This Monday 2,630,000 Venezuelan students resumed their studies in public or private universities. The total number of students at the highest level shows a striking 294 percent rise in the last 14 years, from 894,418 students in the year 2000.
Venezuela now ranks fifth in the world in the number of students studying at the university level, thanks to the educational expansion and democratization achieved in the process known as the Bolivarian Revolution, say educational authorities.
They explain that this growth represents a matriculation rate of 83 percent. In other words, out of the total number of spaces available, the number of university students currently enrolled account for 83 percent, almost double the 43 percent rate in the past. The goal for 2019 is a 100 percent matriculation rate, with three million students actively engaged in university studies.
Venezuela’s Vice President of Planning and Knowledge, Ricardo Menéndez, told students at the National Experimental University of the Armed Forces (UNEFA), in the city of Chuao, state of Miranda, that prior to 1999, only military officers attended their school, but since then its doors are open to young people throughout the country.
“This is one of the creations of our Revolution. Let’s remember that university education was formerly restricted to 3,000 UNEFA students, and now we have more than two hundred thousand.”
The Minister of University Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Manuel Fernández, added that more than ten million children, youth and adults now study in Venezuelan schools, making the country an educational example for others to follow. He urged students to pay attention to President Nicolàs Maduro and convert the universities into research centers for generating proposals and solutions in diverse areas.
Menéndez spoke of the need to foster university programs in the areas of agriculture, housing, electricity, water, petrochemicals, gas and telecommunications, geared towards furthering the development of the country and making Venezuela more productive.