Education and Schools in Santiago
When considering a move to Santiago, parents have a variety of schools to choose from. Although the idea of exposing their children to Spanish teaching in the public sector may seem appealing at first, most parents ultimately opt for the assurance of quality education that comes with sending their children to one of the city's many international schools.
Public schools in Santiago
The standards of public education in Chile are generally adequate but, accompanied by the fact that classes are taught in Spanish, this means that the majority of expats living in the capital send their children to an international school in Santiago.
Twelve years of schooling is compulsory for all Chilean children. The majority of local children attend public schools in Santiago. There are also a number of private schooling options, but these schools are usually expensive.
Private schools in Santiago
Private schools in Santiago generally have a religious foundation. In some cases, families applying to the school will need to practice the relevant faith for their children to be considered for admission.
Like public schools, private schools follow the local government curriculum, although they have more freedom to make adjustments and additions to the curriculum. Unlike public schools, they are more likely to teach in a combination of Spanish and other languages. However, parents should be warned that the quality of non-Spanish teaching can vary greatly.
Costs in Chilean private schools can quickly add up. In addition to soaring school fees, parents may also have to budget for other expenses such as incorporation fees, annual enrollment fees, books, transport, uniforms and more.
International schools in Santiago
Santiago has a range of international schools catering to its expat community. In general, the standard of education at these schools is quite high and the majority of them follow the International Baccalaureate system, while others focus on an American or British curriculum.
Space at international schools is usually limited and parents are advised to make arrangements for their children’s schooling as early as possible. Standard documents required for application include the child's birth certificate and academic reports for previous years of schooling. Often the family will need to come in for an interview and sometimes they will be asked to provide letters of recommendation from previous teachers or personality reports from the child's previous school.
Fees can also be exorbitant at these schools, so expats moving to Chile as part of a corporate relocation should try to factor tuition costs into their contract negotiations.