As we campaign for education funding justice, Venezuela’s Mission Sucre celebrates 10 years of genuine education revolution and providing free higher education to all.
The government launched Mission Sucre in November 2003 to provide free university education to those who previously didn’t have access to it. Many students are low-income and middle-aged mothers who were unable to continue their studies because of childcare commitments.
The mission is named after Antonio Jose de Sucre, a Venezuelan independence fighter.
The mission has 1390 campuses across Venezuela, in rural and urban areas and provides courses oriented towards professions Venezuela most needs. There is post-graduate study, including masters in human rights, and doctorates in strategic sciences. Students can choose between day and night courses to suit family and work commitments
More than 150,000 people have received scholarships of small monthly payments and 5583 indigenous Venezuelans currently study with the mission.
Higher education minister Ricardo Menendez explained a total of 2.6 million people are studying for a university education, a significant increase from the 617,000 students in 1999 when late president Hugo Chavez was initially elected.
Menendez explained the government was considering restructuring the Mission Sucre campuses to become “universities of the communes where students propose projects that support their communities”. Instead of large corporations determining the direction of education, it would be driven by the needs of local communities.
In August 2009 the Venezuelan parliament passed the Organic Education Law which makes education secular; expands community participation in schools and universities; establishes participatory democracy across universities; bases the curriculum on humanistic and ecological ethics; connects university graduates with the humanistic development plan of the nation; guarantees free education from primary school to university graduate level; and aims to significantly increase the enrolment of poor people in the elite universities.
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