If you’re thinking about moving to Chile with your family, the school you choose could be an important factor to consider. There are plenty of options in Chile, especially in and around Santiago, whether you want to find a public or private school. Public schools in Chile tend to be of lesser quality than private schools in terms of facilities, supplies, and extracurricular activities, and they are not completely government-funded, meaning that the parents cover part of the cost of tuition. Private schools, on the other hand, tend to be much more competitive and up-to-date, and of course more expensive.
When looking for private schools, it’s important to differentiate between a Chilean private school and an international private school. Chilean private schools adhere to a national curriculum, and normally Spanish is the only language in which classes are conducted. Many private schools are religion-based, Catholic being the most common, followed by Baptist and Jewish. Sometimes the school requires that the students and their families are practicing members of that religion in order to enroll; this is usually the case for Chilean private schools rather than international private schools.
International private schools usually follow the standard curriculum, but also sometimes make their own additions. It’s also easier to find a school that offers a bilingual curriculum, making international schools a better option for students who aren’t fluent in Spanish. It’s possible to find K-12 schools that offer classes in English, German, French, Italian, and more.
Some Chilean private schools have a bilingual curriculum, but never past the 8th grade—they offer the last four years only in Spanish. The reason for this is that students are being prepared to take the PSU, or Prueba de Seleccion Universitaria (University Selection Test). This test, similar to the SAT in the United States, will help determine the quality of university a student is able to get into. Since the test is only available in Spanish, schools focus on teaching all material only in Spanish in order to improve PSU scores. If getting into a Chilean university is a part of your plans, this would be something to keep in mind.
Some people move to Chile for a job posting that will only be for a few years, and will have to choose a school that has accreditation from other schools overseas. Several schools in Chile are affiliated with specific countries, such as Colegio Aleman (German College), Colegio Frances (French College), Colegio British Royal School (British College), and Nido de Aguilas (an international school affiliated with the United States). It’s easier to find an international private school in Santiago or major cities in the north, but there are also some very good schools further south, such as in Temuco or Puerto Montt.
If you’re planning a move to Chile and need help searching for a school, public or private, feel free to send me any questions you have and I’d be happy to talk about it with you—click here to get in touch!