Chile: Better skills for inclusive growth
27 May 2016
Improving education and skills is the linchpin to reduce income inequality and boost productivity growth. This paper argues that to improve, and make better use of, the skills of the labour force, Chile could gain a lot from a comprehensive and consistent Skills Strategy along three pillars: developing, activating and using skills effectively. Chile has made tremendous progress over the last decades attracting more students to the education system. Yet, educational outcomes remain below OECD standards, and are strongly linked to students’ socio-economic status. Improving the quality and equity of education would help achieve stronger productivity growth and make Chile a more inclusive country.
Therefore, Chile should set the goal of attaining universal skills by 2030. Reaching this goal requires investing more in early childhood education, making schools more inclusive and reshaping teacher careers. Chile also needs to improve access to quality tertiary education for students from medium and low socio-economic backgrounds. Finally, in terms of activating and using skills effectively, a key goal should be to reduce skill mismatch, which contributes to low productivity growth. This requires more flexible labour markets, investing more in vocational education and training, and promoting the participation of more women in the fields of engineering and computer science.