The Venezuelan Education System

According to the current Organic Law of Education (LOE 2009), the Venezuelan education system is an organic and structured set made up of levels and modalities according to the stages of human development. It is based on the principles of unity,

Table 5.1 Current organization of the Venezuelan education system




Basic education subsystem

Initial education


Boys and girls from 0 to 6 years old





6 years



General secondary education

5 years




6 years





Short programs

3 years

Long programs

5 years

Graduate (leading to a degree)


Up to 4 years


Up to 4 years


Set by each university

Sources LOE (2009) and the National Council of Universities (CNU 2001, 2011)

responsibility and interdependence. Its purpose is to guarantee that the educational process and permanent preparation of every citizen be assured regardless of differences in age, sex, or ethnic or cultural diversity. It should attend the local, regional and national needs and potentials. The organizational structure is shown in Table 5.1.

LOE (2009) indicates that the Venezuelan State, through its Ministry of Popular Power for Education (MPPE) and Ministry of Popular Power for University Education (MPPEU), is in charge of the planning, coordination and implementation of educational policies and programs. The National Council of Universities (CNU) is the link between the MPPEU and the universities. It coordinates admissions to the institutions of Higher Education assigning a percentage of the available quotas. A National Test of Vocational Exploration is given annually to orient upper secondary graduates in choosing careers. For the teaching career there is no specific recruiting mechanism.

According to official data that was provided by the Vice Ministry of Academic Development of the MPPEU for a presentation of the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council, during the 2010-2011 school year there was 71 % access in Initial Education, 93 % in Elementary Education and 73 % in Secondary Education. For that same period, a total of approximately 7,739,000 students with 6,074,000 in public schools and 1,665,000 in private were reported. There were 503,240 teachers, 28,908 educational institutions, 297,716 sections of classes and 234,094 classrooms (Reinoso 2011).

For the subsystem of University Education, the institutions are classified as: Universities and Institutes or University Colleges. In 2003, approximately 74,000 students were enrolled at this level. In the universities there were almost 50,000 students: 39,000 in public and 11,000 in private. There are five public universities that are classified as autonomous and 30 that are classified as experimental. There are also private universities. In 2005, 14 public universities, and four institutes or university colleges offered teacher preparation programs (Penalver 2007).

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