Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Araya F., Dell R., Donoso P., Marianov V., Martínez F. and Weintraub A. (2012)

Optimizing location and size of rural schools in Chile. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-3995.2012.00843.x

Revista : International Transactions in Operational Research
Volumen : 19
Número : 5
Páginas : 695-710
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The Chilean Ministry of Education oversees preschool, primary, and secondary education in both urbanand rural areas. Many parts of Chile are sparsely populated and there are currently over 4,000 rural schools(almost 38% of all schools in Chile) educating 9.5% of the students in the country.Many of the rural schoolsare small with only one teacher responsible for instruction of all local students (multigrade schools). Thegeographical distribution of the rural schools has not been coordinated and this has resulted in unequalutilization of existing schools and some unreasonably long travel distances by students. Good management ofthe rural schools is fundamental to meeting Chile’s goal of providing quality education to its citizens. Seekingto improve the situation, the Ministry of Education ordered a study of the optimal location and size of ruralschools with the general goals of reducing the number of lesser quality multigrade schools and reducingstudent travel distances while maintaining reasonable costs. This paper presents results of this study obtainedusing an integer linear program that has been embedded in a geographical information system. We presentcomputational results for the entire country. Recommendations include where to open new rural schools aswell as where to expand, reduce, close, or leave unchanged existing schools. We show how recommendationsare sensitive to key parameters such as the cost of transportation.