Is the university in Venezuela free
VenezuelaThe students run away from the universities
"I'm studying business administration. Several lecturers from the department have left Venezuela. That makes it difficult for us students here. That makes it almost impossible to continue here. The crisis is causing almost all teachers and students to leave the country."
Cindy is in her fifth semester. She too would like to leave, but if possible finish her studies beforehand in order to have better opportunities abroad.
Cindy is one of the privileged in Venezuela: She studies at the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, a small private university with a total of 6,000 students.
There is a lack of almost everything
"Many universities in Venezuela have de-registered 25, 30, and even up to 40 percent of their students. We have also lost students at the Universidad Metropolitana, but not quite as many on balance."
says Rector Benjamin Sharifka.
"That's because a lot of students from other universities come to us because we still have lectures."
And that although only 100 of the 180 full-time lecturers and professors are still active. At the state universities in particular, lectures are repeatedly canceled and / or paralyzed. In view of the acute supply crisis and 14,000 percent inflation at the moment, there is literally a lack of everything.
"For almost ten years we have had no more money to keep our libraries up-to-date or to equip our laboratories for research. Our resources are so limited that we have a top lecturer with a doctorate, 20 years of professional experience, and publications in the most prestigious Magazines and research activities can pay as little as ten dollars a month. You can't survive on ten dollars a month in Venezuela or anywhere else. "
"The course has become too expensive"
The salaries and tuition fees are adjusted monthly, explains Rector Benjamin Scharifka.
"The course has become too expensive, Cindy complains, the fees were raised by 3,000 percent I believe. Last month I paid 30 million bolivars for six subjects."
The equivalent of only 20 to 30 dollars depending on the black market rate, but the sum is 12 times the minimum wage of a worker. Despite constantly adjusted fees, the Universidad Metropolitana can currently only survive thanks to generous donations from alumni from abroad, among others. A great privilege, because the state institutions, which make up about half of Venezuela's 80 universities, depend on the state's drip and it is bankrupt. It is of little use to the students that studying at state institutions is free.
Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves, but mismanagement and corruption have plunged the country into a deep crisis that students feel every day.
"The students can no longer afford to eat in the cafeteria every day. You have to bring your food with you from home."
Ana Victoria points to a plastic bowl that she will later warm up in the microwave specially set up by the university for this purpose. Your fellow student Hugo works part-time and studies mechanical engineering at the same time - still:
"I am seriously considering whether I should interrupt my studies and go to work abroad because I don't have enough money. The point will soon come where I have to decide: do I eat or do I study?"
The crisis threatens to traumatize Venezuela's young generation
Hugo is by no means an isolated case. Eating enough is the biggest, but by no means the only challenge for the students. Many have problems getting to the university because buses and cars are not operational due to a lack of spare parts and:
"You have to buy books, but that's impossible. You need the internet for a lot of work, but it doesn't always work."
Isabel complains of her suffering.
"The students come here depressed, worried about their future, about tomorrow. Some days we go to sleep in one country and wake up in another. This also affects the relationship between lecturers and students."
Victor Tortorisi teaches psychology. Is he just teaching? These days he's probably more of a psychologist and therapist than a lecturer. The experience of this crisis threatens to traumatize Venezuela's young generation. That doesn't bode well: After all, as is well known, the youth is the future of a country.
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