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Education Structure of Chile,Grading System and Academic Year in Chile

Education in Chile starts with school education, and then tertiary/higher education. School education in Chile comprises of preschool, primary and secondary schools. Primary and secondary education in Chile is compulsory to attend. Preschool is for children up to 5 years old. Primary education lasts for 8 years and secondary education lasts for 4 years. 

Higher education in Chile is offered by the universities, technical training centres and professional institutes. To gain admittance into the universities in Chile, students must have completed secondary education and pass an entrance exam-University Selection Test (PSU).

Structure of Chilean Education

Pre-higher Education

Period of Compulsory Education
  • Duration: 13 years
  • Entry Age: 6
  • Exit Age: 17

Preschool Education

Level: Sala cuna 
  • Ages: 85 days days old to 2 years old
Level: Nivel medio
  • Ages:  2 to 4
Level: Transicion
  • Ages: 4 to 6

Primary Education/Basic Education

  • Duration: 8 years
  • Grades: 1 to 8
  • Ages: 6 to 13
  • Certificate awarded: Diploma of basic education (Licencia de Educacion Basica)

Secondary Education

  • Duration: 4 years
  • Grades: 9 to 12
  • Ages: 13 to 17
  • Certificate awarded: Diploma of secondary education (Licenciado en Ensenanza Media) and for secondary vocational studies- tecnico de nivel medio is awarded. 

Higher Education

Level: Bachelor degree
  • Duration: 4 to 6 years (Depending on the field of study)
Level: Master’s degree (Magister)
  • Duration: 1 to 2 years
Level: Doctorate/PhD (Doctorado)
  • Duration: 3 to 5 years

Grading System

The 7-point grading scale is used, where 1 is the lowest grade and 7 is the highest grade on scale. The minimum passing grade is 4.

 GPA  % AchievementGrade description Honours 
 6.0-7.0 90-100 Outstanding Highest honours
 5.0-5.9 80-89 Good  Honours
 4.0-4.9 70-79 Sufficient Passed
 1.0-3.9 0-69 Deficient Failed

Academic Year

The academic year in Chile is divided into two semesters:
  • Semester 1: Commences in early March and ends in July
  • Semester 2: Commences in August and ends in December
Holidays:
  • Period of summer holidays: Starts in December and goes on until February
  • Period of winter holidays: Mid-July (2-week break)
  • Easter: 1 week in April
  • Independence commemoration: 1-2 weeks in September
The exact dates are determined by the Ministry of Education of Chile.

Language of Instruction

The language of instruction in Chile is Spanish.
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