Students, teachers and parents from around 29, 000 educational institutions across Venezuela are expected to participate in a nation-wide consultation scheme.
According to education minster Hector Rodriguez, the National Consultation for Quality Education is aimed at improving conditions for both staff and students in schools, universities and other institutions.
“We are asking children how they want their school to be, and how they imagine their teachers,” Rodriguez stated.
The minister stated that more than seven million students and 600,000 teachers will be consulted over the next five months.
“We are interested in hearing the views of everyone,” Rodriguez stated.
The ministry has revealed that the plan will have two phases. Launched on Wednesday, the first phase includes direct meetings with school administrators, staff and students. Some example questions have already been made available to the media.
Topics range from student participation in school organisations, to how high school can better prepare pupils for university and work, and what subjects students would like to study. Some questions are as simple as “how do you like your school?”, while others ask how staff and students can promote “peace and coexistence”.
Later in the year, the ministry will conduct further interviews through stalls in public places, via telephone and begin collecting public input through an online survey.
The results of the consultation will be made public in September, according to ministry sources.
Rodriguez has also stated that the participants will be guaranteed anonymity, and rumours that personal information will be collected under the initiative are false.
“The ministry of education is not doing this; if a school is doing it and we get a complaint, we will figure it out immediately,” he stated.
The consultation comes following a year of expansion for Venezuela’s education system. According to the higher education minister Ricardo Menendez, more universities were built or rehabilitated in 2013 than during the decade preceding the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998.
Seven universities were rehabilitated or constructed from scratch in 2013, according to government figures. Enrolment increased from 2.5 million students in 2012, to 2.6 million in 2013, according to Menendez. In 1998, around 700,000 Venezuelans were enrolled in tertiary studies.