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High School Dropout Rates down by Half in Venezuela

Mérida, October 4th 2011 ( – High school repetition and dropout rates have reduced by half over the last twelve years, according to the minister for education Maryan Hanson.

Hanson said the improvement was “due to a series of policies the government has implemented in order to guarantee inclusion and that education is universal”.

According to the minister, speaking on public television station VTV, in the 1998-1999 school year, high school dropout rates were at 15%, and repetition rates at 11%. Those figures are currently 7.7% and 5.9% respectively.

High school students began their school year this week, and primary school students last week.  The Venezuelan school year is a total of 200 class days.

“Unlike last year, when there were a lot of contingencies because of the heavy rains, this year the school year has started on time,” said Hanson. Heavy flooding and landslides left many homeless, blocked roads and closed some schools last year.

The previous year sectors of the opposition threatened to sabotage the start of classes with boycotts and civil disobedience in reaction to the passing of the education law the month before. However 98% of schools opened on time.

Counting all primary, high school, special education and adult high school students, this year there are 7,794,996 students. Of those, 6,099,107 are in public education, and the rest in private.

Hanson also said there are 705,000 people receiving a wage from the ministry of education, including teachers, administration and other workers, and retirees.

This year the government has also distributed 12 million textbooks to primary school students. “The objective of this program is to ensure that those with less economic resources can count on having textbooks in order to guarantee education as an inalienable human right,” Hanson said in mid August. Savings for parents and guardians of public school students, the minister said, range between 100 and 200 bolivars ($23 and $46) for each book.

Published on Oct 6th 2011 at 11.52am