Monday, February 23, 2009

Education is the most important topic 

And the one least debated.

When Germany recovered from WWII a lot of people claim it was because of the Marshal plan, others claim it was capitalism, but the answer is neither, Germany recovered in a few decades from complete devastation because it had a highly educated population, just as that highly educated population recovered Germany from WWI when it was under the reverse Marshal plan (Treaty of Versailles).

So unless the Venezuelan govt educates the population there can be no progress, only illusionary growth. The missiones tackle adult education but not to sound discriminatory they can only learn so much at an advanced age, leaving them with knowledge of basic manufacturing or industry enough for a job as a social/capitalist entrepreneur but not much else. In order to make the leap to developed status we need technological manufacturing, and this can only be achieved with a technologically educated workforce (from cradle to grave). As a side note another way to motivate students to follow hard sciences in higher education is by creating jobs for them as well, even if unsustainable in the short run.

So if you agree with the above, the next question is: do we have the right plan? are we getting there?

The plan is more or less laid out in this interview with the education minister (it is not a research paper but we at least get a few nuggets). In short the government has tackled quantitative access to education so much so that UNESCO audited statistics do give us a high increase in matriculation, with primary education reaching 97% of children. Now granted the same must be done for secondary and tertiary education but they are also moving in that direction.

Next comes the qualitative angle which is harder if not impossible to measure due to its subjective nature, but one metric they use is students per classroom. (which makes it quantitative, not qualitative but whatever) and in so they are asking UNESCO for a new set of statistics. In reality, the only way to increase the qualitative levels of education is through better teachers and easier access to learning tools. This is not explained well however, they talk about critical thinking and how they froze the ideological curriculum, they also talk about modifying the Pedagogy. We just won't know until the end, and despite what some may think international tests will not really give answers to quality, only what some perceive to be quality.


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