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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 June 2006, 04:37 GMT 05:37 UK
Chile students reject reform deal
Students gather again in Santiago, 1 June
Students have been planning further action next week
Student leaders in Chile have rejected a government proposal aimed at ending the largest student protests in years.

The news was confirmed by the Education Minister, Martin Zilic, following a meeting with a group of student leaders in the capital, Santiago.

Mr Zilic said the students objected to the government's refusal of their demand that all students be granted free public transport.

The students are planning a national strike for Monday.

Last week saw two days of violent protests.

As well as free public transport, students want a university entrance fee to be waived. In the long term, they want a complete overhaul of the education system.

They say it lacks teachers and many schools even lack hygienic facilities.

Students want to see a return to central control rather than local municipalities, which leads to inequalities between rich and poor areas.

Deadline

President Michelle Bachelet responded to their demands by offering free bus passes and a waiver of university exam fees for the poorest students.

Michelle Bachelet
A big test for President Bachelet

One student, 17-year-old Federico Hernandez, said that while he agreed with offering free bus passes and university exams for those who needed help, he was angry that the president had still not set dates and a framework for long-term reforms to the education system.

This is the biggest test for Ms Bachelet since her election on a reform platform in March.

Since then, frustration has grown with the lack of progress she is making in talks with the students, says the BBC's Jane Chambers in Santiago.

In the last few weeks more than 100 schools across Chile have been taken over by disgruntled students and thousands more are on strike and refusing to attend school.

A number of university students have also taken over their colleges to show support.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the clashes on the streets of Santiago



SEE ALSO:
Deal offered in Chile schools row
02 Jun 06 |  Americas
In pictures: Chile student protests
31 May 06 |  In Pictures
Chile sees more student clashes
01 Jun 06 |  Americas
Chile students clash with police
31 May 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Chile
16 Jun 05 |  Country profiles


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