Challenges for the Creation of an International Online University in a Controversial Environment: Chilean Higher Education System Case

Challenges for the Creation of an International Online University in a Controversial Environment: Chilean Higher Education System Case

Alejandro Vega-Muñoz (Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Chile), Michel Valdes-Montecinos (Universidad Arturo Prat, Chile) and Mónica A. Cruz-Tapia (Instituto Profesional de Chile, Chile)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6255-9.ch003


This chapter analyzes the controversial challenges faced by the Chilean university system for the creation of an international online university. Chile is a country with a neoliberal economic system, widely exposed to international markets, faces the need to internationalize its universities and expand its online offer, two copulative actions in essence, but which have not had enough advances, given the tensions within the university system of that country and the context conditions that surround it.
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Chile is a country where a neoliberal socio economy prevails (Zunino, 2014), which for four decades has given way to a decrease in the State's presence in the fixing of prices and deregulation of economic activities, an opening of international trade, and a privatization of social services (Bello, 2012). Paradigm of the political economy that over time has hardened its position regarding deregulation, finance forms, globalization and the emphasis on economic growth (Rodrik, 2018).

Thus, the Chilean context has led into a privatization of university education (Sanchez, 2016; Alarcón, 2017; Espinoza, 2017; Rodrik, 2017). And despite of country's commercial openness in international markets (Ortiz, 2004; Alarco, 2017; Jenne & Briones 2018) and high Internet connectivity (Subsecretary of Telecommunications of Chile, 2017), there is no an international online university in Chile (National Council of Education, 2018).

National controversies regarding the higher education system, in terms of access and quality (Vega et al., 2017), could be a precedent for this. But, in any case, in relation to the growth of the Chilean university system, the offer of online education is scarce and concentrated inside its (National Council of Education, 2018). And even more lacking that gives an account on compliance local educational accreditation criteria (National Accreditation Commission - Chile, 2018). This gives rise to research questions, such as: what conditions make possible the lacking existence of an online offer? What degree of internationalization does that offer present? What challenges must be overcome to increase it?.

Based on the above, this chapter focuses on analyzing the challenges for the creation of an international online university in the current controversial environment in where the Chilean university system is located.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital World: Virtual environment composed and developed by Internet and digital devices. People can connect from any place of the world through technology allowing access to all type of information and communication.

The Mochilazo: A student rebellion that occurred in 2001, where students went out of the streets to demand free school pass. They ask to State to regulate this guarantee instead private transportation companies.

Unified National School: A project under Salvador Allende government, its aim was structure education according to equal and equitable criteria with a wide participation of community. Also proposed made equal humanist and technical education.

Neo-Liberal Educational: Refers to an education based on a free market economy, inspired from market needs. Individuals are means or ends supported by weak educational system that try students as products.

Distance Education: Is the use of information and communication technology to get any knowledge by means online teaching resources, with entirely independence of personal time and place.

Accreditation: Process whose purpose is to evaluate the fulfillment of its corporate project and verify the existence of effective mechanisms of self-regulation and quality assurance, as well as to strengthen its capacity for self-regulation and continuous improvement.

The Penguin Revolution: In 2006 a student mobilization took place in order to demand the improvement of quality in education, the end to profit and free of charge in education. Also, they demand that the local government could promulgate a law that ensures quality in education.

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