Venezuelan Students Scramble for an Education

As Venezuela suffers from a deepening economic collapse, it is also experiencing another, slow-motion crisis: the decay of a public education system once regarded as among the best in Latin America. At Central University in Caracas, resourceful and motivated dental students have had to head out into the streets to earn clinical experience.
  1. Dentistry students from the Central University of Venezuela, the country's biggest public university, arrived Saturday at the 23 de Enero slum in western Caracas to give free checkups to low-income residents. UCV students are struggling to complete their studies in the face of budget cuts but are determined to keep logging clinical experience.
  2. The dentistry students set up an improvised clinic on the rooftop terrace of a shanty to give free checkups to low-income residents of the city. The UCV dentistry department halted classes in September in the face of a 70% budget cut, a strike by professors, and a lack of supplies from latex gloves to lightbulbs. Classes resumed in January.
  3. Dentistry student Victoria Betancourt gives a free check-up to a resident of a slum in Caracas.
  4. UCV dentistry students took the initiative to set up makeshift clinics for low-income residents of Caracas because it was the only route they saw for getting the clinical experience they needed after classes were suspended in the fall.
  5. Patients waited to be seen on Saturday by dentistry students giving free checkups, in front of a banner declaring they are UCV students “today and forever.”
  6. Central University of Venezuela medical student Daniella Liendo gave a free blood pressure test on Saturday to a resident of the 23 de Enero slum in western Caracas.
  7. A dentistry student took oral x-rays of a patient on Fridaywith outdated equipment during a lab class at the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas, which halted classes last year in the face of a 70% budget cut and other problems.
  8. These empty shelves once held dentistry supplies in the lab area of the UCV’s dentistry department, which has been gutted by draconian budget cuts amid a general economic crisis and hyperinflation in the country.
  9. Students are supposed to complete lab hours in this crumbling facility at the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas, which has been hit hard by budget deficits. Critics say the resulting shortages of qualified professionals, exacerbated by a continuing brain drain, will hamper the country’s ability to emerge from its economic crisis.
  10. Full story: Photos: Miguel Gutierrez for The Wall Street Journal.