Mérida, October 24, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)– Almost 6,000 Venezuelan university students recently graduated through the government's scholarship program, and a further 700 doctors will graduate at the end of this year, significantly filling the shortage of professionals previously experienced by Venezuela.
On Wednesday 5,949 students who participated in the scholarship program known as Mission Sucre graduated in areas of administration (1,478 students), computing (1,205), social communication (247), agricultural production (95), environmental management (604), and social management for local development (2,235).
Mission Sucre is a program for including low-income Venezuelans in university level education, directed by the Ministry of Education, and created five years ago with the aim to municipalize university education.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez attended the graduation of the second finishing group of Mission Sucre students in Caracas together with simultaneous graduation events around the country.
Mission Sucre currently has 527,134 students and there are also 108,000 applicants registered to enroll in the Mission. In his speech, Chavez described these students as forming part of the army to construct Venezuelan Socialism. He said the numbers were significant as indicators of the possibility of professional development that Venezuelan's have.
He added that although Venezuela still hasn't come out of the bog it was put in by previous governments, for many years it has started to come out of this situation, and therefore he urged the new graduates to be motors of the revolution and the new country that Venezuelans must construct.
On this, Juan Carlos Pimentel, one of the graduating students, said that Venezuela needs professionals with much social sensibility, and that Mission Sucre students are in contact with social reality, "and we want to put our preparation and knowledge at the service of the nation."
He added that education is "so the people have the tools to advance, without education we are week and the objects of manipulation and of the media war."
Chavez encouraged all the students to continue studying, because consciousness comes from knowledge, so "it is very important that the Bolivarian and socialist education model continue growing and expanding itself and improving in quality."
Of the BsF 177.5 billion (US$82.5 billion) assigned to the 2009 budget, BsF 41.5 billion (US$19.3 billion) have been assigned to education, an 18.2% increase from last year.
Of this, the Ministry of Education will receive BsF 25 billion (US$11.6 billion), and the Ministry of Superior Education has been assigned BsF 11 billion (US$5.1 billion).
Medical School Graduates
Also, 700 community medicine doctors will graduate from the National Experimental University Romulo Gallegos at the end of the year.
The minister for health, Jesus Mantilla, said, "Chavez has put a program of integral community medicine in progress that is the formation of the integral doctor in the communities. At the moment there are around 30,000 [doctors], including the pre-meds, measures that we have adopted to be able to fill this deficit of doctors that there was at a national level."
He said that under previous governments there were very few university places for doctors, and that this situation has dramatically turned around. In total, he said, there are 2,285 Venezuelan doctors across the country and next year 4,000 more doctors will be able to practice.