Academics at 13 of Venezuela’s public universities are striking over a wage dispute with the government. Venezuela has a highly centralized education system. Although the country’s constitution extends the right of free education for all, funding is sparse.
Education receives almost 12 percent of the country’s annual budget, although university professors earn on average one hundred dollars a month on their government salaries. Following unsuccessful attempts in dialogue with the government, the Association of Venezuelan Professors has called for nationwide strikes.
The ministry of education has proposed incremental wage rises across two years. The proposal has been rejected by the professors, who are on strike in Caracas.
The strike has resulted in protests from students, who claim that the universities are taking away their fundamental right to education. Meanwhile other students are more sympathetic to their mentors’ cause. As Venezuelan education continues to suffer through is funding issues, the government risks damaging an academic system that sees the second highest enrollment rate in the region.
Lack of funding for Venezuelan education has hit hardest its people who have been left feeling undervalued by meager government funding. For the situation to return to normal, both sides will be working towards a compromise which will best serve the nation’s education’s most important asset: the students themselves.