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Educational System—overview

Education in Venezuela is compulsory up to high school. Classes are conducted in Spanish in non-sectarian schools. Education is free for all, and every citizen has the right to attend public schools. The educational system in Venezuela is highly centralized. For this reason, changes or innovations that occur will affect the whole country. Public and private schools are subject to supervision by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. Private schools must meet the same standards as those required in the public schools. For all levels of education there are public and private institutions. The structure of the whole educational system is comprised of Basic Education (Educación Básica), which lasts nine years (from 5 to 14 years); Diversified Secondary Education (Educación Media Diversificada), which lasts 2 years (14 to 16); and Specialized Secondary Education (Educación Media Profesional), which lasts three years (from 14 to 17), after which the student is awarded a technical degree. Secondary education (Educación media) is divided into two cycles: Diversified and Professional. Training for bachilleres in science, arts, or humanities lasts two years, and training for professional or mid-level technicians técnicos medios lasts three years.

The educational system includes preprimary through higher and professional education. There are also a number of technical and trade schools for those who prefer a less formal education or for those who need to enter the labor market at a faster rate. The country has 900 high schools and 17 public universities. Venezuela is a very young country; the average age is 33 years. The last census showed a 91 percent literacy rate; the remaining 9 percent includes mostly minorities or deeply impoverished people.

Higher education is provided by universities, institutes, university colleges, and university institutes. There are two ecclesiastic university institutes and three military university institutes. These institutions are grouped in two sub-systems: Institutes and University Colleges, mainly for short courses of study (2 1/2 to 3 years) and Universities, mainly for long courses of study (five or six years), leading to the award of the Licenciado or to an equivalent professional title such as Engineer. Courses of study are Basic Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Education, Humanities, Art and Letters, and Military Sciences. Public universities are Independent (with autonomy) and Experimental. Access to higher education is carried out through the Oficina de Planificación del Sector Universitario(OPSU). Students generally take a national test before they are selected to a particular university or career. Some departments offer independent admission tests beyond the national test, prueba de aptitud académica. The grading system is on a scale from 1 to 20. The minimum passing mark is 10, and the maximum is 20. Some experimental institutions have a 1 to 5 grading scale, others a 1 to 9 grading scale.

The academic year for public education starts in September and ends in June. Examinations are given nationally each year. At the end of the year, students who have done poorly have the opportunity to pass the course by passing a make-up exam. Although education is generally free, less than 15 percent of the university age population attends the university on a full-time basis. Books, transportation, and daily expenses still remain the main burdens for the majority of the population. The current educational and economic reforms in Venezuela seek to address these issues of inequality and discrimination. The government faces the challenge of bettering the lives of a large number of uneducated people, while addressing the need for jobs in a country where unemployment hovers at 20 percent.

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Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferenceVenezuela - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education