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Children evaluate their schooling

ChilNet extract from La Epoca
6 November 1997

Only four out of every 10 school students agree the schoolday in Chile should be lengthened from half day to a whole day, said the results of a United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) survey released Monday and conducted jointly with the poll company Time. The extension of school timetables is one of the proposals included on the educational reform package announced last May by President Eduardo Frei.

Unicef representative Kristina Goncalvez said the aim of the survey was to discover the opinions of school students regarding their teachers, their school environment, friends, subjects studied at school as well as their depth of knowledge regarding Frei's education reform package.

When asked to evaluate the quality of education received at school, 70 percent of the respondents said it was extremely good. Meanwhile, 22 percent of children interviewed said the worst aspect of their schooling is "a bad infrastructure" and a quarter said they consider unmotivated and bad-tempered teachers as the worst part of going to school.

The poll reveals that children would prefer more extra curricular activities such as sports and computer work over traditional school activities such as reading and writing. Mathematics, however, is top of the list of preferred subjects, with 35 percent of the votes.

Education Minister Jose Arellano made a positive evaluation of the poll adding that children need to be informed regarding the education reform package which most of the respondents associate only with the extension of the timetable.

"They must also be informed about efforts to improve the equity and quality of the system, the extra support being given to teachers and the reorganization of the curriculum," said Arellano.

When asked about the reforms, almost 60 percent of the respondents said they were familiar with them. Of these, 82 percent said they learned about the reforms via television and not at school.

The poll was conducted between June and July among 900 children aged 10 to 15 in schools based in the cities of Santiago, La Serena and Temuco. Almost 60 percent of the children were from state-run schools and the rest were from subsidized and private schools. *

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