Do you want to move to Chile with children? Do you want to know how the Chilean education system works? The articles below will help you to better understand how it works, from nursery to higher education. And don’t forget that the school year starts in March and ends in June!


Chile has one of the best education systems in Latin America. Since 2003, education has been compulsory up to the age of 18. The State manages schooling and public education, but there is a choice between public and private education. The vast majority of Chileans go to public school (93%) while a minority go to private education (7%), which is considered to be of better quality.

The school is organized into several levels:

  • Parvularia (nursery and kindergarten equivalent), from 0 to 6 years old. In 2013, President Sebastián Piñera’s government passed a law making the last year mandatory in order to attend primary school.
  • Educación General Basica (basic primary education) corresponds to primary to 4th grade in France.
  • Educación Medida (secondary education) has been compulsory and free of charge since 2003. It includes four levels from 14 to 18 years old.

At the end of secondary school, students take the final exam: the Prueba de Selección Universitaria (PSU).


Higher education is composed of several kinds of schools:

  • Professional institutes: to obtain a higher technician title in fields that do not require a licence
  • Technical training centres: two-year training to obtain the title of higher level technician
  • Higher education institutions of the Armed Forces of the Navy and Order: they are intended for students wishing to join the army
  • Universities: there are universities in all professional fields to obtain a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree. The two most prestigious universities are the Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile and the Universidad de Chile.

All universities and technical schools charge tuition fees. The government offers scholarships for excellent students in need, but this concerns those studying in traditional universities.