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Date of Award

9-2011

Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Education

First Advisor

Jacqueline Mosselson

Second Advisor

Joseph B. Berger

Third Advisor

Agustín Lao-Montes

Subject Categories

Education Policy | Latin American Studies

Abstract

The 2009 Ley Orgánica de Educación (the "Organic Law of Education," hereafter "LOE") of Venezuela is a recent foundational document that represents goals of the Bolivarian Revolution within the educational sector. Passed ten years into the administration of President Hugo Chavez, this document articulates a vision of the educational provisions for Socialism of the XXIst century. While many tenets of the law support international declarations of educational targets and development milestones, such as Education for All, democratization, national sovereignty, and indigenous rights, the mechanisms for achieving these goals are highly contested within the Venezuelan higher education community. Additionally, they counter many recommendations of Northern aid and lending organizations, which have imposed goals of privatization, decentralization, and competition upon higher education in the Global South as conditionalities of funding, yet have arguably exacerbated inequalities in beneficiary societies. The LOE embraces a radical model of educational inclusion and governance influenced by the anti-colonial principles of Venezuela's national hero, Simon Bolivar, who serves as a symbol for national sovereignty, regional solidarity, anti-imperialism, and valorization of cultural identity. This study examines the language, provisions, and ideologies that construct the LOE through critical discourse analysis to determine how it is intended to implement the process of decolonization. Through an analytical framework of liberation theory, I link the discourse of the LOE to the societal goals of the Bolivarian Revolution including "participatory, protagonistic democracy" and national self-determination that counter the guidelines of the Washington Consensus toward education. In addition, I examine the implications it presents for redefining the nature of higher education in Venezuela in particular and in the Latin American region in general.

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