Study and find schools in Venezuela




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Venezuela is large, mountainous, and rugged–a land of beautiful Atlantic coastline and tropical highlands. It has a population of 27 million, of whom 93% live in major cities. This leaves vast swaths of the country's interior sparsely populated and creates problems related to overcrowding in the dense urban centers.
 
Venezuela has had a nominally democratic government since 1959, although political freedoms and civil liberties have seen a decline in recent years under the powerful central government of Hugo Chavez. Elected in 1999, Chavez has made efforts to socialize the economy and increase the power of the government in Caracas. His reforms, along with his combative attitude toward the United States, has made him a polarizing figure in Venezuela and abroad; revered by his supporters, and reviled by his detractors. Economically, Venezuela is heavily dependent on extractive businesses such as oil and other mineral resources. Intensive drilling and mining operations often pit the needs of the environment against the demand for profit, and fluctuations in oil prices can quickly destabilize the Venezuelan economy.
 
With an estimated literacy rate of 94%, Venezuela has been among the most successful countries in South America in the effort to eliminate illiteracy and realize the dream of effective universal education. However, grave problems remain with the Venezuelan education system. Despite a nine-year compulsory education policy, a large portion of the Venezuelan population are unable to attend school because of the pressures of extreme poverty. It is estimated that as many as 20% of Venezuela's citizens have never had any formal schooling at all. Economic instability exacerbates this problem, and opinions differ as to whether the Chavez government's educational policies are helping the country to move in the right direction.
 
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of public education in Venezuela is its expressly pro-socialist political slant. The Chavez government is open and explicit about the fact that the school curriculum in Venezuela is designed to eliminate “capitalist thinking” and instill socialist values and beliefs at an early age. Some Venezuelans see this as a noble effort to stand up against powerful, even neocolonial, global business interests–others see it as a vile indoctrination, while still others simply tolerate it as inevitable.
 
The 1999 Constitution of Venezuela guarantees free higher education, and to the country's 6 million college and university students are enjoying the benefits of that guarantee. There are several reputable universities in Venezuela, mostly clustered in the capital city, Caracas. From the perspective of the government, the most significant problem in higher education today is the fact that the overwhelming majority of college and university students come from affluent families, while poor and working class students have limited access to higher education. In 2003, in an effort to address this imbalance, the government founded a system of universities known collectively as the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela (Bolviarian University of Venezuela), or UBV. The UBV system is intended to provide cheap post–secondary education for all Venezuelan citizens, regardless of wealth or social status. Like many aspects of the public education system in Venezuela, the Bolivarian University has been criticized as overly political and ideologically biased.

Map of Venezuela

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