Venezuela to expand education

CARACAS Aug 16 (Prensa Latina) After the enactment of the Education Bill, Venezuela on Sunday enters a new stage in its drive to guarantee Venezuelans from all walks of life free access to education.

President Hugo Chavez on Saturday signed the bill that had been passed by Parliament early in the morning, despite attempts against it by the opposition, the private school system, the media, and the national Catholic hierarchy.

In his Sunday column 'Las lineas de Chavez,' the Venezuelan president stated that the time of education as a business and as a mean to train subjects of the empire has come to an end with such legislation, whose aim is to be a social asset.

The bill does not eliminate private schools or prohibit religion teaching, but get it out of the curriculum.

The State can now supervise resources delivered to public universities, a mechanism that does not protect university autonomy and that, according to accusations, favored corruption and embezzled resources.

To guarantee education funds, the law establishes that the State will allot the sector a priority share of the Gross Domestic Product.