“Education for Liberation” – Venezuela’s New Work Mission Begins Training this Week

Thousands of Venezuelans are to start work training this week, training which includes critical components and theoretical discussions, and hundreds will train in special education, as the government changes its policy towards inclusion of children with disabilities in the classroom.

7,000 people will be incorporated each week into the training phase of the Knowledge and Work Mission, Ricardo Menendez, minister for science, technology, and intermediate industries informed.

As of yesterday, 7,449 people had registered in the mission in the Capital District, and Miranda and Vargas states began their training in brickwork, carpentry, electronics, mechanics, refrigeration, driving, and special education.

Menendez said so far 750 people have completed their training, and the logistics office of the mission has been making 4,000 calls daily. The National Institute of Training and Socialist Education (Inces), will coordinate the training, together with the National Bolivarian Armed Forces.

The knowledge and work mission aims to decrease unemployment and to train people in areas that are socially beneficial to the country, such as in housing, agriculture, and education. It is divided up into four stages; registration, training, judicial-institutional change, and the creation of a new production platform. It starts its second phase this week.

Training will last at least three months, and during this time trainees will receive a small scholarship of at least Bs 430 (US$ 100) per month. They will start work when their training completes. In Vargas state, those starting training this week will work on the renovation of two hotels, and for the housing mission.

“This is about the possibility of mass training and consciousness,” Menendez said.

Minister for education Maryann Hanson said the training program was based on “critical” training, “its integral training, not just about a job position, it’s a vision of what a liberating working world is … its education for liberation, it encourages thought”.

Roymer Pillar, who is starting training as a bricklayer in Vargas state, told AVN, “The main thing about this mission is that … we can get liberating work where we won’t be badly treated or exploited, nor treat our subordinates badly, just the opposite, we’ll share our knowledge with those we work with”.

Special education training

Hanson said the work mission would initially provide 474 jobs in special education.  The government is promoting a process of transformation of the sector she said, and the new jobs include training teachers, language therapists, psychologists, and social workers in order to better attend to children with Down syndrome, autism, and cognitive disabilities, among others.

The training for those who choose work in primary or special education will last six months. Hanson said those focusing on special education will attend to children and teenagers with disabilities who are registered in the Children of Venezuela mission, as well as the mission for those with disabilities, for whom “we are opening up the possibility that they enter the education system”.

She explained that the ministry was changing its orientation towards children with special needs to one that is “different to the traditional perspective, which had an existentialist nature, towards inclusion in mainstream education”.

President Hugo Chavez recently approved Bs 358 million (US$ 83.2 million) for the construction of 1,235 classrooms designed for children with special needs.

676,273 people have registered so far in the work mission, however the registration process is by region, and the last registration phase will begin on 17March. Then, people will be able to register in Yaracuy, Aragua, Carabobo, Monagas, Anzoategui, Sucre, Nueva Esparta, Bolivar, Amazonas, and Delta Amacuro states.

Venezuela’s formal unemployment rate fluctuates at around 7-9% (6% in 2011); however its informal sector makes up 45% of the working population.

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