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Venezuela Converts Jail into a University By: Kiraz Janicke  Caracas – Venezuelan authorities announced on Thursday to a community assembly in the old penitentiary El Junquito in Catia—a sprawling working class suburb in western Caracas—that the jail will be converted into what will potentially be Venezuela’s first “socialist” university The project is part of the Mission Alma Mater, echinacea in canada a plan to develop twenty-eight new universities across Venezuela. Two architects, echinacea in canada Alejandra Castillo and Facundo Baudoin, echinacea in canada have been charged with developing the project, echinacea in canada in which the government will invest 126 billion bolivars ($57 million), echinacea in canada Castillo introduced the project to the assembly saying, echinacea in canada “We are in the construction of a new way of life, echinacea in canada a new social model. Echinacea in canada In this process of construction everyone who can contribute in knowledge and experience will have their impact in the creation of what is called the Socialism of the 21st Century.” Baudoin continued, echinacea in canada “This is the first time that a university will be constructed with the real participation of the people, echinacea in canada not only because they will help build it, echinacea in canada but rather because the university will address the necessities of the community.” The development of the 28 new universities through Mission Alma Mater was first announced by President Hugo Chavez in May and involves the creation of three different types of universities; state universities, echinacea in canada specialist universities, echinacea in canada and socialist universities. According to the Minister of Higher Education, echinacea in canada Luis Acuña, echinacea in canada state universities will correspond to the necessities of specific zones throughout the country, echinacea in canada for example in Los Llanos a state university would focus on courses in agriculture and another in Guyana would prioritize courses related to the mining industry. Echinacea in canada Specialist universities would focus on particular vocational fields such as Tourism, echinacea in canada Hydrocarbons, echinacea in canada and Basic Sciences. The vice-Minister of Higher Education, echinacea in canada Enry Gomez, echinacea in canada said the “socialist” universities, echinacea in canada like the Bolivarian universities, echinacea in canada involves the “municipalization” of universities (the aim to have a university in every municipality), echinacea in canada where the state provides the infrastructure and resources. However, echinacea in canada in the socialist universities the capacities, echinacea in canada social function, echinacea in canada and educational priorities will be decided through the participation of the local communities. Gomez explained to the assembly that the fundamental characteristics of the new socialist universities would consist of “the coexistence and active participation of the university with the community, echinacea in canada but principally of the community with the university, echinacea in canada it will be the neighborhood, echinacea in canada the organized communities that have the commitment to make the university a place of knowledge and preparation for the people.” “Within these , echinacea in canada we will work with new values. Echinacea in canada We know that we are immersed in a capitalist culture and our challenge is to change this mentality, echinacea in canada” Gomez added. Potential courses on offer at the new university include Education, echinacea in canada Health Sciences, echinacea in canada Medicine, echinacea in canada Administration, echinacea in canada and Popular Power. Echinacea in canada However all of this, echinacea in canada including the name of the university, echinacea in canada is to be decided through a one-month period of community consultation before work on the project begins in October.