Venezuela: Education mission celebrates 10 years of serving the poor

February 9, 2014
Mission Sucre has provided many people with the opportunity to study at a university level. Photo from Prensa MPPEU/Venezuela An

Venezuela’s Mission Sucre has reached 10 years of providing higher education to more 695,000 people, including 379,000 who have already graduated.

The government launched Mission Sucre in November 2003 to provide university education to those who previously didn’t have access to it. Many of its current students are people who have a low income and middle-aged mothers who weren’t able to continue their studies because they raised children.

The mission, named after Venezuelan independence fighter Antonio Jose de Sucre, a Venezuelan independence fighter, provides free education. Students can choose between day and night courses.

Many of the original campuses of what is also known as the Bolivarian University of Venezuela (UBV) were set up in old PDVSA buildings. The mission now has 1390 campuses around Venezuela, in rural and urban areas.

The mission provides courses oriented towards professions Venezuela most needs. Through the UBV there is also the opportunity for some post graduate study, such as masters in human rights, and doctorates in strategic sciences.

More than 150,000 people studying with the mission have also received scholarships of small monthly payments. There are 5583 indigenous Venezuelans studying with the mission.

Higher education minister Ricardo Menendez said a total of 2.6 million people are studying university education, a figure that is well above the 617,000 who were studying in 1999 when late president Hugo Chavez first came to power.

Menendez said the government was considering restructuring the Mission Sucre campuses so that they become “universities of the communes and [students] propose projects that support their communities”.

[Abridged from Venezuela Analysis.]

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