Teacher Preparation in Venezuela

Origins and Historical Evolution

It can be said that education as an obligation of the State in a systematic and organized manner began in 1870 with the Decree on Free and Obligatory Public Instruction. Soon, the first Normal Schools were created to prepare teachers for the elementary schools.

However, it was not until 1936 with the creation of the National Pedagogical Institute (IPN) in Caracas that there was preparation for secondary and Normal School teachers. A pedagogical mission from Chile supported the creation of the IPN and the introduction of the New School into the country. The inauguration of the IPN marked an inflection point in Venezuelan education. It happened at a time of political, economic and social changes that were the product of the death of the dictator Gomez in 1935, the oil boom, the slow democratization of the country, and the large exodus from rural areas to cities.

With various ups and downs, in both attention to public schools at all levels and to teacher preparation, each government applied dissimilar educational policies. Thus, in 1958 with a fall of a dictatorship there was a return to a populist educational model and the creation of a pedagogical institute in the city of Barquisimeto. In 1965 the Pedagogical Institute in Caracas adopted behaviorism and the Bourbakistic model of Mathematics. In 1969 a general reform of education at the elementary, secondary and Normal school levels brought in Modern Mathematics to elementary and secondary schools, accompanied by behaviorism and the elimination of the old Normal Schools. Teacher education became a new undergraduate program.

In the 1970s the enrollment growth in secondary schools led to the creation of new Pedagogical Institutes: in Maracay and Maturin in 1971, and the “J.M. Siso Martinez” and a one private both in Caracas in 1976. Also, various universities began progressively to offer teacher preparation programs in Mathematics. However, the pedagogical institutes still had the major role in teacher preparation.

In 1980 a new Organic Law of Education was enacted. It moved the elementary and secondary teacher education to a university level. This process culminated in 1983 with the creation of the Liberator Experimental Pedagogical University (UPEL). It absorbed the pedagogical institutes and became the main teacher preparation institution in the country. “Modern Mathematics” was eliminated and “Back to Basics” was adopted.

Finally, in 2009, another new Organic Law of Education (LOE 2009) was passed. It set out guidelines for the initial and permanent preparation for a teaching career. It also established the current structure of education that is shown in Table 5.1.

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