2011–13 Chilean Student Protests

The 2011-2013 Chilean protests -- known as the Chilean Winter (in particular reference to the massive protests of August 2011) or the Chilean Education Conflict (as labelled in Chilean media) -- were a series of student-led protests across Chile, demanding a new framework for education in the country, including more direct state participation in secondary education and an end to the existence of profit in higher education. Currently in Chile, only 45% of high school students study in traditional public schools and most universities are also private. No new public universities have been built since the end of the Chilean transition to democracy in 1990, even though the number of university students has swelled.

Beyond the specific demands regarding education, there is a feeling that the protests reflect a "deep discontent" among some parts of society with Chile's high level of inequality. Protests have included massive non-violent marches, but also a considerable amount of violence on the part of a side of protestors as well as riot police.

The first clear government response to the protests was a proposal for a new education fund and a cabinet shuffle which replaced Minister of Education Joaquín Lavín and was seen as not fundamentally addressing student movement concerns. Other government proposals were also rejected.

Student protestors have not achieved all their objectives, but they contributed to a dramatic fall in Piñera's approval rating, which was measured at 26%-30% in August 2011 polls by respected Chilean pollsters and has not increased as of January 2012.