Turing the Spanish colonial period and the rule of the caudillos in Venezuela, education was available only to wealthy children. The sons of rich families were educated in small church-run schools or were privately tutored in their homes. In the 1870s, President Guzmán Blanco started a public education system, but a universal primary education system was not fully established until 1960.

Free education is a right in Venezuela's constitution. Until the recent economic crisis, the Venezuelan government invested more than 15% of its revenue in the education system. In the 1990s, the government cut back on education spending and the public education system has declined.

Many children under five attend a preschool. Children are required to attend school starting at the age of six. They attend primary school until they are eleven. They are then promoted to the second level of basic education, where they stay until they are 14 or 15. Public school students usually attend classes in shifts. Some go to school from early in the morning until about 1:30 and others attend from early afternoon until about 6:00. All schoolchildren wear uniforms. Although education is mandatory for children, some poor children do not attend school because they must work to support their families.
   Did you know?
The government distributes literacy training materials across the country, and encourages Venezuelans who can read and write to teach others who do not have these skills.
There are two types of secondary schools: diversified and specialized. In diversified secondary schools, students study general science and humanities. Specialized secondary schools offer a more technical education. Secondary education is not compulsory.

There are both private and public universities and technical training institutes in Venezuela. One of the most famous universities is the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas. The campus of this university is so large that it is called University City. Other well-known universities include the University of the Andes, the University of Zulia and the Andrés Bello Catholic University. The government provides scholarships and loans, and also pays for some Venezuelan students to study abroad, if they promise to return after their education is completed.

   Did you know?
Instead of being given a letter grade or a percentage, Venezuelan students are often marked out of twenty. On this scale, ten is a passing mark. Some students are also marked out of nine.