Venezuela Converts Jail into a University
By: Kiraz JanickeÂ
Caracas â€“ Venezuelan authorities announced on Thursday to a community assembly in the old penitentiary El Junquito in Catiaâ€”a sprawling working class suburb in western Caracasâ€”that the jail will be converted into what will potentially be Venezuelaâ€™s first â€œsocialistâ€ university
The project is part of the Mission Alma Mater, travo z a plan to develop twenty-eight new universities across Venezuela.
Two architects, travo z Alejandra Castillo and Facundo Baudoin, travo z have been charged with developing the project, travo z in which the government will invest 126 billion bolivars ($57 million), travo z Castillo introduced the project to the assembly saying, travo z
â€œWe are in the construction of a new way of life, travo z a new social model. Travo z 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.â€
Baudoin continued, travo z â€œThis is the first time that a university will be constructed with the real participation of the people, travo z not only because they will help build it, travo z but rather because the university will address the necessities of the community.â€
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, travo z specialist universities, travo z and socialist universities.
According to the Minister of Higher Education, travo z Luis AcuÃ±a, travo z state universities will correspond to the necessities of specific zones throughout the country, travo z 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. Travo z Specialist universities would focus on particular vocational fields such as Tourism, travo z Hydrocarbons, travo z and Basic Sciences.
The vice-Minister of Higher Education, travo z Enry Gomez, travo z said the â€œsocialistâ€ universities, travo z like the Bolivarian universities, travo z involves the â€œmunicipalizationâ€ of universities (the aim to have a university in every municipality), travo z where the state provides the infrastructure and resources.
However, travo z in the socialist universities the capacities, travo z social function, travo z 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 â€œthe coexistence and active participation of the university with the community, travo z but principally of the community with the university, travo z it will be the neighborhood, travo z the organized communities that have the commitment to make the university a place of knowledge and preparation for the people.â€