105 Neighbors from San Pedro de Atacama to Complete Elementary and Secondary Schooling

105 Neighbors from San Pedro de Atacama to Complete Elementary and Secondary Schooling


In order to encourage continuing education and provide hundreds of residents the opportunity to improve their job options, the third edition of the Second-Chance Education Program was inaugurated, benefiting 100 people from the towns of Camar, Peine, Río Grande, San Pedro de Atacama, Talabre and Toconao.

The Second-Chance Education Program in the district of San Pedro de Atacama began with 105 students enrolled. The initiative, supported for the third year in a row by SQM and managed by the Education Ministry, is targeted towards all individuals from towns in the Salar de Atacama wishing to complete their elementary or high school educations.

“This is marvelous and addresses an important need in the district. I understand and know firsthand many people who have not finished their education and, therefore, for me it is extremely satisfying to see the residents of San Pedro de Atacama finish high school,” explained Mayor Aliro Catur.

The program, sponsored by the Municipality of San Pedro de Atacama’s Municipal Job Placement Office, the Semilla Foundation, OTEC Capacitaciones Da Vinci and SQM, aims to encourage continued studies and help them achieve their high school diplomas or finish their elementary education. The ultimate goal is to improve local residents’ quality of life and give them a tool that could generate new educational and job opportunities.

“I am sincerely grateful to SQM for its support. This is the program’s third year and it is very beneficial for us because we have seen the community’s interest in these initiatives to complete their elementary and high school studies. Last year 83 people enrolled. Today we are starting a new round with 105 students enrolled,” the mayor highlighted.

On the topic, Environment and Community Senior Vice President of SQM Salar, Alejandro Bucher, underscored the importance of creating opportunities to complete studies. “We are very happy to be part of this program, which is designed to generate new educational and job opportunities for our neighbors in the Salar de Atacama, aiming to improve quality of life and employability in the district. This is in addition to the community work we carry out as a company through our four areas of action: Education and Culture; Social Development; Heritage and Sports and Healthy Living. One such program in the educational area is the Mathematics and Language Assistance Program in the towns of Camar, Peine, Socaire, Solor and Talabre, where we have been involved for the past 10 years.”


This third version will consist solely of online classes, in order to safeguard people’s health, respect public health rules and practice social distancing, thus preventing possible spread of COVID-19. Therefore, in order to facilitate access to the program, a subsidy was added to guarantee students have internet connectivity. Similarly, this year the program incorporates people from other towns, such as Camar, Río Grande, Talabre and Toconao.

Remote classes will be given twice a week, divided by cycle: 5th-6th grade, 7th-8th grade, 9th-10th grade and, lastly, 11th-12th grade. “The idea is for people to get their high school diploma and, at the same time, rekindle lost dreams. This is why we have adapted this new version to the contingency, with classes being held on Fridays and Saturdays via Zoom. In addition, since we know that the district has several towns without internet, we have conducted test connections, teaching students how to download and use the application,” explained Víctor Adasme, head of the Municipal Job Placement Office (OMIL).

“I would like to congratulate the students that have taken on this new challenge of completing their studies and encourage them to approach each course with energy and optimism in order to successfully complete this new stage, which ultimately aims to improve their job opportunities and provide continuing education to residents of the district,” concluded Environment and Community Senior Vice President of SQM Salar, Alejandro Bucher.