-emotional, reading, writing and mathematics have increased, we cannot remain only with the diagnosis, but we must quickly begin to move forward, and that is what we are doing with this agreement. So that we can truly say, as soon as we start walking, that we are achieving a public, free and quality education for the beloved region of Magallanes”, he added.
Meanwhile, the director of the Center for Mathematical Modeling (CMM) of the U. de Chile, Héctor Ramírez, said that “we formalize a commitment that reflects our public vocation and our desire to support the strengthening of education for boys and girls in our country. This is a significant step, laying the foundations for a collaboration that will transcend in time”.
“At CMM, education is one of the most important lines because of the impact it has on society. And within this line of Transfer and Innovation is the ARPA program, which has always been very outstanding for the great work done by our researcher Patricio Felmer and his team throughout all these years”, he added.
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ARPA in Magallanes
The team of the Activating Problem Solving in the Classroom (ARPA) initiative of the University of Chile -part of the Center for Mathematical Modeling (CMM) and the Center for Advanced Research in Education (CIAE)- will be one of the protagonists in the execution of this agreement, especially in the professional development program for teachers.
“This program is focused on the installation of innovative pedagogical practices for the development of disciplinary skills and for the 21st century of children and young people in the Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica region”, explained the director of ARPA, Patricio Felmer.
He also received the 2011 National Exact Sciences Award and explained that “our competencies not only include mathematics, but also language, natural sciences and social sciences, all with proposals for pedagogical transformations that integrate teachers and directors in a process of installing new educational capabilities. These four disciplines promote cultural changes in the school, which we hope will result in active student learning and the development of new skills”.
The ceremony, which took place in the Ignacio Domeyko Hall, was also attended by the rector of the Universidad de Chile, Rosa Devés; the National Exact Sciences Prizes, Servet Martínez (1993) and Jaime San Martín (2023); and the governor of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica, Jorge Flies.
The latter emphasized that “there are two ways to be a developed country: a long one, which is the one that summons us, which is education, or a very forced one, which is through innovation and betting from above on the development of the country. In the region of Magallanes, we have defined, for years, that it is going to be a region of world science and we have acted accordingly. Something we had pending is to contribute to our second pillar, which is education. If we do it well with the Universidad de Chile, we can tell the country that it is feasible to provide our children with an education for the 21st century”.
What is a SLEP?
The Local Public Education Services arise through New Public Education, Law of the Republic No. 21.040 of 2017, which considers the conformation of 70 units throughout Chile for the State to manage the formerly municipal education campuses.
The main objective of the SLEP is to ensure the quality, continuous improvement and equity of the educational service, considering the needs of each educational community.
Currently, there are already 27 Local Services in operation, of which 11 have transferred educational services. Another 10 will be operational by 2024, including Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica.
By Alonso Farías Ponce, CMM journalist.