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Venezuela's Education Suffering As Professors Leave

Venezuela’s crumbling economy is trickling down to the education sector where hundreds of professors have quit at a drastic rate, according to the teachers’ union.

More than 700 of the 4,000 professors in the well-known Central University of Venezuela in Caracas have given up their positions within the last four years.

“The school is going through a bad time, and sooner or later the quality of the education is going to suffer,” said Hasler Iglesias, a student of chemical engineering.

Professors started to quit when the government froze wages in 2010 and are left to face inflation. Professors now make $35 which is not even double that of the minimum wage of approximately $18.

The government has flattened professors' pay scales and cut funding, this year granting only 39 percent of the budget it requested, said Victor Marquez, president of the professors' association at the Central University.

The professors who have stayed have to make ends meet with part-time work. The school that was once a gem in the education system in Venezuela now has a business school where only 10 percent of the professors are full time.

“We're going to feel the consequences of this for generations to come,” said Pedro Rodriguez, a biology professor.

Rodriguez is now working as a researcher in the United States while on Sabbatical from the Central University. The country’s state has Rodriguez contemplating whether to go back or retire and throw in the towel.

--The Associated Press