The 33rd largest nation in the world, Venezuela prides itself on maintaining a thriving educational system. As of 2017, the nation boasted a 96.3 percent literacy rate, with a nearly equal distribution between men and women. Though education in Venezuela has recently suffered as a result of the current political upheaval taking place in the country, the country has also made incredible strides over the past few decades.
Providing students with free and compulsory education, Venezuela’s education system is maintained by its Ministry of Education. This dedication to providing all students with access to schooling has resulted in substantial increases in primary education. Between 1970 and 2015, the rate of primary school enrollment rose from 1.77 million children to approximately 3.5 million. Additionally, 93.1 percent of all female school-aged children are enrolled in school, indicating the substantial emphasis on deconstructing gender disparities and promoting overall equality.
Per a 2010 UNESCO report, the nation’s Education for all Development Index (EDI) has increased substantially over the past ten years. The EDI measures educational progress based on universal primary education, adult literacy, gender equality, and student survival rate to grade 5. From 1999 to 2007, the nation’s results increased by 5.1 percent; over the next two years, they rose by 2.4 percent. This upward trend not only underscores the ways in which education in Venezuela strives to be inclusive and accessible; it also places the nation at 59th out of 128 countries in terms of EDI, a significant jump from its former ranking of 64th.
Education in Venezuela is structured around the “diversified education” program, which culminates in the 9th grade. The diversified education program gives students the opportunity to choose between studying either the humanities or the sciences throughout the next two years of their high school career. Upon graduation, they then can select college majors based specifically on their high school paths.
The nation’s unique system of higher education also illustrates the significance that schooling holds for Venezuelans. Home to nearly 100 colleges and universities, a million students currently study for free. Technical institutions require three years, whereas universities require that students remain enrolled for five years. The largest college in the nation is the Central University of Venezuela, which was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000. The university offers courses in topics ranging from the humanities, communications and law to medicine, engineering and veterinary sciences.
Clearly, education in Venezuela plays a crucial role in defining and shaping the cultural and social experiences that both young people and adults alike undergo throughout their lives. Ultimately, through continued foreign support for these programs, the nation’s schooling systems will continue to perform successfully.
– Emily Chazen