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In the last two decades, the area of citizenship education has been redefined three times in Chile’s school curriculum. Firstly, this area of the school experience was reorganized in the aftermath of a successful transition to democracy achieved in 1990 after a 17-year period of military dictatorship.
A.N. Other, B.N. Other (eds.), Title of Book, 0000.
© 2005 Sense Publishers. All rights reserved.
Published as chapter 5 of the volume: Civics and Citizenship: Theoretical
Models and Experiences in Latin America
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In the last two decades, the area of citizenship education has been redefined three
times in Chile’s school curriculum. Firstly, this area of the school experience was
reorganized in the aftermath of a successful transition to democracy achieved in
1990 after a 17-year period of military dictatorship. A stand-alone subject of
Civics and Economics at the end of secondary schooling was replaced with
contents that included several subjects, both in primary and secondary education,
as well as transversal goals orienting the whole of the curriculum. A major value
re-orientation accompanied this organizational change, as democratic values and
beliefs supplanted nationalist and authoritarian ones (Bascopé, Cox and Lira,
A second change took place in 2009 with the approval of a new curriculum
framework. Citizenship education was adjusted to follow the changes in orientation
suggested by a politically pluralistic and influential Citizenship Education National
Commission, convoked by the Ministry of Education in 2004 (Mineduc, 2004).
The goal was to suggest changes to confront a dramatic drop in formal political
participation by the new generation. The Commission recommended, and the
curriculum included, a new emphasis on contents related to political institutions
and formal political participation (voting), and a repositioning from the initial to
the final grades of secondary education (Mineduc, 2009). Finally, in 2013, a newly
reformed curriculum of citizenship education was approved, which made explicit
an axis of ‘citizenship formation’ within the History, Geography and Social
Sciences school subject (HGSS), from the first grade of primary education through
the grade 10 (corresponding to the second year of secondary education) (Mineduc,
The referred changes and their underlying evolution are intimately linked
to the aforementioned drop in formal political participation of the generations born
after 1990, and the growing realization by the political and educational systems of
the need to address this through educational means. The purpose of this chapter is
to characterize the evolution of the curricular definitions of citizenship education
(CE) in Chile in the last two decades in terms both of their organizational features
and their substantive meanings. At issue here are what values, types of
participation and vision of key political institutions are emphasized. Regarding
these dimensions, we shall compare the three curricula against international criteria
drawn both from the International Civic and Citizenship Study (ICCS-2009)
framework and its Latin American Module (Schultz, Fraillon, Ainley, Losito, Kerr,
2008; Cox: 2010; Schulz, W., J. Ainley, T. Friedman & P. Lietz. 2011), and
the CE’s curricula of France and England. This international comparative
perspective will be instrumental for identifying distinctive vacuums in the
examined features of the Chilean official curricula for CE. In addition, the general
direction and pattern of the observed evolution, which transverses politically
different governments and contexts, will be characterized.
The chapter is organized in three sections. In the first section, we expand
on the already sketched out historical succession of the three curricula, attempting
to account for their major characteristics, particularly in terms of their
organizational dimension. In the second section, the goals and contents of the three
curricula regarding democratic values, participation and institutions, at the
secondary level, are compared. In a closing section, we summarize the findings and
discuss some of their implications for the curricular development of CE.
Chile’s Ministry of Education embarked on a major reform of the curriculum
inherited from the authoritarian period during the second government after the
1990 transition to democracy, establishing a new curriculum framework for
primary education in 1996 and for secondary education in 1998 (Gysling, 2003).
With these reforms, CE was transformed from a secondary-education stand-alone
subject, as it had been since 1981, into contents referring to the knowledge,
abilities and attitudes required for active citizenship distributed in four subject
areas: two in the primary level, corresponding to the areas of Understanding of
Society and Interpersonal Relationships (see subject labels in Table 1), and two in
the secondary level, corresponding to the History and Social Sciences area, and the
Philosophy and Psychology area. In addition, several important formative goals
were included in what came to be known as transversal objectives of the new
curriculum framework, or goals to be approached from every subject and
dimension of the schooling experience.
This positional change of CE in the curriculum, as well as the changes in
its objectives and contents, meant a triple expansion with respect to traditional
citizenship education: 1) thematic expansion, as knowledge contents were widened
from the political institutions (nation, State, government, law), to social, moral, and
environmental issues; 2) quantitative expansion, as citizenship formation goals and
contents were included during the whole sequence of schooling (twelve grades),
and were thus not restricted to one course at the end;, 3) formative expansion, by
setting learning objectives that referred to abilities and attitudes alongside
knowledge. This triple expansion meant an alignment of the national definitions
with the international trends in the area (Cox, Jaramillo, Reimers: 2005). However,
this triple expansion at the level of official curriculum was never perceived as such
by the majority of teachers nor by public opinion. On the contrary, the evaluation
that CE had been ‘ended’ by the reform, soon became prevalent (and remained
throughout the first decade of the 2000s. Bonhomme, Cox, et al., 2015) .
In 2009, after a decade of implementation of the characterized curricular
frameworks, the Ministry of Education culminated a comprehensive re-adjustment
of both prescriptions which had been elaborating and consulting since 2006,
integrating them in one and thereby greatly improving the coherence of the whole.
In the subjects where the key contents of citizenship education were inscribed, two
important changes took place: in the primary level, Natural Sciences was separated
from History in grades 1 to 4 (areas which had been integrated in a curricular
reform in the 1960s), allowing for a better specification of the relevant goals and
contents. In secondary education, the new curriculum framework followed the
critical diagnosis of the National Commission for Citizenship Education (2004),
which identified consistently weak treatment of key topics concerning the political
system and citizens’ relationships with it, as something that needed urgent attention
(Mineduc, 2004). The 2009 framework accordingly redefined the contents of the
History and Social Sciences subject in the last year of the school sequence.
In 2010 a right-wing coalition obtained Government control, breaking an
unprecedented succession of four governments of the same center-left political
alliance. In education, the new government reformed the curriculum, redefining
goals and contents of grades 1 to 6 in primary education in 2012; and those of
grades 7 to 10 (bridging primary and secondary education) in 2013 (Mineduc,
2012; 2013).
The Curricular Bases, as the new framework was labelled, did not
include the final two years of the school sequence, which are still regulated (in
2016) by the 2009 Curricular Framework in the case of Language, Math, Natural
Sciences, History, Geography and Social Sciences, and English; and by the 1998
Curricular Framework in the case of the Philosophy, Visual Arts, Musical Arts, and
Physical Education subjects.
For CE, the 2012-2013 changes meant that its contents were distributed in
the subjects History, Geography and Social Sciences (HGSS) and Orientation
between grades 1 and 6 of primary education; and also in the new HGSS between
grades 7 and 10. Whereas for grades 11 and 12 (upper secondary), CE contents
remained defined by the Curricular Framework of 2009, in the case of ‘History
and Social Sciences’, and by the 1998 Curricular Framework in the case of
Philosophy and Psychology. In fact from 2013 to the present, three curricular
norms coincide, each regulating different subject areas and segments of the
curriculum sequence, an unprecedented situation and full of difficulties for school
teachers and institutions (Espinoza, 2014).
The aforementioned national-level curricular policy changes configure a
pattern that Table 1 intends to make visible.
Source: authors based on official curricular documents (Frameworks and Bases): MINEDUC 1998;
2002; 2009; 2012 and 2013.
Table 1
Distributed Organization of Citizenship Education (CE): combination of subjects and transversal objectives
Curricular Frameworks 1996-
Reach: all subject- areas, Grades 1
to 12 (primary and secondary
Curricular Framework
Reach: Subset of subject-
areas, Grades 1 to 12
(primary and secondary
Curricular Bases 2012-
Reach: Subset of subject
areas, Grades 1 to 10
(primary and secondary
- Study and understanding of the
Natural, Social and Cultural
Environment (Grades 1 to 4)
-Study and understanding of Society
(Grades 5 to 8)
-Orientation (Grades 5 to 8)
-History and Social Sciences (Grades 9
to 12)
-Philosophy and Psychology (Grades
11 and 12)
-History and Social Sciences
(Grades 1 to 12)
- Orientation (Grades 5 to 8
-Philosophy and Psychology
(Grades 11 and 12)
History, Geography and Social
Sciences (Grades 1 to 10)
Orientation (Grades 1 to 6)
-Fundamental Goals:
-Ethical Formation;
-Individual and Environment
(Grades 1 to 12)
- Fundamental Goals:
-Ethical Formation;
-Individual and Environment
(Grades 1 to 12)
- Transversal Learning Goals:
-Socio-Cultural and
Citizenship Dimension;
- Moral Dimension
(Grades 1 to 12)
3. Axis of
education in
Geography and
Social Sciences.
Not established
Not established
Citizenship Formation axis
(Grades 1 to 10)
4. Axes of day-to-
day living
objectives in
Not established
Not established
-Interpersonal Relationships
-Participation and belonging
(Grades 1 to 6)
As shown in the table, the three curricula have different reach in terms of
the areas and grades they cover: only the 1996-1998 prescriptions cover all areas
and the entire schooling sequence; the 2009 framework covers the whole sequence
but only for a subset of areas (Language, Mathematics, History and Social
Sciences, Natural Sciences, English); and the present decade’s ones cover partially
both subject areas (the same subset of 2009) and sequence, as the two grades of
upper-secondary education were not included in this last curriculum redefinition.
The first two rows of Table 1 show that the distributed nature of the
organization of CE’s contents defined by the Nineties' reform has not been altered:
CE’s related goals and contents are distributed among four subjects (History &
Social Sciences -under labels that vary- and Orientation, in primary education
grades; and History & Social Sciences and Philosophy and Psychology, in
secondary education grades). To this the transversal goals specified in the second
row must be added, whose labels and internal organization were varied in the
2012-2013 change.
Rows 3 and 4 in Table 1 make visible the most important CE curricular
organizational change of the period, brought about by the 2012-2013 reform: the
specification of ‘axes’ of CE contents throughout the Grade 1 to 10 sequence of
History, Geography, Social Sciences subject, on the one hand, and the Grade 1 to 6
sequence in the Orientation subject, on the other. Whereas the first deals both with
civil (day-to-day living with others) and civic (relations with the political domain)
related contents, the latter refers only to the civil domain. Both define a distinct and
clearly specified and graduated sequence of CE contents, thus making much more
visible and specialized what had been, particularly for the eyes of practitioners
(ifnot for the curriculum designers and policy-makers), blurred and made
indistinct. This change also marks a departure from the organizational principle
established in the 1990s.
It is important to observe how the contents evolved through the above mentioned
changes in the organizational dimension of the CE curriculum. Are there
noticeable changes in terms of richness and direction or in terms of orientation or
emphases between the different curricula? Are there identifiable common trends?
Did the government change from center-Left to Right in 2010 generate significant
effects on CE’s curriculum?
We shall address these questions focusing on the History and Social Sciences
subject at the secondary level because the most important and relevant CE concepts
and competencies regarding the political domain (as opposed to the civil, day-to-
day living domain)concentrated here. We will examine the contents of History and
Social Sciences from grades 9 to 12 (middle and upper secondary education), for
the curricula of 1998 and 2009; and those corresponding to grades 7 to 10 (i.e. two
grades corresponding to Chilean primary education, and two to lower secondary
education), for the Curricular Bases of 2012-2013; thus comparing four grades in
each one of the three curricula.
The question of how to comparatively analyse the contents of citizenship
education in the three curricula has been addressed by a tradition of research in
connection with measurements of learning of citizenship in the school context by
the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement
(IEA) (Torney, Oppenheim and Farnen 1975; Torney-Purta, Schwille & Amadeo
1999; Schulz, Fraillon, Ainley, Losito & Kerr 2008). In connection with IEA’s
2009 International Civic and Citizenship Study (ICCS), Cox et al. (2014)
conducted an analysis of the curriculum documents of the six countries of the
Latin American region taking part in the study. New categories were added to the
instruments generated by ICCS, resulting in a matrix of 50 categories to compare
school curricula for civic and citizenship education, and what is deemed necessary
for a citizenship education of substance and quality in the contemporary situation
was organized in six ambits (Cox, C., Bascope, M., Castillo, J., Miranda, D.,
Bonhomme, M. (2014).
For the present purposes, we shall select the three ambits that most directly
refer to the political foci of the CE curricular contents that we are comparing. The
three dimensions are the following:
- Civic principles-values: includes twelve categories on the orientations
constituting the value or moral basis for ‘life together in democracy’.
- Citizens and democratic participation: consists of eleven categories focusing
on the roles and relations of the citizen with the political order, namely the
rights and duties defining his/her citizenship condition, its characteristic
actions (voting, representation, deliberation), and the various types of
- Institutions: contains twelve categories referring to the fundamental institutions
of a democratic political system, together with one referring to civil actors,
and another concerning the concept of risks for democracy’.
The categories by ambit are shown in Table 2.
Table 2. Thematic categories for comparing curricular contents in citizenship education.
III. Institutions
24. The State
25. Rule of law
26. Branches of the democratic State (Executive,
Legislative, Justice Courts)
27. Government Public Administration; public
institutions and services in the community
28. National (federal) and regional government
29. Constitution, law, norm, legality, culture of
30. Judicial system, penal system, police
31. Armed Forces
32. Political organizations in democratic society:
political parties
33. Elections, electoral system, electoral
34. Professional or civil society organizations,
social movements; trade unions; NGOs
35. Risks for democracy: Authoritarianism;
clientelismo; populism; nepotism; press
monopoly; control of justice; organized crime
Source: Cox 2010, based on: Schulz, Fraillon, Ainley, Losito and Kerr 2008; SREDECC Project
Expert Group Latin American Regional Test of Citizenship Competencies.
The analysis that follows quantifies the presence of the topics defined by
the categories of the aforementioned analytical matrix in each of the three
curricula. The analytical unit is the quote (or reference), which equals a complete
(textual) definition of objectives or contents in the curriculum. Sometimes a quote
encompasses more than one of the categories of the analytical matrix, which means
that the same quote may be counted more than once.
The focus of the comparisons
is on the number of appearances (quotes) of the topic in question, and not on the
specific meaning that each curriculum grants to it. On the other hand, this type of
counting does not allow for discrimination in terms of ‘positional value’ of the
quote, which is something important to identify in the future.
Values and principles prioritized in the curricula.
Table 3 lists the set of values considered in the first ambit of our analytical
instrument and the number of times that each appears in the three curricular
definitions for the History and Social Sciences subject in the upper grades of the
school sequence, as well as the aggregate of the three documents (last column).
Table 3. Comparative presence of civic values in History and Social Sciences curricula
Civic values
Grades 9 to 12
Framework 2009
Grades 9 to 12
Curricular Bases
Grades 7 to 10
Number of references
Social Justice
of references
Source: authors based on Mineduc, 1998; Mineduc 1999; Mineduc, 2013
When analyzing the History and Social Sciences curricula from the
aforementioned perspective, we can appreciate that the values that show the greater
number of quotes are Human Rights, Democracy and Diversity. If the Democracy
and Human Rights values are compared, the Frameworks of 1998 and 2009
prioritize Democracy; whereas the 2013 Bases prioritizes Human Rights. In the
opposite direction, the five values with the least presence both in the aggregate and
in each curriculum (shaded area of the table) are: Common Good, Social Justice,
Solidarity, Tolerance and Social Cohesion. There is then a significant continuity
among the three curricula in terms of values prioritized, in spite of their different
political contexts and basis of generation. Indeed, they prioritize similarly and they
do not consider (Social Cohesion) or give very little consideration (Common Good,
Social Justice, Solidarity and Tolerance) in a similar fashion, as well.
Of the five values that received a visibly minor emphasis (Common Good,
Social Justice, Solidarity, Tolerance and Social Cohesion), four are directly related
to ‘the other’, close and distant (Granovetter, 1978; Putnam, 2000). This surely
speaks to the relevance and functionality of such ‘non-prioritizing’ by a CE that in
principle is meant to address the deficits of social integration and cohesion that
characterizes Chilean society (Tironi, 2008).
From this perspective, the 2013
curriculum is the one that has the largest deficit: the definitions of its objectives
and contents do not mention once the values of Common Good, Social Justice,
Solidarity and Social Cohesion.
Finally, we must highlight that the explicit reference to values in the
Curricular Framework of 1998 amounts only to 15 quotes (bottom row in Table 3),
a presence that is doubled in the 2009 Framework, and that remains on that level
(27 references) in the case of the 2013 Curricular Bases. We interpret this as part of
the same incremental movement of CE that we identified at the level of the
organization of the curricula: expansion and densification of purposes and contents
of CE which run parallel to an increasing social and political visibility of the deficit
in formal political participation by the new generations (Corvalan, Cox, 2015;
Donoso, 2013).
Democratic processes and citizenship participation in the curricula.
Every relevant CE curriculum must treat as central citizens’ relationships with the
fundamental processes of democratic politics, as well as the beliefs and abilities
that the upholding of an active citizenship presupposes. The focus here is the
approach to themes such as rights and duties, participation, voting, and the like.
Table 4 groups a set of eleven categories from our analytical matrix, which account
for the key dimensions of the procedural aspect of democracy, according to the
following axes: 1) citizens rights and duties; 2) participation (including
participation in school government, political participation, participation and
decision making); 3) political process (including voting, deliberation, negotiation
and agreements, representation, accountability); and 4) critical reflection for active
citizenship, an axis that refers to the capacities that are deemed necessary for a
‘complex citizenship’ founded in values of individual autonomy and celebration of
diversity (Bauman,1999; Kimlicka, 2001, 2002; Cortina, 2010; Schulz, Fraillon,
Ainley et al. 2008).
Table 4. Comparative presence of Citizenship and Participation topics in History and
Social Sciences Curricula, 1998-2013.
Citizenship and democratic
Grades 9 to 12
framework 2009
Grades 9 to 12
bases 2013
Grades 7 to
Number of references
Critical reflection
competencies for an active
Citizens rights
Responsibilities and
obligations of the citizen
Participation in political
activities (debates,
demonstrations, protests,
Representation - forms of
Participation in school
governance and/or collective
projects of social action
Participation and decision-
making: the majority and
respect for minorities
Voting (right, duty,
Negotiation and reaching
Total of references
Source: authors based on Mineduc, 1998; Mineduc 1999; Mineduc, 2013
The category that has by far the largest aggregate presence in the three
curricula is Critical Reflection Competencies for an Active Citizenry. It has an
important relative presence in the 1998 Curriculum (it is in fact the category with
the most references, along with Citizens’ Rights). The curriculum definitions here
refer to a search for and integration of information by students, their capacity to
distinguish between sources and interpretations, and the capacity to expose and
debate ideas. This type of objective undergoes a radical increase in presence and
specification in the 2009 Framework: the number of quotes is multiplied by a
factor of 3.3 by establishing for each grade the content axis ‘Abilities for research,
analysis and interpretation’. This is even further intensified by the 2013 Curricular
Bases (that multiply the number of quotes of the 1998 Framework by a factor of 7)
and that establish two ability axes Analysis and Operation with Information
Sources, and Critical Thinking that directly include, for each grade, multiple
objectives: critical evaluation and analysis of information from diverse sources,
discriminating between types of evidence, comparison of historical interpretations,
and analysis of viewpoints and biases.
The predominance of this type of objectives in CE poses the question of
whether this relative over-emphasis on certain analytical capabilities reflects an
academic bias that considers research and analytical skills as absolutely central and
fundamental for its concept of citizenship, and which is typical of theoretical
visions of practice (Bourdieu, 1977; 1979).
The second and third categories with a greater presence in the three curricula are
Rights (23 references) and Duties (10 references). This doubling of the quotes on
Rights with respect to those on Duties follows an identical pattern in the current
CE curricula of another five Latin American countries (Cox, Bascopé, Castillo et
al. 2014). This bespeaks of a general cultural trend, which in the Chilean case
experiences an actual leap after the 1998 curriculum, when the rights and duties
presence was roughly equivalent (6 quotes on Rights and 5 on Duties and
Responsibilities), to a change to the 9-3 and 8-3 numbers in 2009 and 2013
portrayed in Table 4.
The Citizens’ Rights category is approached in the curricula from two
perspectives: a historical one, that is incorporated in the three curricular proposals,
and that analyzes the evolution of rights and their consecration at the national and
world levels; and an institutional one, that is only present in the Frameworks of
1998 and 2009. In both proposals, citizens’ rights are considered from their
definition, classification and constitutional consecration, but in the 2009 definition
this vision is widened through the analysis of defense mechanisms of citizens’
rights and the challenges that the struggle for minorities’ rights represent for
democratic societies.
The category Citizen’s Duties and Responsibilities, in spite of its lesser
presence in the post-Nineties curricula, registers a widening of the perspectives in
which it is considered: whereas the 1998 Curricular Framework proposes an
institutional vision that highlights the duties established by the Constitution, the
2009 Curriculum and the Curricular Bases of 2013 add community and living-
together perspectives.
The citizenship participation dimension (as referred to in Table 3) is
comprised of three categories: Participation and decision making: majority and
respect for minorities; Participation in school government and/or collective social
action projects; Participation in political actions - debates, demonstrations,
protests, parties. All three have had an uneven treatment in the analyzed curricula.
Of the three categories about participation, (student) Participation in
Political Actions stands out, since it is only present in the post 1998 curricula. The
goals and contents in this case refer fundamentally to the participation in debates
(one of the four actions that the analytical matrix considers here). If the aggregate
number of references in this category (10) is compared to those of Participation in
School Government and/or Collective Social Action Projects (6), the predominance
of the former raises a question, as the literature converges on the special value of
the latter regarding the formation of skills and beliefs specifically relevant to
democratic political participation (Owen, 2013). The theme of ‘majorities and
minorities’ in democratic participation is significantly present (4 references) only
in the Curricular Framework de 2009; it is not considered in the 1998 Framework,
and in the Curricular Bases there is only one mention of this important aspect of
the democratic political process.
Of the five categories that were mentioned at the beginning of this section
as the nucleus of the democratic political process Voting, Representation,
Deliberation, Negotiation and Agreements and Accountability only
Representation has a relatively solid presence in the curricula (8 quotes on the
aggregate of the three curricula), and it increases from being referenced only once
in the 1998 Framework to 3 and 4 quotes, respectively, in the 2009 Curricular
Framework and the 2013 Curricular Bases. The other four categories are relegated
to the ‘bottom of the table’: two of them (Deliberation and Negotiation) do not
appear at all in the curricula. The Voting category deserves special mention.
The Voting category is not present in the 1998 Curricular Framework as
‘right, duty, responsibility’
. After the explicit reference to this theme by the 2004
Citizenship Formation Commission (Mineduc, 2004), the 2009 Curricular
Framework included it as a curriculum goal in the final year of secondary
education, which is replicated by the 2013 Curricular Bases (that raised its
presence to two quotes).
Voting, of course, corresponds to the most basic of the political rights and
duties. It is the fundamental constitutive mechanism of representation and of
democratic legitimacy, and its meager presence in the analyzed curricula merits
discussion as an issue of high relevance especially if the relationship of schooling
and democratic development is at stake.
The French and English curricula, which we chose as parameters for
comparison on this point, assign a significant relevance to voting.
In terms of the
topic’s presence in the curriculum, the number of references in the English case is
almost four times that of the Chilean equivalent.
This larger number of quotes
also means a notoriously greater depth, in which voting is not only considered as a
relevant form of participation, but is also considered from the perspective of its
historic evolution, and from the way this right is exerted on a national, local and
community level; the curriculum in this case also incorporates the development of
voting experiences within the school. Correspondingly, the French curriculum in
the equivalent to Chile’s 11th grade in the Programme d’enseignement d’éducation
civique, juridique et sociale (classe de première) defines as a topic for the whole
grade ‘the institutions, political and social life, the nation and its defense’, and
posits as a content the fundamentally representative character of our democracy,
(that) makes voting and elections the privileged means of popular sovereignty’; to
further define that electoral procedures do not only concern the political spheres
but the entirety of civil society’. The same document establishes as a goal the
understanding of a representative regime and the centrality to it of the election of
representatives; and as a ‘practical implementation (or activities’), a research
project on the formation of the expression of a political opinion which, it adds,
can have as a context of reference both public agreement processes (debates over
an urbanization or collective equipment project) and electoral processes in the
political realm. (Ministére de LEducation Nationale, 2011)
The last thing to single out from Table 4 (see bottom row) is the radical
increase in the CE curricula of topics concerning citizenship and participation: the
19 quotes of the Framework of 1998 are multiplied 2.7 times over in the Curricular
Framework of 2009, and 3.1 times in the Curricular Bases, thus further evidencing
the commented curricular densification observable in the evolution under
Political Institutions and their curricular treatment
Citizenship processes and relationships take place in a framework of institutions
and rules that have traditionally constituted the fundamentals of school citizenship
education. Table 5 groups ten categories that directly refer to institutions and laws,
to which we have added the topics Risks for Democracy, and Trade Unions, Social
Movements and Civil Society organizations. In a form analogous to the preceding
analyses of values and citizens’ participation, the basic questions in this case are
what institutions are prioritized, which ones are less considered by the different
curricula, and whether the patterns that emerge are common to all three or not.
Table 5. Comparative presence of institutions in the History and Social Sciences Curricula
Grades 9 to 12
Framework 2009
Grades 9 to 12
Curricular Bases
Grades 7 to 10
Number of references
The State
Government Public Administration;
public institutions and services in the
Constitution, law, norm, legality, culture
of legality
Risks for democracy: Authoritarianism;
clientelism; populism; nepotism; press
monopoly; control of justice; organized
Branches of the democratic State
(Executive, Legislative, Justice Courts)
Political organizations in democratic
society: political parties
National (federal) and regional
government (states)
Judicial system, penal system, police
Elections, electoral system, electoral
Rule of Law
Armed Forces
Professional or civil society organizations,
social movements; trade unions; NGOs
Total of references
Source: authors based on Mineduc, 1998; Mineduc 1999; Mineduc, 2013
The comparative evidence regarding institutions in CE’s three curricula
shows that State, Government and Constitution are the topics with a greater
aggregate presence in the curricula. Considering the three curricula separately, the
1998 Framework favors State and Government (6 mentions); the 2009 Framework,
Risks for Democracy and State (8 and 7 mentions); and the 2013 Bases, State (11
mentions), and Government and Constitution (9 mentions). Regarding this last
category, it is noteworthy that the Curricular Bases triple the number of mentions
of the 1998 Framework and more than double those of the 2009 Framework.
Beyond this difference, which can be associated to contrasting appreciations of the
, there is a clear convergence of the three curricula on the
fundamental institutional and juridical nuclei of a democratic regime, to which the
‘risks for democracy’ is added, particularly emphasized by the 2009 Curricular
An important number of the cells in Table 5 represent categories with low
or null presence in two or sometimes in all three curricula (see the shaded area).
First, it is remarkable how little attention is given to the very central notion of the
division of branches of State both by the 1998 and 2009 Curricula (2 mentions);
which is amended by the Curricular Bases (8 mentions). Similarly, political parties
receive little attention in the 1998 and 2009 Curricular Frameworks’ definitions (2
mentions), which is increased in the Bases definitions (4 mentions). Likewise,
contents that refer explicitly to the categories Judicial System and Elections and
Electoral System have a very low presence in the 1998 Curriculum and in that of
2013, but not so in 2009. Finally, the three categories with the lowest presence in
the three curricula (lower rows of Table 5) are those of Rule of Law, Armed
Forces, and Civil Society Organizations, Social movements and Trade unions.
The comparatively low attention given to the Judicial System category
(save for the 2009 Curriculum), as well as to that of Rule of Law (by all three
curricula) can be contrasted with the French curriculum: their classe de seconde is
dedicated entirely to the ‘Rule of Law’ concept, which is proposed as the issue of
the collective rules that organize life for everyone in a democratic society” to be
worked through concrete studies and conceptual analysis (Ministére de
L´Education Nationale de L’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche, 2011).
The three thematic axes that articulate the school year in this case are: law and life
in society, citizens and the law; citizens and justice. Likewise, the quasi-complete
silence of the curricula on Armed Forces speaks volumes about the length of the
shadows of the authoritarian period. The contrast again with the French curriculum
could not be more eloquent: in this case the concepts of nation, its defense and
national security’ constitute an obligatory topic that takes a third of the time
allotted for the subject of citizenship education in classe de premiére (Ministére de
L´Education Nationale de L’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche, 2011).
This chapter started with questions about patterns in the curricular evolution of
citizenship education during the 1998-2013 period, and whether the comparison of
the three curricula from this period would allow for the identification of a
cumulative and convergent trajectory or not. A detailed examination of the
organizational and content dimensions of the curricula has shown an unequivocal
evolution marked by the convergence of the three prescriptions towards a
systematic increase of the presence of purposes and contents of citizenship
education. There is a clear cumulative pattern that, from the level of presence of
CE and its topics as established by the 1998 Curricular Framework is
significantly enriched by the 2009 Curricular Framework, and substantially so by
the 2013 Curricular Bases, and their definition of a ‘curricular axis for citizenship
formation from grade 1 to 10 in the History, Geography and Social Sciences
subject. In terms of curricular organization, this last change is fundamental in that
it resembles a full subject in its visibility, internal coherence, knowledge
specialization and opportunities for monitoring and evaluating. It is impossible not
to appreciate this development as a move away from the transversal organization of
CE (i.e. ‘taught by teachers of related subjects’ and incorporated in all subjects’)
that was conceptually dominant in the design of curricular frameworks during the
Nineties, and that produced an insufficient visibility for teachers as well as an
insufficiently systematic approach to specific purposes and contents of citizenship
education in the curriculum prescription. The next step in this evolution, the
definition of a new stand-alone subject of Citizenship education in upper-
secondary education (grades 11 and 12), has already been taken by the political
system of the country, in the form of a law, that requires the Ministry of Education
to design and implement the new subject as of 2017. (Law 20,911, 2016).
The change in 2010 of the political alliance in government meant the first
real test for the concept of curriculum as an educational dimension especially
important to safeguard from the risks of party-politics influences and contingent
variations. From this evaluative perspective, there is a significant continuity from
the 2013 Curricular Bases and the two preceding curriculum definitions, both in
terms of organization and contents. There are also some elements of change:
substantial ones at the organizational level; and some variations and adjustments on
the content level that operate within a framework of values and concepts, and
which are undistinguishable from those of the two preceding curricula.
In terms of values, the curricula give priority to Democracy, Human
Rights and Diversity. The analysis revealed a deficit in the curricular presence of
values referring to others and society, such as Common Good, Social Justice,
Solidarity, Tolerance and Social Cohesion; even more so, four of these five values
are not mentioned in the current History, Geography and Social Sciences subject
curriculum. It is fair to speak then of an ‘erosion of the common’ in the learning
opportunities that the curriculum at present offers, in affinity with deep global
cultural trends generally interpreted as problematic for democratic politics and its
moral foundation (Bauman, 1999; 2005; Kymlicka: 2002).
In terms of citizenship and participation, the curricula agree on giving the
highest priority to what was categorized by this analysis as Critical Reflection
Competences for an Active Citizenship (evidence handling, research capabilities,
detection of biases and prejudices). On the contrary, the fundamental category of
Voting (right, duty, responsibility) is not mentioned in the Curricular Framework
of 1998, is mentioned only once in the 2009 Framework, and just two times in the
2013 Curricular Bases. There is an evident imbalance between the opportunities
for acquiring reflective competencies and those competencies that relate to the
most basic of acts of formal democratic participation. It is as if the Chilean
curriculum is already reflecting that which democracy theorists have labeled as a
turn from vote-centric democracies to talk-centric’ democracies, in which the
former require voting citizens, whereas the latter demand the existence of
deliberating citizens (Kymlicka, 2002). The risks of a lack of equilibrium between
teaching reflection competencies and citizenship responsibilities, and the practical
commitment to foundational acts of democratic politics, such as voting, seems to
us a relevant issue in times when the level of electoral participation is reaching
critically low levels.
Regarding democracy’s institutions, the three curricula prioritize State,
Government and Constitution; and all three present deficits regarding the
categories of Rule of Law, Judicial System and Armed Forces. These three topics,
as in the curricula of other Latin American countries (Cox, Bascopé, Castillo et al.,
2015), do not have a presence equivalent to their intrinsic importance in terms of
democracy’s work, nor do they nearly approach the relevance that security issues
grants them.
Thus, the findings produced by comparing the evolution of the Chilean
CE curricula with an analytical set of categories at the basis of successive IEA
studies of civic and citizenship education reveal a complex pattern. On the one
hand, there has been a consistent evolution towards the enrichment and growing
specification and visibility of CE, evident both in the organization and content
dimensions of the observed curricula; on the other hand, the theory-derived
categories for comparing and evaluating contents revealed imbalances and deficits
affecting central components of a coherent and relevant contemporary curriculum
in citizenship education. Beyond attempting to address these deficits and
imbalances, citizenship education through schooling in Chile, as elsewhere, needs
to answer to the greatest challenge to education in this area: to relevantly and
effectively prepare the new generation in the context of a crisis of legitimacy for
democratic politics and for democratic beliefs to have the competencies
necessary to be active and committed citizens, who recognize the ‘erosion of the
agora’ (Bauman, 1999) as the menace that it actually is.
The subjects whose contents were redefined by the Curricular Bases (2013) from Grades 7 to 10
were: Language, Mathematics, History, Geography and Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, English. For
these grades, the remaining subjects: Arts, Physical Education, Technological Education and
Orientation, which had also not been affected by the adjustments of 2009, the framework continued to
be that defined in the reform of 1996 (primary education) and 1998 (secondary education).
Evidently, the comparison poses a problem, since the 4 grades from the Curricular Bases are ‘ lower
in the sequence than the 4 grades from the Curricular Frameworks of 1998 and 2009, but as grades 11
and 12 (in upper secondary education), are still regulated (in 2916) by the 2009 Curriculum Framework
, there is no other way of a establishing a better comparison with the 2013 Curricular Bases, than the
proposed one.
Methodologically, the same perspective is in Bascopé et al. (2015), and in Suárez (2008) who
compared the Argentinean and Costa Rican curricula, counting keywords corresponding to what this
study distinguishes as modern civics / traditional civics.
Evidently a quote corresponding to a transversal objective for the entire school education does not
‘weigh’ the same as a quote referring to a specific content within the thematic unit of one subject in a
given grade.
For the case of the 2013 Curricular Bases, the grade 7-10 segment corresponds to secondary education
grades according to the new structure of schooling in Chile, as defined by the General Education Law of
When looking for common factors across the curricula’s processes of generation, the impact of the
National Council of Education (a politically pluralistic public body established in 1990 and renewed in
2009 by respective general laws of education) should be considered as central.
It is also noteworthy that this same finding is true in the case of contemporary CE curricula in other
Latin American countries (Cfr. Cox, Bascopé, et al. 2014).
Table 4, however, lists these categories from the highest to the lowest presence in the curricula, which
does not allow for the visualization of the five axes.
The Spanish term in the curricula is convivencia, which may approximately be conveyed by the term
‘living-together’ (with the added connotation of day-to-day living).
There is one reference to the ‘suffrage extension’ in the content ‘XX Century History’, in grade 10,
which does not qualify for consideration as there is no explicit reference to voting and its concomitant
The comparison with the European curricula is based on research conducted within the project
Comparative curricula, teaching perceptions and teaching formation for citizenship education: trends
and propositions for improvement, funded by the IX Contest ‘Proposals for Chile’ of the Centre of
Public Policies of Universidad Católica de Chile. See Mardones, Cox, Farías, García (2014).
For this comparison we used the 2007 citizenship curriculum of England (modified in 2013).
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (2007) Citizenship Programme of Study for Key Stage 4.
In general political terms, ambivalently valued by the center-Left which still saw in it (more in 1998
than in 2009) the imprint of the 1980 Constitution of Pinochet; and generally valued by the Right.
(Hunneus, 2014).
This topic had been underlined by the Citizenship Formation Commission of 2004, in its turn
influenced by the results of Chile in the Civic Education Study of the IEA in 1999 (CIVED 1999),
analyzed in comparison with the cases of Colombia and the USA, in Torney-Purta and Amadeo (2004).
The 2010 PNUD-OEA report on the development of democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean
defines the issue of public security as one of the three foundational axes for the democratic development
agenda in Latin America. (The other two are ‘A new tax authority’, and ‘Social Integration’, PNUD-
OEA, 2010. Chap. 5).
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© 2005 Sense Publishers. All rights reserved.
Cristián Cox
Centre for Comparative Policies in Education
Faculty of Education
Universidad Diego Portales
Carolina García
Innovation Unit
Universidad de Santiago
... El argumento de estas investigaciones se relaciona con los estilos de vida y la diversificación de los estímulos en jóvenes que la política no es capaz de absorber (Bessant et al., 2016;Bruter et al., 2016;Kimberlee, 2002). Otros trabajos, en cambio, se refieren a los factores políticos (Norris, 2011(Norris, , 2009, económicos (Inglehart and Welzel, 2005), sociales (Beck, 1998;Dalton et al., 1984) y de educación (Cox and García, 2017) como variables significativas en la comprensión de las actitudes de este grupo etáreo (Bruter et al., 2016;Chrona and Capelos, 2017;Oliart and Feixa, 2012). La última (la educación) se enfoca en los procesos de socialización de la escuela como condición necesaria para la generación de ciudadanos activos y con voz para presentar sus demandas. ...
... Con el retorno a la democracia la reforma curricular impulsó la formación ciudadana hacia una "educación ciudadana". Este cambio consistía en enseñar valores y prácticas democráticas que formaran ciudadanos activos, de manera de participar en forma comprometida dentro del sistema democrático (Cox and García, 2017). Para lograr estos objetivos la formación ciudadana se vinculó a la asignatura de historia y ciencias sociales desde 1 • básico a 4 • medio. ...
... En una década, el reporte alertó que los estudiantes chilenos mantuvieron el mismo bajo nivel de conocimientos cívico (Flores-González and García-González, 2014). Entre las razones de esta situación se sostenía que el currículum continuaba enfatizando contenidos concentrados en la institucionalidad política y había dejado de lado las dimensiones sociales y civiles de la ciudadanía, así como el desarrollo de la capacidad crítica que requiere la participación activa (Cox and García, 2017;Flores-González and García-González, 2014). Por otro lado, se señalaba que la reforma curricular se había desarrollado sin la participación de los profesores (García-Huidobro, 2006), sin considerar la opinión de las personas responsables de la función formadora de la ciudadanía. ...
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Este documento analiza los indicadores de participación y de evaluación de las instituciones políticas entre quienes cursan la educación escolar y quienes ya egresaron de esta etapa. Utilizando las encuestas de jóvenes del Instituto Nacional de la Juventud, se desprenden dos conclusiones de relevancia a) que la participación en instancias convencionales y no convencionales es mayor en las personas en etapa escolar b) Que los escolares tienen menor nivel de identificación pero mayor grado de confianza institucional que las personas fuera de la etapa escolar. La paradoja de alta participación y baja identificación es lo que estaría generando jóvenes activos cívicamente pero reacios a la participación en los procesos político-electorales.
... Al igual que la dimensión de identidad, esta dimensión también se divide en dos subdimensiones: la dimensión cívica, que incluye la participación formal e institucionalizada, y la dimensión civil, que se relaciona con la vida cotidiana (por ej. asociaciones, movimientos, juntas de vecinos, etc.) y que se conecta directamente con el concepto de ciudadanía por membresía (Cox y García, 2017). En Chile, existe una correlación entre el origen socioeconómico y las expectativas de participación cívica o civil, siendo los estudiantes de sectores más acomodados quienes tienen mayores expectativas de participación formal (cívica) y menores de participación comunitaria (civil), y viceversa (Castillo et al., 2014). ...
... En la reforma curricular de los 80, debido a su redacción durante la dictadura cívico-militar, se observa un énfasis con foco en ideales patrióticos, estado de derecho y participación formal. Con el retorno a la democracia, se comienza a transitar hacia ideas de ciudadanía moderna global fundada en valores como la justicia social, igualdad y derechos humanos; con temáticas orientadas al desarrollo de la comunidad escolar y el vínculo con el medio, elementos presentes en la reforma curricular de los 90 (Cox y García, 2017). Lo anterior, se expresa especialmente en la última reforma curricular de 2017, la cual propone planes de formación ciudadana en las escuelas, que vinculen temáticas de ciudadanía digital, educación ambiental y participación comunitaria, entre otras. ...
... En el caso de Chile, su trayectoria histórica indica que ha sido desarrollada como curso específico, como un OFT o como actividad extracurricular. Además, ha adoptado distintas denominaciones, como también sus contenidos (Cox & García, 2017;Rodrigo Mardones et al., 2014). Comprender la relación entre formación ciudadana y comportamiento político de adolescentes y jóvenes se vuelve más urgente a la luz del alza, desde mediados de los 2000, en la cantidad de protestas estudiantiles (Donoso, 2017, p. 74), y de las masivas movilizaciones que comenzaron en octubre de 2019 en Chile, a las que estudiantes de primaria y secundaria dieron comienzo con actos de evasión en el metro de Santiago (Somma et al., 2020). ...
... Ahora bien, la literatura internacional nos indica que se utilizan distintas denominaciones para esta asignatura. La encontramos como "educación para la ciudadanía democrática" (Audigier, 2000;O'Shea, 2003), como "educación cívica o ciudadana" (Cox & García, 2017;Fairstein, 2016), como "educación cívica" (Giersch & Dong, 2018;Manning & Edwards, 2014) o como "conocimiento cívico", separando lo "cívico" de lo "político" (Manganelli et al., 2014). En el caso de Chile, como ya hemos apuntado, se le denomina "formación ciudadana". ...
Full-text available
Aunque la formación ciudadana ha sido utilizada como componente del currículo oficial escolar para superar los bajos niveles de participación política en Chile, todo indica que su implementación curricular en la experiencia escolar no ha sido exitosa. Si bien su aplicación en Chile tiene larga data, su efecto sobre la disposición de los estudiantes a participar políticamente no ha sido estudiado apropiadamente. Sostenemos que, aunque puede promover actitudes participativas, cómo se implementa moldea sus efectos. Análisis de regresión de la encuesta ICCS 2016 con variables a nivel de escuela e individual demuestran que la integración de la materia transversalmente tiene un efecto positivo, pero sólo en actitudes relacionadas con la participación electoral, mientras que otras formas de implementación tienen efectos nulos o incluso negativos en actitudes sobre otras formas de participación. Palabras clave: Educación Cívica; Formación ciudadana; Socialización Política; Actitudes Políticas; Comportamiento Político; Chile
... El argumento de estas investigaciones se relaciona con los estilos de vida y la diversificación de los estímulos en jóvenes que la política no es capaz de absorber (Bessant, Farthing, & Watts, 2016;Bruter et al., 2016;Kimberlee, 2002). Otros trabajos, en cambio, se refieren a los factores políticos (Norris, 2009(Norris, , 2011, económicos (Inglehart & Welzel, 2005), sociales (Beck, 1998;Dalton, Flanagan, & Beck, 1984) y de educación (Cox & García, 2017) como variables significativas en la comprensión de las actitudes de este grupo etáreo (Bruter et al., 2016;Chrona & Capelos, 2017;Oliart & Feixa, 2012). La última (la educación) se enfoca en los procesos de socialización de la escuela como condición necesaria para la generación de ciudadanos activos y con voz para presentar sus demandas. ...
... Con el retorno a la democracia la reforma curricular impulsó la formación ciudadana hacia una "educación ciudadana". Este cambio consistía en enseñar valores y prácticas democráticas que formaran ciudadanos activos, de manera de participar en forma comprometida dentro del sistema democrático (Cox & García, 2017). Para lograr estos objetivos la formación ciudadana se vinculó a la asignatura de historia y ciencias sociales desde 1° básico a 4° medio. ...
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El artículo indaga en las concepciones explícitas de los equipos directivos respecto de la formación ciudadana y su implicancia en el ejercicio del liderazgo escolar en centros educativos de la región de La Araucanía (Chile). La relevancia del estudio se enmarca en la promulgación de la Ley de Formación Ciudadana en los establecimientos educativos. La investigación adopta un enfoque cualitativo con un diseño exploratorio, que permite un primer acercamiento al objeto de estudio aportando evidencia al campo de la formación ciudadana. Se entrevistaron directivos de diez establecimientos educacionales. Los resultados muestran que existen diferentes concepciones y aproximaciones a la formación ciudadana y que estas se orientan en la comprensión del constructo, la formación de la persona y su relación con la convivencia en sociedad, los valores, el territorio y la cultura.
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The objective of this research is to characterise classroom teaching practices that promote citizenship education by history teachers who were rated as outstanding (maximum) in the Chilean Teacher Evaluation System. Following an interpretive approach and using methods of data collection and analysis from grounded theory, the recordings of 45 teachers’ classes, equivalent to 30 chronological hours, were analysed. Results indicate that although practices favouring citizenship education cannot be classified all the same way, common elements can be observed that promote learning in this field. These were classified into two main levels: a permanent one that manifested in a similar manner among the observed teachers (willingness to educate citizens, generation of an open classroom environment, and monitoring learning through classroom interaction) and a variable one that presented different features among participants (inclusion of citizenship topics and implementation of multiple learning activities). These results aim to disseminate with concrete examples what is being done well in real educational contexts so that actors in different schools, universities and academic systems can incorporate it into their professional work and promote it within their area of action.
Technical Report
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Esta investigación abarcó tres dimensiones claves de la educación ciudadana escolar: el currículum ministerial sobre educación ciudadana, las percepciones del profesorado que en la educación media enseña el área Historia y Ciencias Sociales, y los planes de estudio de las facultades de Historia y Geografía que los preparan. El análisis comparado de las tres definiciones curriculares vigentes entre 1996 y 2013, para la educación básica y media del país, junto a su comparación con las definiciones equivalentes para la educación secundaria de Francia e Inglaterra, llevan a concluir como ventajosos tres cambios: en primer lugar, se propone establecer una asignatura nueva de educación ciudadana; un segundo cambio consiste en reformular los objetivos y contenidos referidos a la política, y sus instituciones y procesos, del actual 6° grado; el tercer cambio plantea que el Ministerio de Educación y su Unidad de Currículum y Evaluación deben tomar medidas para superar la actual situación de anomia o desorden de las prescripciones curriculares nacionales imperante en este ámbito durante los últimos años. En términos de capacidades docentes, se constata que pese a que el sistema escolar desde hace más de una década y media tiene un currículum que demanda que los profesores de Historia y Ciencias Sociales tengan conocimiento sistemático de estas últimas –economía, sociología, ciencia política–, además de contenidos de educación cívica, el profesorado en ejercicio declara no haber tenido preparación en estos ámbitos disciplinarios, y el análisis de los planes de estudio de las facultades que preparan profesores para estas áreas, confirma lo declarado por los profesores en ejercicio: un cuadro de ausencia de oportunidades de aprendizaje y preparación en las mismas. El trabajo identifica las áreas temáticas y disciplinarias en la formación de los profesores cuyo déficit, se argumenta, es urgente reparar.
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La investigación de que damos cuenta en este capítulo trasciende la temática curricular para establecer, como su objeto de análisis e interpretación, la implementación efectiva de las oportunidades de aprendizaje que el currículo define; es decir, la pedagogía y la evaluación que ponen en práctica los profesores y la interacción de estos con sus alumnos en el aula, a través de una metodología cualitativa. A partir de una investigación empírica de este núcleo, el capítulo busca responder cómo la educación ciudadana en el presente es puesta en acto, abordando tres amplias preguntas: ¿cuáles son los patrones identificables en las prácticas pedagógicas de los docentes?; ¿qué contenidos y habilidades del currículo priorizan estos en sus evaluaciones?; y ¿cuáles son las representaciones de los profesores acerca de la educación ciudadana y las representaciones de los estudiantes acerca de la ciudadanía y participación política?
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What are the key contents related to democratic life in the curricula of civic and citizenship education in Latin American countries? What values and dimensions are most emphasized? This paper summarizes the results of a comparative analysis of civic/citizenship curricula for primary and secondary education in six countries of the region that participated in the International Civic and Citizenship Study (ICCS-2009) conducted by International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). This document comprises four parts. The first section takes stock of the state of democratic belief in the region, drawing upon the most significant opinion studies of the past decade, so as to offer broader meaning bases for curriculum analysis and, more generally, for educational work in the field of citizenship. The second section describes the organizational (or structural) characteristics of the curricula of the six countries and presents a framework of categories for their comparative analysis. The subsequent section describes and analyses the contents of the six curricula examined and how they deal with the values, institutions and citizenship relations in their civic (political) and civil (coexistence) dimensions. On the basis of the most significant findings, the closing section includes some reflections regarding curriculum development with regard to citizenship.
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Focusing on the first large-scale protests in Chile after the reinstatement of democracy in 1990, this article examines the emergence of the 2006 Pingüino movement and shows how it succeeded in mobilising thousands of secondary school students against the neoliberal education model. It argues that several distinct but intertwined dimensions explain the movement's emergence. In 2006, secondary school student groups merged to form a single organisation and adopted a horizontal and participatory decision-making mechanism. At the same time, shortcomings in the education reforms of the 1980s and 1990s were revealed in terms of quality and equity, creating grievances that were fed into the movement's collective action frame. Finally, President Bachelet's rhetoric of a ‘government of citizens’ as an attempt to counteract the elitist nature of the Concertación's governance formula signified an opening of the structure of political opportunities that the students knew to take advantage of.