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School retention in the Chilean governmental discourse: Documentary analysis after 20 years of the Free and Compulsory Secondary Education Law

Abstract

School retention has gained relevance in the Chilean governmental discourse, especially since the enactment, almost 20 years ago, of the Free and Compulsory Secondary Education Law, focused on guaranteeing the educational trajectories of the entire population. Considering this, and the fact that dropout figures are still present in the country, it is worth analyzing how school retention is conceptualized according to the Central Government. Consequently, this study seeks to answer the following question: What are the conceptualizations of school retention used in governmental documents? For this purpose, from a qualitative approach, a documentary review of all the files issued since the enactment of the Law was carried out, using the technique of thematic categorical content analysis. Direct and explicit definitions of retention as a systemic and institutional capacity were found, as well as indirect ones, associated with terms such as attendance and successful educational trajectory. The findings reveal the importance of retention in official documents, understood as a complex and multicausal phenomenon that requires concrete actions for its effectiveness.

Governmental Policy; School Retention; Documentary Analysis; Chile

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E-mail: ensaio@cesgranrio.org.br