3 de Junio, 2006

This a very clear letter, very sharp.

Por Venezuela Real - 3 de Junio, 2006, 19:19, Categoría: Política Nacional

Isabel T. Lara

Chavismo has been undermining all the old educational system. In a way that would be not so bad if, like it was the case in the Soviet Union, he were to create a strong new system based on meritocracy within the ideology of the state. After all some of the Soviet achievements can be traced to such an educational system, even though it reached its limits under Stalinas ideology became the only criteria. Examination entrance to some Soviet elite universities and background credentials would make any Western entrance exam pale in comparison.

But what Chavez, an ignorant on education matters as he is ignorant on pretty much else except fiery populist speeches, is promoting a pseudo non elite educational system whose aim is clearly avoid the creation of any technological elite, avoidance of any free thinking and creativity. Basically what chavismo  wants is a system dumbed down to the Bolivarian University level where to enter it is enough to show your adhesion to the revolution, even if you barely can read and write.

It is not the place in this post to establish a whole critic of what is going on with education in
Venezuela, a catastrophe of its own that started 20 years ago and that has accelerated considerably under Chavez. Let's just say for the time being that it is a top heavy system where large sums are spent on higher education, perversely considered as a right while elementary education is dramatically under funded. There are workers with a primary degree that can barely write down their name or read basic instructions for simple machinery use. Often I have to read aloud to them instructions to make sure they understand. These people, even with a 6 grade "education" could benefit from Mision Robinson (which, by the way, from reports emerging, does to seem to have solved the illiteracy problem in Venezuela).

Myself, like Chavez, are products of the old system which for all its vices and virtues managed to educate for free Chavez and myself. He went to military school and I went the scholarship way. Through my state scholarships, obtained strictly on my merits, I got an engineering degree and then a MsS. Once in the States I got my PhD the good old fashioned way: teaching and research assistantships and macaroni and cheese. Yet the system produced a president and a published scientist. Now, the Bolivarian University will produce only ideological crap.

Devaluing Education In Venezuela -

Por Venezuela Real - 3 de Junio, 2006, 19:01, Categoría: Prensa Internacional

A letter to the Washington Post: Pseudo education in Venezuela

It seems that lately US newspapers are more and more willing to pick up letters from Venezuela that take a strong stand against articles they publish. Yours truly got a letter in the Boston Globe a few weeks ago. Today I have received a letter from Isabel Lara that made it to the Washignton Post. I am posting this letter in full below:

Friday, June 2, 2006

To say that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is educating the masses "in his image" is an understatement [news story, May 25]. He is using higher education as a tool for ideological manipulation and brainwashing.

Public education has been free in Venezuela since 1870. Mr. Chavez himself enjoyed the benefit of free education during Venezuela's previous oil bonanza, when the most prestigious academic institutions in the country -- Simon Bolivar University and Central University of Venezuela -- were not only free of charge but also free of government ideological intervention.

The first time I heard Mr. Chavez speak was at a conference at Simon Bolivar University after he had been freed from jail following an attempt to topple the democratically elected president. I wonder if a teacher at the new Bolivarian University of Venezuela today could invite or take on as a student a Venezuelan citizen who signed the petition against Mr. Chavez.

The Chavez government is spending millions on this new university, while choking Venezuela's established universities, not paying professors their salaries and owing retired professors their pensions. The article cited the case of a student who was not able to pass the entrance exams at Central University but now is studying at Bolivarian University. Doing away with entrance exams so that everybody can have access to higher education without the imperialistic obstacle of a standardized test or even good grades is one of Mr. Chavez's ideas. The result will be a college degree that is worthless. Who wants to hire a doctor or a lawyer who does not meet basic academic requirements?

Un pueblo bajo sospecha

Por Venezuela Real - 3 de Junio, 2006, 18:18, Categoría: Política Nacional

El documental "La Lista. Un Pueblo Bajo Sospecha", en su versión original de 40 minutos.

Colabora en la lucha contra la Discriminación Política en Venezuela.

de la dirección del
Nuevo Portal Principal


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