As campus crumbles and students flee, Venezuela’s main university struggles to survive COVID-19

CARACAS (Reuters) – The corridors are empty and silent at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), the country’s oldest and largest institution of higher education, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the evacuation of its 32,000 students.

Chairs are seen at the Aula Magna of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), in Caracas, Venezuela September 25, 2020. REUTERS/Fausto Torrealba

The 298-year-old university is suffering not only the impact of the coronavirus quarantine, but also a six-year economic crisis that has left it struggling with a meager budget and the emigration of 30% of its graduates.

The deterioration of its infrastructure stood out in June with the partial collapse of the roof of an outdoor walkway that is a part of the iconic architecture of the complex, which has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

The institution’s troubles signal that Venezuela risks losing a generation of college graduates,

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