Venezuela Is Empty: Schools Are Without Students And Teachers

Since September 2018, 7000 educational staff have resigned.

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The crisis has driven students and teachers to leave Venezuela. (Merida Digital)

The classrooms in Venezuela are empty. Not because of the school holidays, but because of the shortage of students and teachers. It is a consequence of the crisis caused by the Chavista dictatorship.

Schools in the South American country are beginning to look for alternatives to replace teachers. They are summoning students’ mothers to teach different classes. The universities and schools in the country are the real mirrors of the crisis. Education professionals are in the “danger of extinction.”

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According to a report by the news portal, Infobae, the Fe y Alegria Education Movement has 40 volunteer mothers in 26 schools in Caracas. They have assumed the responsibilities of teachers. These schools alone need 189 teachers.

The Venezuelan Association of Catholic Schools reports that there have been 7000 resignations since September of last year of what 80% are teachers. A report by Euronews also revealed that 20% of professors had given up their positions.

In Venezuela, a teacher with the highest educational qualifications receives a basic monthly salary of 102,000 Bolivares (10 USD). Meanwhile, the basic family basket exceeds 20 USD daily.

Besides the shortage of teachers, there is also a severe absence of students. According to the Living Conditions Survey (encovi) of 2018, 28% of students did not attend school due to the shortage of water, 22% due to the lack of food in the house and 13% due to food shortage at school. Other factors contributing to the absence include the shortage of medicines, the low purchasing power of Venezuelans, and the lack of transportation.

Javier Tarazona, director of the Fundación Redes NGO, pointed out that school dropouts affect cities in the interior of the country more than in Caracas, the capital. He reported that in more than 1,500 schools in the national territory, 58% of the classrooms were abandoned, while in the border states the figure is as high as 80%.

New migratory wave will worsen the academic landscape

These figures are on the rise as we expect a new wave of emigrants, both teachers, and students to begin at the end of this school year. Unicef statistics reveal that at least 400,000 children have left Venezuela because of the humanitarian crisis.

“People were waiting for their children to finish the school year to make the decision. The situation in the country is that there is a human tragedy driving people to leave. Since Venezuelans are poorer today, they don’t have many ways of leaving except on foot, by bus, on in small boats,” the sociologist Tomas Paez, coordinator of the Observatory of Venezuelan diaspora, informed the PanAm Post.

According to projections by the Organization of American States General Secretariat Working Group on the Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees Crisis, some 500,000 Venezuelans will flee the country this quarter, and the figure will double, surpassing one million additional people by the end of 2019.

Students work as professors

Schools rope in mothers to teach students. Sometimes they even get fourth or fifth-year high school students. Universities contact students in the final semesters or recent graduates of the different careers to give classes in the subjects in which they have excelled.

Olga Ramos, a member of the Education Assembly in Venezuela, explained to the PanAm Post that in many cases educational institutions have chosen to turn to parents, representatives and community members to teach subjects they are familiar with.

“In real terms, the education system is condemned to lower quality because there are no guarantees that the person who is teaching has the complete knowledge of the material apart from having no training in pedagogy,” Ramos added.

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