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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 September 2007, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Venezuela leader's school warning
By James Ingham
BBC News, Caracas

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addresses pupils in the city of Anzoategui
Mr Chavez said education based on capitalist ideology destroyed values
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has threatened the country's private schools with closure unless they adopt the government's socialist ideology.

Mr Chavez said schools must introduce a new curriculum being introduced this year that he said would help develop values of cooperation and solidarity.

Education had been ignored by past governments, Mr Chavez said.

But many parents are concerned that the new curriculum will spell indoctrination for their children.

Opening a new school on the first day of the academic year, President Chavez spoke of his vision for the future of education.

He said it was based around learning to create, to live together, to value and to reflect.

He said he would make education his top priority and increase funding.

But Mr Chavez said any schools that did not agree to teach what the government wanted would be closed.

"The government as well as parents and society can't accept that the private sector does whatever it feels like doing," he said.

"How can they say that because it's a private school an education inspector can't come in? Of course it can or we will close down the school."

Mr Chavez said previous governments had also promoted their own ideology.

"They taught us to admire Christopher Columbus and Superman," he said.

"Education based on capitalist ideology destroyed values".

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12 May 07 |  Country profiles
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