I have to say Henrique Capriles' efforts on education are starting to pay off. Whereas the military government in Venezuela is focusing on buying weapons, Capriles, who is a candidate for the 2012 presidential elections and current governor of Miranda, has been concentrating on improving schools in his region. It hasn't been an easy job, specially as the national government has been sabotaging all it can.
I have been personally involved in promoting the PISA programme in Venezuela. The Chávez government has ignored repeated calls to bring Venezuela to PISA as this would bring quite some transparency to Venezuela. It has been a frustrating thing to try to convince Chávez functionaries about allowing an open debate and research on education quality. The Miranda government, on the other hand, decided to meet the challenge and let pupils from Miranda take part in this international evaluation programme, just as most other American countries and other nations are doing.
Very soon we will get the results for Miranda's pupils. I imagine the initial results will be poor, but this is no surprise as Venezuelans' school levels were among the lowest in Latin America in 1998. The very low education levels in Venezuela were one of the main reasons, together with the oil price cycle, why the military came back to rule Venezuela in the first place. But now there is a new development. Very soon we will see how the central Venezuelan region of Miranda compares with the rest of the world...and we can build upon that and very soon all Venezuelan pupils will also join the PISA project.