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Bolivarian policies increased people's access to universities

Caracas, 27 May. AVN.- In the past 16 years, the Bolivarian Revolution has opened so many free study opportunities in Venezuela that university education is no longer a business. From 1999, the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution Hugo Chavez introduced a new conception of State, focusing on public policies in areas such as economy, health and education –by then in line for privatization. This reconstruction of the State prevented, as happened during the eighties, the proliferation of private universities and stagnation of public universities.

To make an analysis of the achievements that higher education has made in the country, Asalia Venegas, professor at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), provides an overview of the path that Venezuela has taken over the last 30 years, going from a neoliberal model –influenced by global currents of neoliberalism, specifically Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher, in England– to an inclusive model interested in reaching the majority.

In an interview with the Venezuelan News Agency, Venegas said that in the case of Latin America a process of mimesis of neoliberal currents took place in Venezuela, successive governments implemented a public education policy in line with those guidelines achieving a minimum state action in the public sphere in order to open the floodgates to large private groups; this is why some sectors of the bourgeoisie and the Opus Dei are the ones to play an important role in creating private universities.

Professor Venegas explains that it was necessary to rebuild what existed and convene a National Constituent Assembly, which was adopted by the majority and led to the promulgation of the new Constitution.

The result is a new rule of law and justice based on a democratic, participatory and protagonist model.

While the Venezuelan government is committed to providing free education to children and youth since the time of president Antonio Guzman Blanco (1870-1877), in the following years and more radically during the dictatorship of Juan Vicente Gomez the system gets weaker and the foundations of private education are laid and consolidated in the Fourth Republic, a period of 40 years (1958-1998) that in its last decade intensifies privatization that result in the creation of only five universities, in contrast to 42 created by the Bolivarian Revolution in its first 16 years.

Education for all

As a general reflection, Venegas, graduated from the School of Communication at the UCV, where she served as director (1999-2002 and 2002-2005), said that as stated in the Constitution, the Venezuelan State should guarantee public, free and compulsory education.

To fulfill this mandate, the Bolivarian Revolution since its beginnings in 1999, begins a series of changes in the public education system and opens different institutions of higher learning, including some specialized as the National Experimental University of Arts (UNEARTE) and the National Experimental University of Security (UNES).

Also, it undertakes the launch of educational missions: Robinson (literacy and primary education) Ribas (high school) and Sucre (university education) to expand opportunities to study and take learning possibilities to all corners of the country, why is which in 92% of Venezuelan municipalities there is at least one university.

For Venegas, this was instrumental in decreasing high school graduates without quotas that by 1999, as a result of privatization, amounted to more than 500,000 young people. This scenario, she said, is related to the limited availability of places offered by universities called autonomous and experimental, which turned out to reserve 100% of places. Subsequently, universities gave the State 30% of quotas and now they continue reserving the 70% that is granted via entrance exams, also created during previous governments.

"If it is the state who coordinates, supervises and controls education, endorsed by our Constitution and endorsed by the Education Law, and public universities are funded by the Venezuelan government and their whole budget is financed by the state, how it is possible that during the Fourth Republic universities established a quota for the State," she said.

In this regard, she said the State –from the philosophical, theoretical and legal point of view– is the one that manages everything that has to do with education, whether public or private, and it is for that reason some groups were allowed to create private universities. However, the State is obliged to monitor its operation.

Fairer access

As part of this policy of democratization, Venegas explained what has been done in the past 16 years to go from an enrollment of 700,000 students by 1999 to more than 2.7 million today, which places Venezuela as the fifth country in the world and second in Latin America with the highest college enrollment, according to figures from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

"The years preceding the rise to power of President Chavez, we had a fairly large percentage of students who were unable to enter universities, called bachelors without quota and such group of students that could not enter the system was captured, inasmuch as those parents could afford their children's education, by private universities," she explained.

Venegas said private education advanced so much in the country that statistically it was found that 80% of students who entered autonomous universities came from private schools and 20% of public institutions.

"In the case of so-called autonomous universities there are a number of lines with the quota system for admission. Given this large retaining wall government launches Mission Sucre because it has to, again, be consistent with its inclusive speech because there are people who graduated from high school but how they will enter college if they have no quota," she added.

Professor stressed that the policy of municipalization and territorialization of education, raised by Mission Sucre, is recognized today by the National System of College Entrance 2015, a platform created by the Venezuelan government to democratize entrance to universities.

The new system, which includes variables such as grade point average (50%), socioeconomic indicator (30%), territorialization (15%) and participation in previous college application processes and extracurricular activities (5%) ensures for the first time the massive entry into the country's universities, since in the past the system only had to consider the average, without assessing conditions involving student development.

The exclusion of university education system was such that in the 90s, 46% of university education in Venezuela was privately owned, while 16 years later only 20% is private and the rest is completely public and free.

"The growth in enrollment is vital because if the State does not open enrollment, admission to the university system would be closed. There is also a process of politicization and that sets us apart from neoliberal policies. One of the premises of neoliberalism is the issue of individuality: my goal is to study, graduate and I care very little about what happens around me, in the Bolivarian policy it is inclusive, bringing up what is the participatory democracy," she said.

Venezuela to Launch Subsidized Food Program for Teachers

PDVAL and other food programs have played a leading role in reducing hunger in Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced new plans to create a subsidized food program for school teachers and other workers in the education sector.

“We must create a … plan for the education (sector) that reaches communities, regions, high schools – all under the PDVAL (food) program,” Maduro said Saturday.

PDVAL is a government welfare program that provides heavily subsidized food to the Venezuelan public. In 2014, PDVAL and other state-run food programs distributed more than 4.5 tonnes of discounted food, often at less than half normal retail prices.

Maduro explained that the new program would benefit as many as 700,000 families of education workers, including the children of teachers and professors.

The president added that his government is committed to ensuring all teachers are provided with a living wage.

Earlier this week, Maduro approved a 50 percent increase in teacher salaries. In recent years, the Venezuelan government has made domestic education a key priority within the country’s national development plan.

In 2014, the Venezuelan State invested 6.9 percent of its GDP in education and technology. The government's heavy investment in education over the past 15 years has been credited with a massive increase in school and university enrollments, and a drop in illiteracy.

In 2010, the United Nations' education and cultural organization UNESCO issued a report that found Venezuela's education ranking had soared 5.1 percent.

Under Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, food programs such as PDVAL have reduced malnutrition, according to U.N. figures.

In June 2014, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) praised Venezuela for halving the number of hungry people in its territory in the past 20 years.

Under the neoliberal government of the early 1990s, 13.5 percent of Venezuelans suffered from malnutrition, according to the FAO. According to the FAO's latest figures, that number is down to less than 5 percent.

teleSUR

​Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced new plans to create a subsidized food program for school teachers and other workers in the education sector. “We must create a … plan for the education (sector) that reaches communities, regions, high schools – all under the PDVAL (food) program,” Maduro said Saturday. PDVAL is a government welfare program that provides heavily subsidized food to the Venezuelan public. In 2014, PDVAL and other state-run food programs distributed more than 4.5 tonnes of discounted food, often at less than half normal retail prices. Maduro explained that the new program would benefit as many as 700,000 families of education workers, including the children of teachers and professors. The president added that his government is committed to ensuring all teachers are provided with a living wage. Earlier this week, Maduro approved a 50 percent increase in teacher salaries. In recent years, the Venezuelan government has made domestic education a key priority within the country’s national development plan. In 2014, the Venezuelan State invested 6.9 percent of its GDP in education and technology. The government's heavy investment in education over the past 15 years has been credited with a massive increase in school and university enrollments, and a drop in illiteracy. In 2010, the United Nations' education and cultural organization UNESCO issued a report that found Venezuela's education ranking had soared 5.1 percent. Under Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, food programs such as PDVAL have reduced malnutrition, according to U.N. figures. In June 2014, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) praised Venezuela for halving the number of hungry people in its territory in the past 20 years. Under the neoliberal government of the early 1990s, 13.5 percent of Venezuelans suffered from malnutrition, according to the FAO. According to the FAO's latest figures, that number is down to less than 5 percent.

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuela-to-Launch-Subsidized-Food-Program-for-Teachers-20150524-0029.html. If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced new plans to create a subsidized food program for school teachers and other workers in the education sector. “We must create a … plan for the education (sector) that reaches communities, regions, high schools – all under the PDVAL (food) program,” Maduro said Saturday. PDVAL is a government welfare program that provides heavily subsidized food to the Venezuelan public. In 2014, PDVAL and other state-run food programs distributed more than 4.5 tonnes of discounted food, often at less than half normal retail prices. Maduro explained that the new program would benefit as many as 700,000 families of education workers, including the children of teachers and professors. The president added that his government is committed to ensuring all teachers are provided with a living wage. Earlier this week, Maduro approved a 50 percent increase in teacher salaries. In recent years, the Venezuelan government has made domestic education a key priority within the country’s national development plan. In 2014, the Venezuelan State invested 6.9 percent of its GDP in education and technology. The government's heavy investment in education over the past 15 years has been credited with a massive increase in school and university enrollments, and a drop in illiteracy. In 2010, the United Nations' education and cultural organization UNESCO issued a report that found Venezuela's education ranking had soared 5.1 percent. Under Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, food programs such as PDVAL have reduced malnutrition, according to U.N. figures. In June 2014, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) praised Venezuela for halving the number of hungry people in its territory in the past 20 years. Under the neoliberal government of the early 1990s, 13.5 percent of Venezuelans suffered from malnutrition, according to the FAO. According to the FAO's latest figures, that number is down to less than 5 percent.

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuela-to-Launch-Subsidized-Food-Program-for-Teachers-20150524-0029.html. If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english

Not one young woman among candidates in opposition MUD primaries

Caracas, 21 May. AVN.- Only eight young people, none of whom is a woman, were candidates during the primary elections of the opposition coalition MUD made last May 17th, said the Youth of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (JPSUV) in a report released Tuesday by Ana Sofia Cabezas, member of PSUV's national mobilization directorate.

The elections were held in 33 out of the 87 polling stations with 110 candidates, 92 of whom are adult men, 10 are adult women; eight are young people between ages 21–30 and this group does not have any woman.

"Among many no-shows in polling stations of the MUD primaries, one of the largest was the absence of young people, not only in electoral participation but also in the nominations. These ballots were held in no more than 25% of stations, where the youth played a minimal role," Cabezas said.

In remarks to state media, the young revolutionary woman recalled that in those primaries, the highest percentage of the candidates were over 65. "But if we compare those numbers to PSUV's, we will find that MUD candidates aged 21-30 were only eight."

"Among these eight young people, none were women. There was not a single woman among the (young) candidates of the MUD," said the member of PSUV's national mobilization directorate, who also slammed Venezuelan right for using only young people to carry out their plans to undermine stability and peace in the country, but instead, when it comes to politics, they are excluded.

"The Venezuelan opposition only uses its youth, youth that somehow sympathize with them as cannon fodder, young people are only good (for the opposition) to make a guarimba (violent riots), chop some trees down indiscriminately and burn tires on street corners," as happened in 2014 when the coup plan which left 43 dead, recruited and paid gangs of people under 30 years for terrorist actions.

"But young people (for the opposition) are not as good to be eligible for candidates: first, because they don't have the money they need to pay a nomination and, secondly, because they fear to know that there are generations who can" take a significant position in the country's political life, she said referring to the 150,000 bolivars each of the candidates had to pay to participate in the primaries.

Venezuelan Govt. has seized more than eight tons of drugs in 2015

Caracas, 22 May. AVN.- Between January and April this year, 8,166 kilos of different types of drugs have been seized by state security authorities, reported Thursday anti-narcotics director of Public Ministry, Jose Medina Sayago.

During his participation in a radio program, he said 7,846 kilos of illegal substances have been incinerated this year.

"From 1 January to 30 April, a little more than 7 tons have been burned and so far this year officials have seized 8,166 kilos, thanks to efforts of security agencies," he said, while he remarked that Public Ministry works in coordination with the National Anti-Drug Command of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).

In addition, Medina Sayago explained that in recent weeks the security agencies have performed more than 10 procedures in border areas of the country, resulting in the seizure of more than four tons of different types of drugs.

"The great vigilance that state security agencies have provided in recent days by air, sea and land have helped to find locations and seizure of these substances," he added.

Furthermore, over 31 million bolivars, 829,573 dollars and 202,095 euros have been seized from drug trafficking, as well as two aircraft, through these procedures, said a press release from RNV.

During the program, Medina Sayago announced that a national plan will be kicked off on Thursday in 23 states, to incinerate several kilos of drugs.

The Public Ministry has four national prosecutors' offices and 47 more throughout the country to help in the fight against this scourge.

Venezuelan State has endorsed over 30 agreements with different countries and institutions worldwide, amid international cooperation to fight drug trafficking.

Strong actions have been taken to prevent Venezuela from being used as transit country for drugs that come from Colombia, destined for international markets, particularly Europe and North America.

About the law to control the air space defense, which regulates the bringing down of aircrafts that enter the country illegally and are connected to drug trafficking, it abides by the legal system.

More than 14 million expired medicines found in Zulia state

Caracas, 14 May. AVN.- More than 14,760,310 units of expired medicines were found by the Superintendency of Fair Prices (SUNDDE) during an audit of S.M. Pharma company, located in Zulia state, said Wednesday the superintendent of fair prices, Andres Eloy Mendez.

Speaking to the media, he said that the Venezuelan state granted the company more than 4 million preferential dollars since 2009 to import these medicines.

"This company was awarded $ 4,168,000 (that is 15,958,155 bolivars), at preferential rates of 2,15; 2,30 and 4,30 for the purchase of these medicines so necessary for the Venezuelan people," he said.

The audit, conducted with the support of organized communities, found that "there are 1,080,000 expired packages of vitamin B12 and 1,960,000 that were burned, 2,500,000 Diclofenac potassium tablets, 3 tons of Ampicillin and more than 60,000 packages of other drugs of regular usage for Venezuelans."

"We are sad to know that this company held hoarded drugs while last year when the chikungunya outbreak, many Venezuelans died because they couldn't be able to find vitamin B12, which is especially vital to fight the virus, and this is just a sample of hurt bourgeoisie has made to us amid the economic war they have caused," Mendez said.

He added that during the inspection process, authorities found raw material for making antibiotics and over 20 thousand units of glass bottles and containers for the development of medical ampules.

Concerning legal measures taken in this case, Mendez said, "a 50 thousand tax unit fine was applied to the company, for violating Article 59 (hoarding) and 60 (boycott) and restricting supply, referred to in the organic law of fair prices.

For this case, citizens Raimundo Santamarta (father) and Raimundo Santamarta Ortega (son), owners of the company were referred to the office of the General Prosecutor.

Finally, it was determined that pharmaceutical company will be taken over by the Public Ministry, who will be responsible for conducting controlled distribution and production of medicines, according to Article 44 of the organic law of fair prices.

Mendez said the jobs in this company are guaranteed.

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