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Chilean president unveils education reform bill

SANTIAGO, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Chilean President Michelle Bachelet unveiled an education reform bill Thursday to address the long-lasting education crisis as mass student protests swept the country since 2011.

The bill, one of the 56 measures Bachelet has promised to undertake in her first 100 days in office, calls for greater financial transparency at state-funded private schools and the creation of a national education service responsible for public school management.

"We hope to have the enthusiastic support of our legislators for education reform ... the reforms will lead to a more just, more modern, and more developed country we need," said Bachelet at a school in Santiago.

The bill represented "a reform that will guarantee fairness in opportunities ... put an end to profiteering and establish clear guidelines so that no one profits from our boys and girls," said Bachelet.

To pay for the proposed reform, she also announced a 20-percent to 25-percent hike in the taxes paid by major companies on utilities.

Though the measure is expected to encounter resistance from the conservative opposition and business groups, Bachelet defended the bill by saying that "permanent change requires permanent financing."

"It's not just a proposed bill. We are mapping out how we grow as a society and how we develop as a nation," she added.

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