Rectors Protest New Education Law in Venezuela

August 17, 2009

Rectors have joined other educators in taking to the streets in Venezuela to object to a new education law adopted last week by the parliament, The Miami Herald reported. The law makes "Bolivarian doctrine" the basis of education at all levels, a move that educators view as requiring them to indoctrinate students with the views of the ruling political party, the Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela. Rectors of the nation's universities have issued statements saying that the law effectively takes away their institutions' autonomy, and that it removes decisions over admissions from educators and gives them to the government. Rectors marched Thursday, but were prevented by riot police from reaching the parliament building. Nicolás Bianco, acting rector of the Central University of Venezuela, told a a radio interviewer that police filed teargas and plastic pellets without provocation or warning, and that as someone with a respiratory condition who was unable to breathe after the gas was fired, "I felt I was about to die."

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