Venezuelas' school system is shutting down, remaining kids frequently pass out from lack of food

Life in a socialist paradise continues to get worse in new and surprising ways. Over the weekend the NY Times published a story about a recurring problem in Venezuela’s collapsing schools. Kids frequently pass out during class because they haven’t had enough to eat:

Hundreds of children filed into their school courtyard to hear a local Catholic bishop lead prayers for their education…

By the end of the 15-minute ceremony, five children had fainted and two of them were whisked away in an ambulance.

The faintings at the primary school have become a regular occurrence because so many students come to class without eating breakfast, or dinner the night before.

Many students stopped attending school altogether when the schools stopped serving lunches. Others stopped attending because their parents couldn’t afford uniforms. Some kids now work with their family to provide food instead of going to school.

And lack of food is just one of the problems that has conspired to cause schools across the country to wither away. Another problem is lack of teachers. The monthly salary for most Venezuelan teachers is $7 so thousands have joined the millions of Venezuelans who have fled the country for a better life elsewhere. Remaining teachers and even parents with no education background have stepped in to take up the slack but many school are mostly empty now.

“An entire generation is being left behind,” said Luis Bravo, an education researcher at the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas. “Today’s education system doesn’t allow children to become meaningful members of society.”

The government stopped publishing education statistics in 2014. But visits to more than a dozen schools in five Venezuelan states and interviews with dozens of teachers and parents indicate that attendance has plummeted this year.

Many schools are shuttering in the once-wealthy nation as malnourished children and teachers who earn almost nothing abandon classrooms to scratch out a living on the streets or flee abroad…

In Venezuela’s most-populous state of Zulia, up to 60 percent of about 65,000 teachers have deserted in recent years, according to estimates by Alexander Castro, head of the local teacher’s union.

“They tell us that they prefer painting nails for a few dollars than work for a minimum wage,” Mr. Castro said…

Maracaibo’s biggest school no longer has any functioning bathrooms. It was designed for 3,000 students; only 100 now show up.

The revolution has already killed Venezuela’s present, now it’s killing its future as well. A successful economy requires workers who know how to read and write and do math. If an entire generation of kids have dropped out of elementary schools, their chances of making up the missing years and education later is pretty slim. And of course that means most of these kids have no chance of going to college or getting a job that isn’t manual labor of some kind. That’s a tremendous amount of wasted potential. It’s also going to depress the economy in the long run and make it harder for the country to bounce back once Maduro is gone.

That’s the only hope most of these kids have: That the socialist tyrant running the nation into the ground will leave or be forced to leave. How much longer will Venezuelans allow this to go on?

This Al Jazeera report on the situation is from February, 2019: