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Venezuela: Debates on the New Educational Curriculum

The Venezuelan government's new proposal for the elementary school education system has created a new point of hard discussion in the country. While some say that the previous program needs to be reinforced in social and socialist values, as well as patriotic ideas, some others claim they're worried that this new system can be, above all, a new way of make children learn the government's doctrines.

According to some bloggers, many of the proposals seem to be jokes. To others, it is precisely what the educational system needs. The discussion is on the table. New groups of discussion have been created, urging teachers and parents to pay attention and participate in the discussion. The media keeps an eye on every declaration from the government or from opposition groups; a possibility of a new referendum on the matter is also discussed. In addition, blogs pay attention on the subject and comment.

Part of what is attacked is the new system, which seeks to remove some competitive sports. They propose more traditional games based on solidarity and equality. Also, there is the discussion of studies on national culture and traditions, since the new project seems to highlight African and aboriginal heritage over the European. Above all, an extended and detailed study of Chavez's government and ideals are preferred over world history and Venezuelan contemporary history.

Blogger Talfin heard some of the proposals on the radio and immediately took them as a joke. After a closer look, he comments:

La otra medida, es eliminar los llamados cuadros de honor porque esto genera competencia. Bueno sin palabras realmente (…) ¿Qué clase de metas les están trazando a las próximas generaciones?, ¿ser uno más del montón?, ¿porque no se estimula la excelencia en vez de la mediocridad? Si bien esto de la mediocridad no es nada producido exclusivamente por los chavistas, ellos no están haciendo absolutamente nada para mejorarlo, si no todo lo contrario. (…)

Another proposal is to eliminate the Honor Roll since this creates competition. I have no words. What kind of goals are they teaching to the new generations? To be another one of the bunch? Why don't they stimulate excellence instead of mediocrity? (…) If in fact none of this mediocrity is exclusively the work of Chavez's people, they have not done anything to improve the situation, quite the contrary.

The blog Fotos de Chávez [es] publishes an interview of a specialist in pedagogy:

El debate no es si vamos a aumentar el número de liceos, mejorar las comprensión lectora, cómo bajar la repitencia, sino hablar de bolivarianismo y marxismo. Eso está bien, que se discuta de todo, pero la esencia de la escuela no se aborda. Pero no todo es tan malo, destaca la enseñanza del inglés y de la tecnología desde la primera etapa. Sin embargo, hay un detalle: “el problema es que los maestros no hablan inglés. Tampoco hay laboratorios para la práctica de la computación”, explicó. Ante el temor de los padres por la ideologización de la educación que entraña el currículo, Herrera dijo que es una posibilidad remota, ya que su experiencia le indica que no es así. La educación es más el resultado de la praxis que de las leyes. “La calidad la afecta las políticas públicas, no las leyes”. (En cualquier caso) fallas en la infraestructura y la condición social del docente conspiran contra ese propósito, a lo cual se suma el hecho que más se aprende por la socialización que en la escuela.

The debate is not based on whether we are to make more schools, improve reading comprehension or how to avoid kids failing the academic year, we discuss Bolivarianism, Marxism… that's good, to discuss everything but the essential meaning of the school is not discussed. On the fear of some parents on turning education to ideology, an important element of the new program, Herrera says it is a remote possibility, since according to his experience it does not work like this. Education is more a result of praxis than law. “Quality affects public policies, not law”. “(In any case) there are failures in the infrastructure, and the social teacher's social position conspires against any purpose. To this we can add the fact that you learn more socializing than at school.”

Evony says:

El nuevo diseño curricular maneja como uno de sus postulados la enseñanza o el aprendizaje significativo, lo que se ha dado a denominar “Constructivismo Pedagógico”. Este modelo pretende que lo que el alumno aprenda tenga significado para él. Cuando hablamos en el Sistema Educativo Bolivariano (SEB) que se encuentra en Currículo Nacional Bolivariano (CNB) de “la formación para la defensa de la soberanía nacional…” a que nos referimos, a la defensa de nuestra cultura como pueblo, de nuestros ideales como país, de los ideales del Presidente Chávez como máxima figura de la Revolución Bolivariana o de nuestro territorio, y como nuestros niños, niñas y adolescentes defenderían esto, con ideas o con armas, esta ambigüedad que expresa el CNB tiene que ser revisado y aclarado, porque no se debe permitir un adoctrinamiento de nuestros jóvenes.

The new program uses as one on its basis the significance of learning, which has been named “pedagogic constructivism”. This model looks to teach the pupil something that's really valuable to him. When we speak of the Bolivarian Educative System in the Bolivarian National Program of Studies for “education for the defense of national sovereignty…” what we mean is to defend our culture as a people, to defend our culture as a people, our ideals as a country, president Chavez's ideals as our main leader and main figure of the Bolivarian revolution or our territory. And as our children and our young would defend this with ideas or arms, this ambiguity expressed in the Bolivarian program needs to be evaluated and clarified, since we should not permit indoctrination in our children.

Vulcano of Noticias Bolivarianas [es] supports the new proposals:

Le doy un rotundo apoyo al Nuevo Diseño Curricular Bolivariano que actualmente se discute en toda la geografía del país, puesto que éste, no sólo se caracteriza por ser inédito sino que ubica a Venezuela en un sitial de relevancia transformadora en la Era Moderna, con filosofía y pensamientos propios derivados de hombres y mujeres nativos de estas tierras con sueños de dibujar y construir a través del Sistema Educativo Bolivariano un modelo de sociedad diferente donde se reivindique la verdadera esencia del ser.

I support completely the new Bolivarian Educational Program that is discussed all over the country, since it is characterized not only for being unique but also because it places Venezuela in a relevant place of transforming to the Modern Era, with philosophy and thoughts brought by women and men born in this land with dreams of building through a different model of society where his real essence of being can be claimed.

The complete program can be seen here (in Spanish)

1 comment

  • The president Chávez thought it better and one week ago decided to postpone the discussion for the year that comes.
    The critiques of the teachers on having received the course imposed by the Department of Education, and the lack of consensus on the contents, generated an evil political climate in another year that also is electoral.
    The minister of Education was the brother of Chávez until this Tuesday, when he were changed.

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