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Chilean students throw rocks, get blasted by water cannons while protesting education system

Eliseo Fernandez / Reuters

Students throw stones towards riot police during a protest against the government in Valparaiso city, about 121 km (75 miles) northwest of Santiago, May 12. Thousands of students marched through the streets on Thursday to demand for changes in the public state education system.

The Santiago Times says: Unlike many other Latin American countries, Chile has one of the most privately-funded higher education systems in the world. Chilean university fees are among the world’s highest as compared to per capita gross domestic product (GDP).

Victor Ruiz Caballero / Reuters

International estimates for Chile’s per capita GDP in 2010 are between US$11,800 and US$11,900, according to the International Monetary Fund and the CIA World Factbook, respectively.

Victor Ruiz Caballero / Reuters

According to Times Higher Education, the fees for a public regional university in Chile are about US$3,200. The prestigious public school Universidad de Chile has fees of around US$8,000 and large private universities can go as high as US$9,600.

Roberto Candia / AP

“Chile is a very poor country, and it’s time for the government to start helping out its students financially,” José Manuel Morales, university senator at Universidad de Chile, told The Santiago Times. “The main goal of this demonstration is to get the state to take charge of higher education.”

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Victor Ruiz Caballero / Reuters