Photo: El Pitazo

In the last few years,  Venezuelan universities have had to overcome several obstacles. Public universities have become dangerous places to be (at all hours) and their budgets are insufficient, among many other problems. Our own Astrid Cantor wrote about students and professors emigrating here.

Right now, a very serious problem is the poor economic situation of professors, a difficulty that is getting worse on a daily basis as a consequence of hyperinflation. Our own José González Vargas also wrote an excellent piece about the critical situation of private universities. In fact, Prodavinci recently published  a very graphic and dramatic comics journalism piece about this. In it, a professor asks herself: When did the higher education crisis begin? In 1983 when the real worth of the salary began to lose value and never recovered? Or in 2001, when a systematic campaign against public universities was introduced in the State’s agenda? Or in 2014, when the salary became a symbolic gesture?

A very serious problem is the poor economic situation of professors, a difficulty that is getting worse on a daily basis as a consequence of hyperinflation.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that University professors have been protesting over the past few weeks. They have said that they will continue protesting until their salary demands are fulfilled, but I don’t think the government will cave in. It all seems like a waste of time.

After talking to a friend who is a Law professor at Central University of Venezuela (UCV) and Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB), I realize there’s something almost nobody is talking about: Professors are carrying the entire system of Venezuelan higher education on their shoulders.

My friend is a partner in a well-known law firm in Caracas, so he doesn´t need to teach to make a living. He loves to teach Law and he thinks that it’s a good way to contribute  to the country.

But the other day, as he was reviewing his bank balances, he discovered that he’s being paid Bs. 540.000 per month for 12 hours of class in UCV, plus a health insurance coverage of Bs. 100.000.000. For the same number of hours he receives Bs. 5.800.000 per month at UCAB. He also spends a lot of time preparing his classes, going to the university and correcting exams.

He could buy half a cup of coffee with the money he receives every month at UCV.

To put these numbers in perspective: He could buy half a cup of coffee with the money he receives every month at UCV and five cups of coffee with what he gets from UCAB.

I have another friend that goes the extra mile: 320 miles, to be exact, from Mérida to Caracas. He had to go back home to Mérida, because he couldn’t afford his life in Caracas. Nevertheless, he has been traveling back and forth to finish the course he had been teaching. As you might imagine, he’s been paying his travel expenses from his own pocket.

Hence, professors have to spend money to teach in Venezuelan universities.

For how long will this situation be sustainable? It’s difficult to tell, but I know all universities will continue to lose professors because it’s not easy to teach practically for free and having to spend money to do so.

We don’t know when the crisis began, and we can only hope for it to end soon, or the consequences we’ll pay as a society are incommensurable.

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  1. dissent

  2. The start of the end will be when “xxx” profession stops protesting for more money, better pay, lower prices, etc.. and instead demands better governance, better education (to include Econ101), and are willing to make sacrifice for that future.

    Now it is considered a horrible sacrifice for the 32 million to stand in lines for food or whatever, when a recent post wrote of country of less than 1 million fighting for independence from Spain with spears and machetes. Que es bravo?

    • many of those proffesors are still leftists, so don´t expect miracles. Marxism only finds a cure in dead (by malnutrition)

  3. MRubio

    If you see this please reply. Your package with medicine and supplies is waiting for you at Vicky’s. She sent me an e-mail this morning. I replied and asked her to contact Crystal’s mother but I have not heard from her.

  4. Thank you Mr. Becerra, for pointing out this sad, desperate situation that our dear professors and colleagues are passing through. In my case, I worked at University of Carabobo (our beloved UC, which is falling into pieces while we read this article) as professor for 8 years, at Faculty of Engineering… well, my story is that, last week my father went there to ask for my last paycheck, and several documents, since I left at the end of 2017 and moved to another hispanic country (and it wasn’t to clean those toilets that the clepto-corrupt gang says is the only thing we do when we leave “la patria grande”)… and SURPRISE! 8 years as a professor there, 12h per week, got me 4,083,472 bolivares… I told dad to buy a kilo of beef or maybe a little profiterol sweet, or a chocolate bar, and to eat that for me. That’s how sad is our reality, and please remember that us, the younger ones at least could flee… I know some personal stories, of professors I admire and care so much about, friends, that just can’t leave, due to economic reasons, family ties (children that are still in high school), or even because they’re afraid of starting in a shitty job here, right after we arrive to other countries; some of them (most of them in fact) are amazing professionals with 15-20 years of experience, whose resumés would make any institution shine with knowledge and experience… but there, in our own country, inside our alma mater that we love so much, they’re just another number, victims of this terrible crisis.

    • la veneca,

      In the US, a main source of glorifying “socialism” and vilifying capitalism is college professors. I also notice that many of the writers on are (or were) professors, including engineering professors (surprise to me, since I give them the benefit of the doubt of being “smart”). So I am assuming, maybe wrongly, that college professors in Venezuela in the 1980s and 1990s and 2000s and maybe even in the 2010s are big supporters of socialism and haters of capitalism.

      Am I right?

      If so, is there overt hostility between the Chavista professors and the ones forced to suffer through the results? Did you tell your dad: “Don’t forget to punch (I mean “thank”) a Chavista on your way out”?

        • Any of them that are still alive should be banned from entering the US and if they are here, they should be sent back to the shit hole that they supported the creation of.
          Let them live in their own filth, scrounge for food and suffer from easily treatable diseases due to lack of medicine.

      • The only leftist teacher I know is a downright chavista. Everyone else is not only tired of the government but also the government POLICIES. I’d expect most leftist teacher to be on the new government made “universities” if you can even call them that.

    • your dad´s generation of academic marxists brought this upon all of us. We´ll never forget the inodctrination attemps back then in the 80s, 90s and 00s.

  5. “It doesn’t come as a surprise that University professors have been protesting over the past few weeks. They have said that they will continue protesting until their salary demands are fulfilled…”

    Salary demands? Oh my!

    Clearly, they don’t believe that Chavismo is the problem… the paradigm of making wealth appear out of nowhere is “economically sound”? Only that the Chavists aren’t paying them enough. Because 28,000% inflation is OK providing that the salary increase is 28,003% annually?

    I see years of this sort of silliness ahead for Venezuela.

    • Yes, the thing is not the salary. The thing is the system, which is teaching people with its actions, that the “good” or expected thing from them is to be poorly educated, brutos, lazy asses, resented and more of those horrible characteristics that lead to a failure in any normal country. That’s the message we’ve been receiving for years now, from the moment when all of these massive attacks to the academy, science and technology started.

  6. “Higher Education Shoulders on; The Lies of Venezuelan Professors” (and every other nation’s professors too)

    We must reap what was sown.

  7. Thats the karma academics get for supporting and teaching Marxist ideas and sucking Fidel Castro´s rear for decades.

    How about that time they signed a welcoming letter to him in 89 while crying about neoliberalism under CAP II.? Where are thos 911 intellectuals that signed that letter now? many are still in those schools! Still you see them teaching kids that true socialism have not been tried and that chavismo is actually righ wing.

    Recognize any names on this list? Thats what they get, the devil always pays his dues. Now they can suck cock for Clap boxes while they teach to empty classrooms.


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