Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: PUCV and Red G9 hold a Quality Higher Public Education seminar

The rector Claudio Elórtegui stated that “as a country we are in a moment of constitutional discussion where, without a doubt, very important decisions have to be made in relation to higher education.”

The Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso and University Network G9, conducted this week the virtual seminar “Public Higher Education Quality”. The activity was moderated by the PUCV’s general director of Liaison with the Environment, Karina Toledo, and featured presentations by José Luis Guerrero, PUCV’s secretary general; Andrés Bernasconi, director of the UC Educational Justice Center; and Raúl Stegmaier, academic from the Department of Industries UTFSM.

In his welcoming remarks, the rector of the PUCV, Claudio Elórtegui, pointed out that the institution organized this seminar in a new cycle of virtual meetings of the G9 Network where topics of greatest interest to the national community are addressed. “As a country we are in a moment of constitutional discussion where, without a doubt, very important decisions have to be made in relation to higher education. This seminar aims to contribute within the framework of the constitutional discussion ”, he added.

“As a country we are in a moment of constitutional discussion where, without a doubt, very important decisions have to be made in relation to higher education. This seminar aims to contribute within the framework of the constitutional discussion ”- Claudio Elórtegui, rector of PUCV.

The resident of the G9 Non-State Public Universities Network, Rector Aliro Bórquez, of the Catholic University of TemucoHe had words of gratitude and congratulations to the PUCV for the excellent seminar focused on quality higher public education. “Obviously, the historical review made by Dr. José Luis Guerrero revealed the contribution that the G9 Network universities have made, in terms of public goods, which has clearly been recognized by the State in the different governments for more than 100 years. . Clearly, Dr. Bernasconi’s presentation showed that the quality of the higher education system is substantially enhanced by the freedom of teaching and the autonomy of the universities, since they offer a rich plurality of knowledge and visions in a diverse system such as the case of Chile ”.

The general secretary of the PUCV José Luis Guerrero made a complete historical and legal overview of the birth of traditional universities. In this regard, the academic from the PUCV Law School indicated that in the history of the Chilean university system, from the point of view of the offer of studies, three stages can be distinguished: an initial one from 1622 to 1888, a second between 1888 with a system mixed with public institutions and private universities recognized as collaborators of the educational work of the State and in 1981 a properly private provision was added.

“Dr. Bernasconi’s presentation showed that the quality of the higher education system is substantially enhanced by the freedom of education and the autonomy of the universities, since they offer a rich plurality of knowledge and visions in a diverse system as is the case de Chile ”- Aliro Bórquez, rector of the Catholic University of Temuco

“University studies in Chile date back to 1622 where religious congregations -Dominican and Jesuit- offered higher studies, transforming schools into pontifical institutions, to the extent that they were far from those of Mexico and Lima. The Pontifical University Santo Tomás de Aquino was created in Santiago, which had been in existence for 125 years until 1747. Later, due to the dispute between the Dominicans and the Jesuits, a royal university was created that opened its courses in 1758 called the Royal University of San Felipe in honor of Felipe V It had funding from the crown and was replaced in 1842 by the University of Chile “, University of Chile”, he specified.

Guerrero recalled that in 1888 with the creation of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile , a second stage began with a university system of double offer, but under the general public supervision of the teaching state, which recognized private institutions as cooperators of educational work by what constitutes a public education system in terms of the exercise of the teaching function of the State that is delivered by the University of Chile or by private universities that are recognized for their cooperative work in their educational work.

“Public universities are autonomous to the extent that the Constitution or the law allows them. There is no fundamental right of public institutions to be autonomous because they cannot claim rights with respect to public administration. The relationship of the university with the state administration is established by law. In the Chilean Constitution there is no university autonomy, it is the only country in Latin America that does not establish it in the document ”- Andrés Bernasconi, director of the UC Center for Educational Justice.


The institutions formed a network in the context of the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH) in 1954 to coordinate and support public policies, being known as traditional universities. Currently, it is made up of 27 institutions. This system was not altered by the 1981 reform, but rather added new private universities.

“All traditional universities, if we review their history, are born with a social objective, not for profit and seeking to expand access to university education, cooperating with the educational function of the State. This can be seen in its statutes. This has a correlation in their legal structure and they are recognized as legal entities under public law ”, he added.

The challenges of universities and the freedom of teaching
Raúl Stegmaier, academic from the Department of Industries of the UTFSM, addressed the evolution of the university system. “Universities must deal with the present, with the contingent, but also as a center of thought, to understand the future and anticipate this dynamic. The G9 universities have played a central role in that line. By 2021, a third of our youth population is the first generation university. The contribution we make in terms of mobility as actors in a society with greater capacity and greater abilities to face the objectives of the future, continues to be something very significant, “he said.

Stegmaier stated that the process where the development towards a public and quality education could be marked is related to two aspects: quality assurance, how institutions have generated mechanisms and decision-making instruments to advance and the other, the result: how we manage to address this challenge. “The G9 Network has made a huge contribution in research and innovation and others. It is necessary to advance in equity, in relevance at the regional level, in the enhancement of technical training, making the articulation models more flexible, ”he added.

“The private universities, on the other hand, exercise their autonomy by virtue of the freedom of education, the right of association and the autonomy of the intermediate bodies, their legal autonomy is protected by other guarantees. They are autonomous because they exercise freedom of education and their right of association. The law could not ignore their constitutional autonomy because they exercise their freedom to teach ”- Andrés Bernasconi, director of the UC Center for Educational Justice.


Finally, Andrés Bernasconi, director of the UC Center for Educational Justice , referred to Freedom of Education and Academic Freedom. “Public universities are autonomous to the extent that the Constitution or the law allows them. There is no fundamental right of public institutions to be autonomous because they cannot claim rights with respect to public administration. The relationship of the university with the state administration is established by law. In the Chilean Constitution there is no university autonomy, it is the only country in Latin America that does not establish it in the document ”.

“The private universities, on the other hand, exercise their autonomy by virtue of the freedom of education, the right of association and the autonomy of the intermediate bodies, their legal autonomy is protected by other guarantees. They are autonomous because they exercise freedom of education and their right of association. The law could not ignore their constitutional autonomy because they exercise their freedom of education ”, he concluded.



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