While there is no definition of inclusive education, article 14 of the 2009 Education Act states that education is conceived as a process of "inclusive and quality" training. Equity and inclusion are promoted as guiding principles of education.
According to the People with Disabilities Act (2007), specialized education is the educational method aimed at people with disabilities or "people who, due to congenital or acquired causes, present some dysfunction or absence of their physical, mental, intellectual or sensory capacities, or combinations thereof, of a temporary or permanent or intermittent nature which, when interacting with various barriers, results in disadvantages that hinder or prevent their participation, inclusion and integration into family and social life, as well as the full exercise of their human rights under equal conditions with others".
According to the 2009 Education Act, the education system is organized into the basic education subsystem (comprising early education, primary education and secondary education) and the university education subsystem. There are education system arrangements that "are educational variants for the support of people who, because of their characteristics and the specific conditions of their integral, cultural, ethnic, linguistic and other development, require curriculum adaptations on a permanent or temporary basis in order to meet the requirements of the different levels of education".
According to the Act, the following educational arrangements are in place:
Intercultural and Intercultural Bilingual Education
"Intercultural education cuts across the education system and creates the conditions for its free access through programmes based on the principles and foundations of the original cultures of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples and communities, valuing their language, world view, values, knowledge, wisdom and mythology, among others, as well as their social, economic, political and legal organization, all of which constitute part of the nation's heritage".
Bilingual intercultural education is compulsory in all schools and education centres located in regions with an indigenous population, within the basic education subsystem.
Its purpose is to provide comprehensive educational support for people living in areas along the Venezuelan border.
Rural education promotes the comprehensive education of citizens in their geographical contexts and is guided by values of local, regional and national identity. The State "guarantees harmonious linkage between the countryside and the city, strengthening the relationship between rural education and intercultural and intercultural bilingual education".
The function of military education is to guide the training, improvement and comprehensive development process of members of the National Armed Forces.
The Persons with Disabilities Act (2007) establishes that the State shall regulate the characteristics, conditions and methods of education for people with disabilities, taking into account their individual attributes and needs in order to provide, through specialized educational institutions, the necessary education and training to facilitate their integration into mainstream schools to the maximum level achievable for their specific type and degree of disability. People with disabilities who are unable to receive basic education shall be provided with appropriate services to ensure their development and well-being, including those provided in specialized education centres. It also states that "those who need to remain in specialized schools because of the degree of their intellectual disability must be supported, regardless of their age".
According to the Initial Report on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities submitted by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in 2015, the Ministry of People’s Power for Education initiated a transformation of Special Education Arrangements in 2011. The aim was to transform the educational institutions of the Special Education Arrangements and its services (Child Development Centre and Labour Education Workshop) into Early Education Centres, Bolivarian Schools and “Robinson and Zamorano” Technical Schools for people with disabilities, adopting the principles of the Bolivarian National Curriculum, with teaching strategies that take into consideration the situations of families and communities. The objective was to move towards the inclusion of children, young people and adults with disabilities in the educational institutions of the Basic Education Subsystem.
As indicated in the Report, in 2013 there were 44 Early Education Centres for people with disabilities, 341 Bolivarian Schools for people with intellectual disabilities, 45 Bolivarian Schools for hearing impaired people, 19 Bolivarian Schools for people with motor disabilities, 6 Bolivarian Schools for visually impaired people, 126 “Robinson and Zamorano” Technical Schools for people with disabilities, and 52 Educational Spaces in the Hospital Context, with a total enrolment of 40,296 students.
In 2011, Educational Centres for the Diagnosis, Guidance, Training and Monitoring of Disability were created, and these are responsible for "ensuring comprehensive educational support for people with disabilities who are evaluated through an interdisciplinary group that takes into account their potential to achieve an immediate educational response, to monitor, create and provide guidance to the group of teachers, families and community to achieve learning for the continuation of their education." In 2015, there were 153 centres nationwide. The goal, according to the initial report submitted by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is to have one centre in each municipality (335 nationwide) or parish for the Capital District and Vargas State.
Article 102 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (2009) states that "education is a human right and a fundamental social duty, it is democratic, free and compulsory."
The 2009 Education Act develops the guiding principles and values, rights, guarantees and duties in education adopted by the State. Article 3 of the Act sets out the following as principles of education: "participatory and proactive democracy, social responsibility, equality of all citizens without discrimination of any kind (...), the practice of equity and inclusion, the sustainability of development, and the right to gender equality". It also stipulates that education is, among other things, public, social, compulsory, free, high-quality, socially-relevant, multicultural, multiethnic, intercultural and multilingual.
Article 14 describes education as "a human right and a fundamental social duty conceived as a process of comprehensive, free, secular, inclusive, high-quality, permanent, continuous and interactive education".
Article 3 of the Protection of Children and Adolescents Act (2007) provides for a principle of equality and non-discrimination by which the provisions of the law apply equally to "all children and adolescents, without any discrimination on grounds of race, colour, gender, age, language, thinking, conscience, religion, belief, culture, political or other opinion, economic status, social, ethnic or national origin, disability, illness, birth or any other condition of the child or adolescent, of their father, mother, representative or guardian, or of their family members."
The Great Social Missions emerged as a way of implementing public policies that would guarantee the fundamental rights of the population to education, health, food, identity, work and culture, etc., with an emphasis on the most excluded sectors. Among the educational missions is the Robinson Mission, the objective of which has been the literacy of the population, including people with disabilities, since 2003.
According to the Fatherland Plan 2025, 82 per cent of schools in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are public, free and of good quality. The enrolment rate increased in 2016, reaching 90 per cent enrolment for early education, 100 per cent enrolment for primary education and 99 per cent enrolment for secondary education. The Fatherland Plan seeks to develop the principle of free public education this is high-quality and relevant. It also seeks to guarantee school enrolment for the entire population, with emphasis on excluded populations, at all levels of education. The aim is to address the factors that lead to school dropouts, such as supplies, food, uniform and food costs.
Article 81 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (2009) stipulates that all people with disabilities or special needs have the right to the full and autonomous exercise of their capacities and to their family and community integration. Training, education and access to employment are promoted for people with disabilities. The right of deaf and mute people to express themselves and communicate through Venezuelan sign language is also recognized.
Resolution no. 2005 of 1996 decrees the establishment of standards for the school integration of people with special educational needs. It states that public and private educational establishments at the different levels and in the different arrangements of the education system must guarantee the entry, continuation in school and completion of studies for students with special educational needs, who will receive internal or external support for their integration into school.
The People with Disabilities Act (2007) regulates the means and mechanisms by which the comprehensive development of people with disabilities is guaranteed under principles of equality, cooperation, equity, solidarity, integration, non-segregation, non-discrimination, respect for difference and acceptance of human diversity, among others. Article 16 decrees that every person with a disability has the right to attend an educational institution or education centre to receive education or training. In addition, it establishes that reasons of disability should not be given to prevent admission to educational institutes. Article 20 stipulates that the State shall guarantee access for deaf and hearing-impaired people to bilingual education, which includes teaching through Venezuelan sign language and the Spanish language and the use of Braille for blind and visually-impaired people.
The 2009 Education Act, passed two years later, promoted access to the education system for people with educational needs or disabilities by creating conditions and opportunities.
In 2009, through Act 39,236, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela adopted the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol. Accession to the Convention became effective on 24 September 2013.
The Initial Report on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities submitted by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in 2015 sets out the country's commitment to and progress in defending the rights of people with disabilities. There are various missions aimed at promoting the education and inclusion of people with disabilities, such as the José Gregorio Hernández Great Mission, which is responsible for implementing inclusive social policies in order to design and implement social programmes to assist the most vulnerable, as well as to promote and guarantee the rights of people with disabilities, which has provided free and comprehensive support to more than 358,000 people with disabilities; and the Robinson Mission, which has taught people with Down’s syndrome and other learning difficulties to read and write. There has also been a significant increase in the admission of people with disabilities to university education, thanks to initiatives such as the National Income Programme for People with Disabilities, implemented by the Ministry of People's Power for University Education, Science and Technology. According to the report, the number of students enrolled in university education has increased from 869 in 2009 to 4,516 in 2012.
The Fatherland Plan 2025 seeks to guarantee the inclusion of people with disabilities and to incorporate sign language at all levels of education to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities in educational spaces.
Article 21 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (2009) decrees that all people are equal before the law. Article 103 stipulates that everyone has the right to comprehensive education under equal conditions and with equal opportunities.
The Violence against Women and the Family Act (1998) seeks to prevent, control, punish and eradicate violence against women and the family.
The Equal Opportunities for Women Act (1999), based on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, seeks to guarantee women the full exercise of their rights and the development of their personality, skills and abilities. Article 9 states that, in application of the principle of equality, the Ministry of Education will proceed to incorporate new teaching methods from the preschool level up, aimed at changing sociocultural patterns of male and female behaviour that are based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either gender, or on stereotyped roles for men and women. The diversification of educational and vocational options for both genders is also sought to ensure equal opportunities in accessing all forms of education and to promote coeducation.
According to article 8 of the 2009 Education Act, "In accordance with the gender equality approach provided for in the Constitution of the Republic, the State shall guarantee equal conditions and opportunities for boys, girls, adolescents, men and women to exercise their right to a comprehensive and quality education."
Article 50 of the 2007 Protection of Children and Adolescents Act states that "all children and adolescents have the right to be informed and educated, in accordance with their development, on sexual and reproductive health for responsible, healthy, voluntary and safe sexual behaviour and parenthood."
Resolution 1762 of 1996 of the Ministry of Education for the protection of pregnant girls in educational establishments stipulates in article 2 that "the following may not be used to prevent a student from entering or remaining in an educational establishment: repetition, pregnancy, conduct or discipline, creed, marital status of the parents, uniforms, school supplies, or any other limitation that is not legally established."
The Neighbourhood Mothers Mission is a programme of the Ministry of People’s Power for Women and Gender Equality created in 2006 to provide single mothers with economic support and training for home-based employment.
The Fatherland Plan 2025 seeks to generate training policies from a gender equality and sexual diversity perspective.
Ethnic and Linguistic Groups and Indigenous Peoples
Chapter VIII of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (2009) recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples. Article 121 states that indigenous peoples "have the right to their own education and to an intercultural and bilingual education system, taking into account their sociocultural characteristics, values and traditions". The official language is Spanish but indigenous languages are also in official use by indigenous peoples and must be respected throughout the territory of the Republic.
Regional and universal cultural and educational integration is also promoted in the exchange of social and artistic theories and practices, knowledge, experiences, and folk and ancestral wisdom, all of which strengthen the identity of our Latin American, Caribbean, indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.
The aims of education are to promote a democratic society committed to "the principles of sovereignty and self-determination of the people, with the values of local, regional and national identity, with an indigenous, Afro-descendant, Latin American, Caribbean and universal vision".
Heading IV of the Indigenous Peoples and Communities Act guarantees them their own education and intercultural bilingual education system. It states that intercultural bilingual education for indigenous peoples will be implemented at all levels and in all arrangements of the education system, and will be aimed at promoting interculturality and meeting the individual and collective needs of indigenous peoples and communities.
The Fatherland Plan 2025 seeks to guarantee and expand bilingual education and to recover and preserve indigenous languages in national educational programmes.
People Living in Poverty
The Fatherland Plan 2025 seeks to ensure the economic conditions for full access to the education system, both in terms of the size and accessibility of the public, universal offer, and in the mechanisms of economic protection for study.
People Deprived of Liberty
The 2009 Education Act promotes access to the education system for people deprived of their liberty and those in the juvenile criminal justice system.
The Ministry of People’s Power for Education is the institution tasked with promoting and guaranteeing Venezuelan people’s right to education. The Ministry of People’s Power for University Education, Science and Technology is the body tasked with university education.
According to the 2009 Education Act, the community organizations of the People’s Power such as the communal councils, indigenous peoples and communities and other community social organizations are jointly responsible for education together with the State.
The 2007 People with Disabilities Act created the National System of Comprehensive Support for People with Disabilities for the integration and coordination of policies, plans and programmes for the comprehensive support of people with disabilities.
The National Council for People with Disabilities (Conapdis) is an autonomous body responsible for implementing guidelines, public policies, plans and strategies on disability. It is also the body responsible for issuing certification of the condition of a person with disability, which is required in accordance with the provisions of the 2007 People with Disabilities Act in order for them to receive certain benefits and economic allowances and social rights granted by the Social Security System.
According to the Initial Report on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities submitted by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in 2015, the Presidential Council for People with Disabilities of the People’s Government was established in 2015, with "the purpose of contributing to the generation and implementation of effective public policies, as well as the exercise of the people’s power through spokespeople for each entity (states and municipalities) who, through people’s assemblies, collect information on global needs and proposals for their correction and prevention, which is then presented and discussed with the ministers and the President of the Republic." In addition, to strengthen teaching staff on the human rights of people with disabilities, the Ombudsman's Office has implemented various training courses such as the Improved Teaching for Children and Adolescents with Disabilities Course and the Diploma in Human Rights for Children and Adolescents with Disabilities, implemented in 2014.
The 2009 Education Act seeks to guarantee public and private educational infrastructure in accordance with the use and design parameters issued by the competent authorities.
Conapdis promotes the enactment of municipal bylaws that regulate physical accessibility for people with disabilities.
The 1999 Equal Opportunities for Women Act stipulates that measures shall be taken to ensure all buildings and facilities for public use have services and equipment suitable for use by people of both genders.
The Fatherland Plan 2025 seeks to strengthen the equipment, infrastructure, bibliographic support and educational technology, and to expand school infrastructure and facilities in all regions.
The 2009 Education Act promotes the permanent updating of the national curriculum, textbooks and teaching resources of compulsory application and use throughout the basic education subsystem.
In accordance with the Act, "intercultural bilingual education shall be governed by a special law that will develop the curricular design, the school calendar, the teaching materials, and the training and relevance of the teachers corresponding to this system."
The Indigenous Peoples and Communities Act establishes educational plans and programmes for each indigenous people or community based on their sociocultural features, values and traditions.
The Fatherland Plan 2025 seeks to incorporate responsible, honest and demystified content on sexual and reproductive health, the eradication of sexual and gender-based violence, equality and respect for sexual and gender diversity into all levels of the education system’s curriculum.
It also seeks to guarantee the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the Bolivarian curriculum.
ICT and Learning Materials
The 1998 Violence against Women and the Family Act seeks to exclude all stereotypes, criteria or values that express any form of discrimination or violence from the curricula, textbooks and support materials.
The 1999 Equal Opportunities for Women Act seeks to ensure that the curriculum, teaching approaches, textbooks and teaching aids contain principles and values that promote gender equality.
The Indigenous Peoples and Communities Act promotes the production and distribution of teaching and reading materials in indigenous languages.
According to the Fatherland Plan 2025, the number of laptops distributed to the student population has surpassed 5.3 million since the beginning of the Canaima Educational Programme in 2008. The Plan seeks to develop the necessary infrastructure for the implementation of remote education at the different levels, aimed at strengthening education processes with a geographic specialization. The Fatherland Plan seeks to continue incorporating information and communication technologies into the educational process through the use of Canaima computers and the development of virtual classrooms as a component of remote education.
It also seeks to promote the upgrading of national educational plans with indigenous cultural content, as well as their monitoring and educational expansion, while incorporating indigenous cultural content in order to embed a sense of patriotism throughout the national educational and cultural system.
The 2009 Education Act promotes lifelong learning for teachers and other people and institutions involved in education. A continuing education policy is promoted in which the State, through the basic education and university education subsystems, designs, directs, administers and supervises the continuing education of those responsible or jointly responsible for education administration and for the educational community.
The Fatherland Plan 2025 seeks to include a decolonization focus, the eradication of all forms of discrimination, a critical appropriation of historical memory and territory, and intercultural coexistence into teacher training.
The 2007 People with Disabilities Act stipulates that the ministries with responsibility for education, sports, health, social development, popular economy and work are responsible for designing, coordinating and implementing education, training and the gradual development of human resources for the comprehensive support of people with disabilities.
According to the Initial Report on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities presented by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in 2015, in the process of transition from the Special Education Arrangement to the educational inclusion of people with disabilities, inspections were conducted and educational assistance provided with the aim of guiding and training institutional groups to implement the public education policy within the framework of a Teaching State that is working to raise the quality of education.
The 1999 Equal Opportunities for Women Act seeks to guide and train teachers in educational practices for equality.
Bilingual Intercultural Education
The Indigenous Peoples and Communities Act promotes the comprehensive training of indigenous teachers who are experts in intercultural bilingual education. According to article 81, "in the intercultural bilingual education system, teachers must be speakers of the indigenous language or languages of the learners, knowledgeable about their culture and trained as intercultural bilingual educators. The appointment of these teachers will be subject to applications from the indigenous peoples and communities concerned, and they should preferably belong to the same people or community as the learners".
There is no evidence of indicators for monitoring inclusive education in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.