Photo: retrieved

Many private schools stand between a rock and a hard place since August 17. Maduro’s economic measures further asphyxiated workers’ purchasing power, intensified the employers’ problems and slid a noose around the neck for parents and representatives. Maduro made unilateral decisions through economic measures that will worsen product shortages, swell prices even more and deepen the collapse of services, schools among them.

Fausto Romeo, head of the Association of Private Education Institutions (Andiep) says that education is plummeting: both teachers and students are leaving. The 2017-18 period was critical, but the 2018-19 period looks even worse. “This school year, 15% of schools may shut down. We’re talking about 400 to 500 kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools that won’t be able to open in September,” said Romeo.

This school year, 15% of schools may shut down.

Maduro said that he’s going to subsidize the new minimum wage of Bs.S. 1,800 for 90 days. “But how do we know that’s true? The fact is that we have to pay wages on September 15 and we can’t fix the payroll with the current amount. Are we going to pay our employees three million bolívares fuertes? Obviously not. We have to give them more so they can withstand the crisis. We have to wait for the wage hike to be published in the Official Gazette, along with the rules on how those adjustments will apply. We still don’t know if private schools can sign in for that registry and access the subsidy. For now, we can’t participate in something so vague. We won’t demand our employees to have the carnet de la patria either.”

Measures that cause uncertainty

The 2017-18 school year brought much toil to many parents. Some, like Moraima Torres, made the hard choice to stop sending their children to school because they can’t pay for transport. The price of the bus fare, which was also increased, seems irrelevant. However, for parents that are already struggling with food, public transport prices are another rock for their finances. “My girl approved the first two terms, so for the third I decided to send her to school only three days a week, although it looks irresponsible. It’s really hard for me to pay for transport and food every day. Actually, I didn’t enroll her in school in July because I didn’t have the money.”

For parents that are struggling with food, public transport prices are another rock for their finances.

On August 25, Moraima still didn’t have the money to enroll her child in second year of high school. The girl attends a private school, located in the Coche parish in Caracas. In July, the amount she had to pay was Bs.F. 13,600,000, which she couldn’t collect in full because she doesn’t make more than Bs.F. 9,000,000. She asked for an extension in the school’s administration for September and now she’s on edge with the economic announcements from August 17. “I don’t want to pull my girl out of school, but I don’t want her to go to a public school either. Many teachers have left and private schools at least offer a bit more guarantees regarding academic instruction. They’ve already told us that fees will increase again. That’ll be a hard blow for me, and it’s going to be the same for many parents. I can’t even buy a new physical education shirt for her.”

And to make matters worse, it’s worth noting that the school where Moraima’s child studies might be in the list of institutions that will shut down this school year. “I’m afraid because it’s uncertain what might happen in the next few months. I don’t know how much I’ll have to pay, and we don’t even know if this high school will keep working.”

No more money

The last school period was marked by high levels of hyperinflation, while a large part of the monthly income in education institutions vanished in payroll and public services payments. “In my girl’s high school, we had to pay for tests. Now they not only ask for the reams of paper, but also markers for acrylic whiteboards, and we’re talking about a private institution. Those that depend on the State are worse. They ask for chlorum to clean bathrooms and drinking water for the kids, because the service is rationed,” said Moraima Torres, who has forgotten what it means to go on a holiday.

50% of the income goes to operational tasks and the rest is to pay teachers.

Fausto Romeo confirmed Torres’s words: 50% of the income goes to operational tasks and the rest is to pay teachers. There’s no money for more, and on top of that we have to deal with Maduro’s package, which endangers the education of over two million students, according to the Andiep representative who, just like Moraima, couldn’t rest in August, but rather had to tour schools along with associations such as the Network of Parents and Representatives, studying ways to overcome the crisis.

Unlike August last year, when some schools remained open to guarantee food for kids, this time the classrooms are used for forums attended by principals, teachers, workers and the school’s community. “We call for schools to open in September and receive all their students, so nobody’s left out. Education is paramount here,” said Romeo.

Lila Vega, member of this network, is also convinced that the priority is to guarantee that teachers and students remain in the classrooms. “The rest (painting the school, repairing the equipment, buying new materials, uniforms) must be secondary. Students have already been blasted by the crisis, we can’t allow them to be left out of the education system.”

The priority is to guarantee that teachers and students remain in the classrooms.

It sounds tough, considering that many parents are like Moraima Torres: hardpressed to choose between food or school. “Of course it’s tough, but it’s time to appeal to solidarity, to the consensus between schools and parents, so that nobody has to leave the classrooms,” said Vega.

She adds that the new fees must be set with the approval of the school community. “If someone can’t pay, they must say so in the assembly, so the rest can decide how to help. But we must keep institutions working. We must seek out external help, and if the use of foreign currency is decided, everyone involved must agree. Hard days are coming and people must know that the school isn’t the threat. The threat comes from the outside and we must face it.”

The Education Ministry has said nothing about the start of the new school year. They haven’t even said whether infrastructural repairs are being made in the case of public schools. Their web page and Twitter account @mppeducacion are filled with proselytism and propaganda. Apparently, this institution did go on vacation, while Moraima spends her anguished days, unable to pay for shirts or shoes that already go for Bs.S. 1,700, almost the entirety of the new minimum wage.

The Education Ministry has said nothing about the start of the new school year.

For now, only Chacao Municipality has implemented measures to relieve the load: the uniform isn’t obligatory in municipal schools. Students may attend classes in trousers and shirts as long as they’re well kept. The measure was established due to the hard economic situation hitting Venezuelan families.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. When will people, and even somewhat educated people like the authot of this post understand that it ain’t “Maduro” this or Maduro that. He’s just a puppet. Cubans rule Kleptozuela, not Masburro. He has zero clue about any economic policies, they are dictated to him. Comprende?

    Why doesn’t anyone talk about the REAL responsible people behing the Kleptozuelan mess? The 1300 “Generals” and the corrupt armed forces. That’s who. That’s the boss. Not Masburrito. Not even Tarek, or Cabello. Not even Padrinita. Not Reverol. No. It’s thousands of THIEVES dictating policies.

    And they know exactly what should be done to start fixing the economy. Even a 12 year old in highschool knows. hey are not “incomptetent”, I mean Masburro’s bosses in Cuba and the military. They are highly COMPETENT THIEVES, getting richer every year, scared to death of ending up in jail one day for their crimes.

    So please, enough of the Maduro this and Maduro that dumb stuff. He’s nothing. Heck Cabello and Tarek and the Ridriguez eveil twins are a lot more powerful than than retard. Not to mention the 1300 “generals”. Plus about 5 MILION enchufados, “pueblo-people”, corrupt, still supporting the Genocidal Tyranny, complicit, culpable. That’s who rules Klepto-Narco Cubazuela. Not Masburro.

  2. And about schools, public or private. Very few are decent. Even back when I went to school, in the70’s-80’s. Colegio Francia, Campo Claro. Maternelle-Bac. One of the few good schools. Universidades? Let’s face it, most of them are sub-standard, by any global measure. UCV.. yeah, right. Any public college in Hialeah, Chile or Madrid is 10 times better.

    That’s one of the main reasons Venezuela ended up where it did. Because its people were very poorly educated, if at all. With the lowest moral values, and lowest standards. only in Africa or Nicaragua and Haiti education has been even worse. Only very few good schools, ndres Bello, Catolica, etc, and they are no Harvard or la Sorbonne, or even UM – University of Miami, for that matter.

    But even more tragically, the average liceos y escuela publicas, institutos, y centros de “educacion” or “estudios tecnicas avanzados, all suck. Pretty much. They have sucked for decades and are even worse under Chavismo. Face it.

    That’s why Kleptozuela ended up where it is. Because its people were very poorly educated, and they were not taught how to work hard and honestly for a living. Not all, but most of them. That’s where Chavismo came from: Kleptozuela’s broken school system, lamentable indeed. How do you fix that? Too late. MPJ is long gone. Leave it to Capriles or Henry..and the MUDcrap. Good luck with that.

    • “Only very few good schools, ndres Bello, Catolica, etc, and they are no Harvard or la Sorbonne, or even UM – University of Miami, for that matter.”

      You, sir, are an A-1 asshole with your higher-than-thou attitude and I just realized that you post just to make yourself sound important. Who made you an authority on Venezuela? If you really knew what you were talking about, you would know that Universidad Andrés Bello and “La Católica” are one and the same. So any credibility you may have had just went down the shitter. And I wonder just how you know that the UCV is sub standard. Did you attend UCV? Are you really in a position to compare it with other schools? No me jodas, gran pajúo. No eres más que un pobre güevón!

      • UCV y Catolica.. gran vaina. Andres Bello, Sta Maria.. whatever. The point remains the same. The school system in Kleptozuela has been crap for decades and still is, except even worse, by any Civilized World standards. There are about 100 Colleges only in the USA much better than any “Universidad” in Venezuela has ever been. Heck, I remember a close friend of mine back in the 80’s, he attende UCV trying to become an Engineer and by the time I left Kleptozuela, he was still trying to graduate, about 9 years into it at UCV. A MESS. Simon Bolivar was a bit better, and other semi-private schools, but again, by any Worlwide Civilized world standards, below mediocre. Comprendes, pendejo? Which is one of the main reasons why Narco_Klepto Cubazuela is among the very worst shitholes in the Planet. Those are undeniable facts, retards.

  3. Good article Mabel. Yes same discussions going on here and everything you say is spot on. One other factor, little by little there are less students to pay for education because so many people are leaving the country. Honestly, we are preparing to home school this semester (and probably the next). And this is a private school located in a middle class neighborhood where there used to be well off by Venezuelan standards.

    Yes, poeta, so true. This is the real root of the problem. The scummy generals who are in bed with the Cubans. Castro whole strategy was to corrupt them first, which is not hard to do in kleptozuela.

  4. If the Chavistas are anything like American unionistas, they will be applauding the demise of private schools, which they see as the enemy to the mediocrity that is the Prussian Model of government education.

    • New a young lady who was a summer launch driver at the local yacht club during college. She graduated, did her student teaching, then got a job teaching in the D.C. public schools. The kids loved her. Her second year she was voted Teacher of the Year for her district. Her contract was not renewed the third year. The district had to cut back, and, you know, unions and strict seniority and all that.

    • Re unions. Two years ago the once prosperous Mesabi iron range in northern Minnesota was virtually deserted. Majority of businesses boarded up. The current administration has taken much needed steps that allows the US to again be competitive in the iron, steel, industries. The result has been a large economic boom in a once desolate area. Mining has returned to an area rich in minerals, workers that long ago gave up hope of having a well paying job near home have been rehired by the hundreds. So to celebrate this 18 months or so of a brighter future the unions will be voting this week to go on strike for higher wages. If they strike one large employer has already said they will again shutdown and move everything to a different state. Ah unions, they destroyed my home states public education, taking it from one of the top rated to number 49 out of 50. In Minnesota the union forbids educators from being tested for basic 3-R skills.

      • @ASA058: I haven’t had too much experience working with a union, because I don’t hire subs that are unionized. The last time I did was in Las Vegas, where I discovered it was the union that was in charge of who did the job, not the subcontractor (much like the longshormans unions). They basically were intent on shaking me down for more money if I wanted the job done on time, and were upset that the other subs weren’t union. I fired them after they sabotaged some plumbing done by a non-union plumber.

        Unions don’t care about excellence. They care about the lowest common denominator. They are there to protect the worst dues paying employee from becoming unemployed. The least work from the most dues paying members getting higher wages and better benefits. Education Minnesota (formerly MEA) is one of the most militant.

        Anti-efficiency.

        FYI the last owner of the Pla-Mor ballroom (Rochester) recently passed.

        https://www.postbulletin.com/tributes/obituaries/lloyd-d-long—-rochester/article_3d6be9fc-a658-11e8-b11d-2b114819d8a4.html

        • The assertion that there is a correlation between union strength and poor and underperforming educational outcomes is a myth. In fact, the best performing students in math, science and reading in the OECD tend to be from countries with strong teachers unions.

          There IS a correlation between lower funding for education generally, and less competitive teacher salaries, and weak or non-existent unionization. If teachers are not unionized, they generally are not compensated competitively (there are exceptions, but they are exceptions), and if you do not compensate someone competitively, you will generally be hiring from a substandard pool of candidates. If you offer better compensation and some degree of job security, you tend to draw from a better pool of candidates.

          Obviously, none of this has any relevance to Venezuela at the present time, under the present conditions, because the country is in a state of collapse across the board.

          • The correlation is quite strong between unionism and mediocrity. Unions don’t represent the interests of the outstanding and exemplary (who don’t need union representation). They represent the worst employees who are next to impossible to fire.

            Teachers unions don’t exist to provide better educational outcomes. They exist to increase the number of dues paying members who do less work for higher wages. You’ll never see a teacher go on strike because too many kids are failing to get an education… but listen to the unions caterwaul endlessly when it comes time to collectively bargain… “It’s for the kids!”

            “When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.” — Albert Shanker, longtime president of the American Federation of Teachers union.

        • ElGuapo, thanks for that link. What a resume! Talk about a Jack-of-all trades. Waters Conley…Phonola. My mother and several other ladies from Spring Valley would always get seasonal employment there putting together record players. Sweet memories of a much simpler world.

  5. My wife’s son is finishing high school in Spain. His first year there was very difficult because he had been so poorly prepared by the schools in Venezuela, particularly in math and science. Speaking to the teachers, they tell us that they are finding this typical of all the students arriving from Venezuela. For many of them, it is necessary for them to back up a year and/or engage private tutors.

  6. Schools were dying before this. In Venezuela, parents have to to authorize any tuition increase, and there are always some a..holes that do not want any increases. On top of that quite a few parents simply do not pay the whole year, and the school can’t do anything.

  7. “…and slid a noose around the neck for parents and representatives.”

    That’s a little confused. The noose is around the necks of all non-enchufados via starvation, destruction of health care, and all the things documented here daily. Is there a noose specifically around the necks of private school students’ parents?

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