Education in Venezuela

Last updated

Education in Venezuela is regulated by the Venezuelan Ministry of Education. In 2010, Venezuela ranked 59th of 128 countries on UNESCO's Education for All Development Index. [1] Nine years of education are compulsory. The school year is from September to June–July.

Contents

Under the social programs of the Bolivarian Revolution, a number of Bolivarian Missions focus on education, including Mission Robinson (primary education including literacy), Mission Ribas (secondary education) and Mission Sucre (higher education).

History

Education in colonial Venezuela was neglected compared to other parts of the Spanish Empire which were of greater economic interest. The first university in Venezuela, now the Central University of Venezuela, was established in 1721. Education at all levels was limited in both quality and quantity, and wealthy families sought education through private tutors, travel, and the study of works banned by the Empire. [2] Examples include the independence leader Simón Bolívar (1783–1830) and his tutor Simón Rodríguez (1769–1854), and the educator Andrés Bello (1781–1865). [3] Rodríguez, who drew heavily on the educational theories of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, was described by Bolívar as the "Socrates of Caracas". [3]

Free and compulsory education for ages 7 to 14 was established by decree on 27 June 1880, under President Antonio Guzmán Blanco, and was followed by the creation of the Ministry of Public Instruction in 1881, also under Guzmán Blanco. [4] In the 15 years after 1870, the number of primary schools quadrupled to nearly 2,000 and the enrollment of children expanded ten-fold, to nearly 100,000. [5]

In the early twentieth century, education was substantially neglected under the dictator Juan Vicente Gómez, despite the explosion wealth due to oil. A year after his death, only 35% of the school-age population was enrolled, and the national literacy rate was below 20%. [6] In 1928 a student revolt, though swiftly put down, saw the birth of the Generation of 1928, which formed the core of the democracy movement of later years.

Educational stages

Primary and secondary education

In 2007 primary education enrollment was around 93%. [1] [ better source needed ] Many children under five attend a preschool. Children are required to attend school from the age of six. They attend primary school until they are eleven. They are then promoted to the second level of basic education, where they stay until they are 14 or 15. Public school students usually attend classes in shifts. Some go to school from early in the morning until about 1:30 pm and others attend from the early afternoon until about 6:00 pm. All schoolchildren wear uniforms. Although education is mandatory for children, some poor children do not attend school because they must work to support their families.

Venezuelan education starts at the preschool level, and can be roughly divided into Nursery (ages below 4) and Kindergarten (ages 4–6). Students in Nursery are usually referred to as "yellow shirts", after the color of uniform they must wear according to the Uniform Law, while students in Kindergarten are called "red shirts".

Basic education comprises grades 1 through 6, and lacks a general governing program outside of the Math curriculum. English is taught at a basic level throughout Basic education. These students are referred to as "white shirts". Upon completing Basic education, students are given a Basic Education Certificate.

Middle education (grades 7–9) explores each one of the sciences as a subject and algebra. English education continues and schools may choose between giving Ethics or Catholic Religion. These students are referred to as "blue shirts". Venezuelans cannot choose their classes.

Once a student ends 9th grade, they enter Diversified education, so called because the student must choose between studying either humanities or the sciences for the next two years. This choice usually determines what majors they can opt for at the college level. These students are referred to as "beige shirts". Upon completing Diversified education (11th grade), students are given the title of Bachiller en Ciencias (Bachelor of Sciences) or Bachiller en Humanidades (Bachelor of Humanities). Some schools may include professional education, and instead award the title of Técnico en Ciencias (Technician of Sciences).

Socialist learning

Under the Bolivarian government, the Venezuelan Ministry of Education proposed an educational curriculum that would help establish a socialist country. [7] On 14 May 1999, the President Hugo Chávez approved lists of books for schools to educate young citizens on socialist ideology. The "Revolutionary Curriculum" was to feature material on theorist Karl Marx, revolutionary Che Guevara, and liberator Simón Bolívar. According to Venezuela's culture ministry, the compulsory book list is being designed to help schoolchildren eliminate "capitalist thinking" and better understand the ideas and values "necessary to build a socialist country." [8]

In 2011, the government's "Bolivarian" textbooks began to use socialist learning material. [9] According to the Associated Press, pro-government messages were "scattered through the pages of Venezuela's textbooks". [9] Math problems included fractions involving government food programs, English lessons included "reciting where late President Hugo Chávez was born, and learn[ing] civics by explaining why the elderly should give him thanks". [9] The Venezuelan government released 35 million books to primary and secondary schools called the Bicentennial Collection, which have "political content" in each book, that over 5 million children had used between 2010 and 2014. [10]

According to Leonardo Carvajal from the Assembly of Education in Venezuela, the collection of books had "become a vulgar propaganda". [10] Venezuelan historian Inés Quintero stated that in all social science books, "there is an abuse of history, ... a clear trend favoring the current political project and the political programs of the Government". [10] Geometry professor Tomas Guardia of the Central University of Venezuela stated that "the math textbook is so problematic, there's a good chance this book is also full of errors and propaganda" after he spent months inspecting math textbooks and noticed simple errors, such as calling a shape with four sides a square when it could also be a rectangle or a rhombus. [9] According to the Center of Reflection and Education Planning (CERPE) from a 2014 study by Alfredo Keller et al., 77% of Venezuelans rejected the implementation of education based on a socialist ideology. [11]

State of Miranda within the PISA program

The government of the state of Miranda joined the PISA programme in 2010 and the first results were published in December 2011. Initial results show pupils in schools managed by the regional government achieved a mean score of 422 on the PISA reading literacy scale, the same score pupils in Mexico received. [12]

Higher education

Murals by Alejandro Otero at the Central University of Venezuela,the largest university in the country. Alejandro Otero Mateo Manaure UCV 1954.JPG
Murals by Alejandro Otero at the Central University of Venezuela,the largest university in the country.

Venezuela has more than 90 institutions of higher education, with 860,000 students in 2002. Higher education remains free under the 1999 Constitution and was receiving 35% of the education budget, even though it accounted for only 11% of the student population. More than 70% of university students come from the wealthiest quantile of the population.[ citation needed ] To address this problem, instead of improving primary and secondary education, the government established the Bolivarian University system in 2003, which was designed to democratize access to "higher education" by offering heavily politicized study programs to the public with only minimal entrance requirements. Autonomous public universities have had their operational budgets frozen by the state since 2004, and staff salaries have been frozen since 2008 despite an inflation of 20–30% a year.

Higher education institutions are traditionally divided into Technical Schools and Universities. Technical schools award the student with the title of Técnico Superior Universitario (University Higher Technician) after completing a three-year program. Universities award the student with the title of Licenciado (Bachelor) or Ingeniero (Engineer), among many others, according to a student's career choice after completing, in most cases, a five-year program. Some higher education institutions may award Diplomados (Specializations) but the time necessary to obtain one varies.

Post-graduate education follows the conventions of the United States (being named "Master's" and "Doctorate" after the programs there).

In 2009 the government passed a law to establish a national standardized university entrance examination system, replacing public universities' internal entrance examinations. Some universities have rejected the new system as it creates difficulties in planning. The system has still not been formally implemented by the State. [13]

National Intake System reform

In 2015, Venezuela reformed the National Intake System and gave the government total power to award positions to students in public universities. Along with the reform, other variables were introduced by the Bolivarian government that made it more difficult for students who do not have a lower-class background to find a position in a public university. The reform proved controversial, with protests and accusations that the reform was ideological in nature. According to Quartz , the Bolivarian government reform "disregards several Venezuelan legal precedents", including constitutional laws. [14]

Literacy

In the 1970s when Venezuela was experiencing huge growth from oil sales, the literacy rate increased from 77% to 93% by the start of Hugo Chávez's tenure, [15] [16] being one of the highest literacy rates in the region.

By 2007, of Venezuelans aged 21 and older, 95.2% could read and write. The literacy rate in 2007 was estimated to be 95.4% for males and 94.9% for females. [17] In 2008, Francisco Rodríguez of Wesleyan University in Connecticut and Daniel Ortega of IESA stated that there was “little evidence” of “statistically distinguishable effect on Venezuelan illiteracy” during the Chávez administration. [18] The Venezuelan government claimed that it had taught 1.5 million Venezuelans to read, [19] but the study found that "only 1.1 million were illiterate to begin with" and that the illiteracy reduction of less than 100,000 can be attributed to adults that were elderly and died. [18]

Exodus of education professionals and graduates

Educational professionals

In 2014, reports emerged showing a high number of education professionals taking flight from educational positions in Venezuela along with the millions of other Venezuelans that had left the country during the presidency of Hugo Chávez, according to Iván de la Vega, a sociologist at Simón Bolívar University. According to the Association of Professors, the Central University of Venezuela lost around 700 faculty members between 2011 and 2012 with most being considered the next generation of professors. About 240 faculty members also quit at Simón Bolívar University. The reason for emigration is reportedly due to the high crime rate in Venezuela and inadequate pay. [20] According to Claudio Bifano, president of the Venezuelan Academy of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, most of Venezuela's "technology and scientific capacity, built up over half a century" had been lost during Hugo Chávez's presidency. Bifano acknowledges the country's large educational funds and scientific staff, but states that the output of those scientists had dropped significantly. Bifano reports that between 2008 and 2012, international journals declined by 40%; with journals matching the same number as 1997, when Venezuela had about a quarter of the scientists it had between 2008 and 2012. He also says that more than half of the medical graduates of 2013 had left the country. [21]

According to El Nacional, the flight of educational professionals resulted in a shortage of teachers in Venezuela. The director of the Center for Cultural Research and Education, Mariano Herrera, estimated that there was a shortage of about 40% for math and science teachers. Some teachers resorted to teaching multiple classes, and passing students out of convenience. The Venezuelan government seeks to curb the shortage of teachers through the Simón Rodríguez Micromission by cutting the graduation requirements for educational professionals to 2 years. [22]

College graduates

In a study titled Venezolana Community Abroad: A New Method of Exile by Thomas Páez, Mercedes Vivas and Juan Rafael Pulido of the Central University of Venezuela, over 1.5 million Venezuelans, between 4% and 6% of Venezuela's population, left the country following the Bolivarian Revolution; more than 90% of those who left were college graduates, with 40% of them holding a Master's degree and 12% having doctorates and/or post doctorates. [23] [24] The study used official verification of data from outside of Venezuela and surveys from hundreds of former Venezuelans. [23] Of those involved in the study, reasons for leaving Venezuela included lack of freedom, high levels of insecurity, and lack of opportunities in the country. [23] [24] Páez also explains how some parents in Venezuela tell their children to leave the country for protection from the insecurities Venezuelans face. [23]

See also

Related Research Articles

Hugo Chávez 45th president of Venezuela

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was a Venezuelan politician who was president of Venezuela from 1999 until his death in 2013, except for a brief period in April 2002. Chávez was also leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when it merged with several other parties to form the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which he led until 2012.

Fifth Republic Movement

The Fifth Republic Movement was a democratic socialist political party in Venezuela. It was founded in July 1997, following a national congress of the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200, to support the candidacy of Hugo Chávez, the former President of Venezuela, in the 1998 presidential election. The "Fifth Republic" refers to the fact that in 1997 the Republic of Venezuela was the fourth in Venezuelan history, and the Movement aimed to re-found the Republic through a constituent assembly. Following Chávez' 1998 election victory, this took place in 1999, leading to the 1999 Constitution of Venezuela.

Bolivarian Revolution

The Bolivarian Revolution is a political process in Venezuela that was led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, the founder of the Fifth Republic Movement and later the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). The Bolivarian Revolution is named after Simón Bolívar, an early 19th-century Venezuelan and Latin American revolutionary leader, prominent in the Spanish American wars of independence in achieving the independence of most of northern South America from Spanish rule. According to Chávez and other supporters, the Bolivarian Revolution seeks to build an inter-American coalition to implement Bolivarianism, nationalism and a state-led economy.

The Bolivarian Circles are political and social organizations of workers' councils in Venezuela, originally created by President Hugo Chávez on 21 December 2001. The circles have also been described as militias and compared to Cuba's Committees for the Defense of the Revolution and Panama's Dignity Battalions. They are named in honor of Simón Bolívar, the leader who transformed most of South America from Spanish colonial outposts to the independent states now in place.

Bolivarianism is a mix of panhispanic, socialist and national-patriotic ideals fixed against injustices of imperialism, inequality and corruption named after Simón Bolívar, the 19th-century Venezuelan general and liberator from the Spanish monarchy then in abeyance, who led the struggle for independence throughout much of South America.

Bolivarian missions Venezuelan social programs enacted by Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro

The Bolivarian missions are a series of over thirty social programs implemented under the administration of former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and continued by Chávez's successor, Nicolás Maduro. The programs focus on social justice, social welfare, anti-poverty, educational, and military recruiting. They draw their name from the historical South American hero, Simón Bolívar.

The early life of Hugo Chávez spans the first twenty-one years (1954–1975) of the former President of Venezuela's life. Leader of the "Bolivarian Revolution", Hugo Chávez is known for his socialist governance, his promotion of Latin American integration, and his radical critique of neoliberal globalization and United States foreign policy.

Bolivarian Military University of Venezuela

The Bolivarian Military University of Venezuela (in Spanish Universidad Militar Bolivariana de Venezuela. The Military Bolivarian University of Venezuela, is a National Experimental University of Venezuela, which operates under the military education of the nation, is under the Ministry of the People's Power for Defense. It was founded by Decree of the president Hugo Chávez. It is located in Caracas, Venezuela and it provides a four-year program of training for officer cadets.

Mission Robinson is one of the Bolivarian Missions implemented by Hugo Chávez in 2003. The name "Robinson" was given to the Mission in remembrance of the pseudonym adopted during his exile from Spanish America by Venezuelan philosopher and educator Simón Rodríguez (1769–1854).

Mission Sucre is one the Bolivarian Missions implemented by the late former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. The program provides free and ongoing higher education to the two million adult Venezuelans.

Bolivarian University of Venezuela

The Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela is a state university in Venezuela founded in 2003 by decree of President Hugo Chávez.

<i>Chavismo</i> Left-wing political ideology

Chavism or Chavezism is a left-wing political ideology based on the ideas, programs and government style associated with the former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez that combines elements of democratic socialism, left-wing populism, patriotism, internationalism, Bolivarianism, and Caribbean and Latin American integration. Supporters of Chávez and Chavismo are known as Chavistas.

Cuba–Venezuela relations Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Cuba and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Relations between Cuba and Venezuela were established in 1902. The relationship was aggravated by the Cold War, with Venezuela tending to side with the United States, while Cuba was a loyal ally of the Soviet Union. A destabilizing factor was the alleged Cuban support for the antigovernment guerrilla force that operates in remote rural areas. In 1999 the bilateral relation significantly improved during the Presidency of Hugo Chávez. Chávez formed a major alliance with Cuban president Fidel Castro and significant trade relationship with Cuba since his election in 1999. The warm relationship between the two countries continued to intensify. After decades of close ties in the Caribbean, several governments in the region started to distance from the United States. Hugo Chávez described Castro as his mentor and called Cuba "a revolutionary democracy".

Socialism of the 21st century

Socialism of the 21st century is an interpretation of socialist principles first advocated by German sociologist and political analyst Heinz Dieterich and taken up by a number of Latin American leaders. Dieterich argued in 1996 that both free-market industrial capitalism and 20th-century socialism in the form of Marxism–Leninism have failed to solve urgent problems of humanity such as poverty, hunger, exploitation of labour, economic oppression, sexism, racism, the destruction of natural resources and the absence of a truly participative democracy. Socialism of the 21st century has democratic socialist elements, but it primarily resembles Marxist revisionism.

The Venezuelan Ministry of Education is the federal-level department responsible for organising the education system of Venezuela. In 2001 it was the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture, with responsibility for Culture and Sport being assigned to separate ministries on 14 February 2005 and 6 January 2007.

Bolivarian propaganda

Bolivarian propaganda is a form of nationalist propaganda, especially in Venezuela, that utilizes the ideals espoused by Simón Bolívar, who helped lead Venezuela and other Latin American countries to independence from Spain, to exploit populist sentiments in support of local leaders. This type of propaganda has been particularly associated with Hugo Chávez's Bolivarian Revolution, which used emotional arguments to gain attention, exploit the fears of the population, create external enemies for scapegoat purposes, and produce nationalism within the population, causing feelings of betrayal for support of the opposition. The World Politics Review stated that, as Chávez began "transforming Venezuela into a socialist state", propaganda was "an important role in maintaining and mobilizing government supporters". The image of Chávez is seen on sides of buildings, on T-shirts, on ambulances, on official Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) billboards, and as action figures throughout Venezuela. A 2011 article by The New York Times says Venezuela has an "expanding state propaganda complex" while The Boston Globe described Chávez as "a media savvy, forward-thinking propagandist" and that he had "the oil wealth to influence public opinion".

Great Patriotic Pole Left-wing Chavista political alliance in Venezuela

The Simón Bolívar Great Patriotic Pole is a left-wing socialist electoral alliance/popular front of Venezuelan political parties created in 2012 to support the re-election of Hugo Chávez in the 2012 presidential election.

Military Academy of Troop Officers Commander in Chief Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías

The Military Academy of Troop Officers Commander in Chief Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, is a military academy to train officers of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela within basic command echelons. It is also one of the two youngest component academies of the Bolivarian Military University of Venezuela, opened on June 1, 2012. Unlike the rest of the academies, the TOMC is a joint service academy, only serving experienced corporals and junior ranked NCOs with a potential to become officers of the Armed Forces. Also, up until 2019 it had a three year study term instead of the four of the other academies.

Hugo Chávezs cult of personality

In Venezuela, a cult of personality has been created around the late President Hugo Chávez, where his supporters venerate him. Chávez largely received his support through his charisma and by spending Venezuela's oil funds on the poor.

Fifth Republic of Venezuela

The Fifth Republic of Venezuela, commonly known as the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is the period in contemporary Venezuelan history from 1999 with the election of Hugo Chávez to the presidency and the installation of his Bolivarian Revolution, to the present day.

References

  1. 1 2 Venezuelanalysis.com , 27 January 2010, UNESCO: Education in Venezuela Has Greatly Improved
  2. Sanchez (1963:12-14)
  3. 1 2 Sanchez (1963:15–16)
  4. Sanchez (1963:19)
  5. Sanchez (1963:20)
  6. Sanchez, George I. (1963), The Development of Education in Venezuela , Office of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC., p. v
  7. "Rechazan padres de familia adoctrinamiento educativo en Venezuela". Yahoo Noticias. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  8. Chavez Launches Revolutionary Reading Plan in Venezuela The Financial, 15 May 2009
  9. 1 2 3 4 Dreier, Hannah (7 January 2015). "Venezuelan Textbooks Teach Math, Science, Socialism". Associated Press. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  10. 1 2 3 Clarembaux, Patricia (24 June 2014). "Denuncian adoctrinamiento chavista en la educación infantil". Infobae . Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  11. "El 77% de los venezolanos está en contra de la educación socialista". Infobae. 8 November 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  12. "PISA Programme 2011 results" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  13. Venezuelanalysis.com , 17 March 2010, Violence and Discrimination Rise in Opposition-Controlled Venezuelan Universities
  14. Martin, Sabrina (2 June 2015). "Venezuela's new university admissions criteria favor government supporters". Quartz . Retrieved 3 June 2015.
  15. Nelson, Brian A. (2009). The silence and the scorpion: the coup against Chávez and the making of modern Venezuela (Online ed.). New York: Nation Books. pp. 1–3. ISBN   978-1568584188.
  16. Heritage, Andrew (December 2002). Financial Times World Desk Reference. Dorling Kindersley. pp. 618–21. ISBN   9780789488053.
  17. UNESCO, Education in Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
  18. 1 2 "Propaganda, not policy". The Economist. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  19. Márquez, Humberto (28 October 2005). "Venezuela se declara libre de analfabetismo" (in Spanish). Inter Press Service. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
  20. Small Carmona, Andrea. "Poor conditions blamed for Venezuelan scientist exodus". SciDev. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  21. Arzt, E.; Orjeda, G.; Nobre, C.; Castilla, J. C.; Barañao, L.; Ribeiro, S.; Bifano, C.; Krieger, J. E.; Guerrero, P. C. (12 June 2014). "Capacity building: Architects of South American science" (PDF). Nature. 510 (7504): 209–12. doi:10.1038/510209a. PMID   24926500 . Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  22. Montilla K., Andrea (4 July 2014). "Liceístas pasan de grado sin cursar varias materias". El Nacional. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  23. 1 2 3 4 Maria Delgado, Antonio (28 August 2014). "Venezuela agobiada por la fuga masiva de cerebros". El Nuevo Herald. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  24. 1 2 "El 90% de los venezolanos que se van tienen formación universitaria". El Impulso. 23 August 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014.