My research aims to address the skill gap in Chile with early education. Start-up Chile, a government initiative, recruits foreign entrepreneurs to establish early stage companies within the country. Although the program has shown early signs of success, it lacks a plan for training Chileans for careers in the technology sector.

Why High Schools?
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor evaluates a country’s innovation ecosystem by examining 9 Entrepreneurial Framework Conditions. In their 2016 Global Report, Chile’s lowest score (2.73 out of 9) across all 9 categories was in education, specifically in primary and secondary schools.

The goal of my research is to identify the most effective methods for teaching technical skills, like computer science, in Chilean high schools.

What are the most effective methods of teaching technical skills, like computer science, in Chile?
A deeper dive into the three phases of my research project

Phase I – Conduct an analysis of the skill sets of recently hired tech employees to identify the most valuable qualifications in the market

During the first phase, I will assess the human capital demands of Chilean startups. I will employ a multi-method strategy, using both quantitative and qualitative observation methods to identify the necessary skills required by the technology sector as it is developing in Chile. I plan to observe both the recruitment processes as well as daily employee workflow to understand mechanisms for job attainment. Using an ethnographic approach, I will collect qualitative data by observing interviews at startups, aiming to identify the most sought after qualifications. I also plan to administer a quantitative survey to human resource personnel in various startups, asking them to rate their needs for various technical skills. By using the Triangulation method, the combination of multiple methodologies to observe a single phenomena, I can validate my findings and glean a more holistic understanding of the job market. My initial research would answer the question: What skills will make Chilean candidates most successful in obtaining entry-level positions at domestic technology companies?

Phase II – Map the public educational landscape using publicly available data from the Ministry of Education

In the second phase of my research project, I will use large-scale regression analysis to identify which educational attributes are most critical in determining student performance in Chile’s education system. I will analyze Chile’s Education Quality Agency’s publicly-available data set, which contains math, social science and reading comprehension test scores for all Chilean primary and secondary schools. This data set also includes a variety of school attributes, such as as student to teacher ratio and the average number of students per class. To identify schools that have already exhibited prowess in teaching, I will use both test performance and school attributes data in a multivariate regression analysis, which will allow me to identify which educational attributes are highly correlated with student performance.

Phase III – Conduct 10 case studies of top-performing schools. Perform controlled experiments at each school that test various methods of teaching the technical skills (identified in Phase I).

In the third phase of my research project, I’ll conduct school-level case studies to 1) evaluate the efficacy of the Chilean education system in teaching the relevant skills identified in Phase I and 2) identify the cause of the correlations identified in Phase 2. I plan to conduct an in-depth analysis on 10 high-performing schools, evaluating student abilities in industry-specific skill sets identified in Phase I. These case studies will allow me to understand why certain educational attributes are currently leading to success in teaching technical skills. As the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor identified early education as an area for improvement, I will study Chilean primary and secondary schools, focusing on state-subsidized private school districts. I plan to observe classes and conduct focus groups, to incorporate teacher and student perspectives on the importance of different attributes of the educational environment. Finally, I plan to test student abilities in these schools, evaluating their performance on the skills identified in Phase I. My research would aim to answer the question:

Which areas of education are most critical for preparing students for careers in the technology sector as it is developing in Chile?