Students in body paint shout slogans against Chile`s government as part of a rally to demand changes to the public state education system in Santiago September 2, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
SANTIAGO - The education committee of Chile`s senate Wednesday approved a draft law that seeks to eliminate state contributions to for-profit educational centers.
The passage of the law in the senate comes just days before a meeting between Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and the leaders of the student movement, who are demanding the government increase funding for state education and private schools not driven by profit.
The senate commission voted in favor of the proposed law, which was presented by opposition members in congress.
The law will now have to be debated in the senate`s plenary session before lawmakers will vote on its final approval. But the passage by the education committee offers students a strong negotiation tool when they meet Pinera on September 3.
Since early May, middle school and university students have held nationwide protests.
The approval of the draft law is a defeat for newly appointed Education Minister Felipe Bulnes, who defended giving funds to profit-driven education institutions. He argued in the congress that this would help offer a wider variety of educational choices.