Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, after nationalizing the oil and telecommunications industries this year, said private schools that fail to teach a “socialist” curriculum will be taken over by the state.
Schools will have until 2010 to implement the new lesson plans, which will include new textbooks that focus more on the country’s indigenous history than its European conquest, Chavez said today at a ceremony to inaugurate the school year.
“We can’t allow private schools to do whatever they want,” Chavez said in comments broadcast by state television from the city of El Tigre. “The state has to intervene. They should be subordinate to the constitution and the national education plan.”
Teachers and academics may see the measure as an attempt to politicize the classroom, speeding up a brain drain that has been underway for years as educated, skilled workers move abroad to escape Chavez’s “Bolivarian” revolution, said Ercilia Vasquez, director of the school of education at the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello in Caracas.
“This ideology is very strong,” she said in a phone interview. “We’re going through a process where a lot of people are looking for other alternatives outside the country. This could accelerate it.’‘
Private schools, which are already subject to price controls, will also be shut down if they are run like for-profit businesses, Chavez said.
The government will finish developing the new curriculum during the current school year, selecting text books that provide a more “multicultural, pluralistic” worldview, Chavez said.
Hat Tip Once Upon a Time in the West