A Party with “Adjusted Standards”

By Fabiana del Valle

HAVANA TIMES – What happiness, another new school year! We are not going to regret, there are countless reasons to celebrate. Naima Ariatne Trujillo, the Minister of Education, stated in the official media that nothing would prevent “a great party in Cuba” on September 4th with the start of the school year.

Ah! Along these same lines, President Miguel Díaz-Canel wrote: “The happy day has already arrived. Return to the classrooms, to the classes, to the friends, to the certainty that all the efforts and sacrifices are worth it to see the future filled with light. Congratulations, Cuba, because, no matter what the cost, all your schools remain open.”

Well, yes, let’s celebrate as we are used to the beginning of the agonizing persecution of the uniform, backpack, shoes, socks, snacks and school supplies that the educational system is no longer capable of guaranteeing.

The uniforms required in schools are one of the biggest reasons for stress. The uniform my daughter wears today belonged to an ex-girlfriend of a cousin of mine. She was in high school, she left the country but not without giving me two skirts and three used blouses, but in good condition.

The current context contradicts the bosses’ optimism. Cuba’s economy does not recover, instead every day the problems that we Cubans are already dealing with increase. Given this, acquiring what is necessary to guarantee attendance at schools is a great challenge, which generates anguish in families.

In relation to the guarantee of books and teaching materials, the minister reported on theTV Round Table program that they have the necessary books, notebooks, and pencils for the semester, although with adjusted standards, and they implement new alternatives given the lack of books and teaching materials.

An “adjusted standard”. Be careful with this phrase! I have adapted to reading between the lines when an official expresses themself about the situation in the country. This “adjusted standard” means that my daughter, who is starting eighth grade, has twelve subjects but receives six notebooks.

The “new alternatives” to cover the lack of textbooks provide that two students share a book, giving priority to those who live far away. Not to mention the quality of these specimens, which are missing pages; and putting them together requires the expertise of an experienced restorer.

Then we have the infrastructure. Many of the schools in which Cuban children and adolescents have started the course are in terrible condition. Classrooms without windows, rickety tables, peeling walls. It seems that they no longer have staff in charge of these tasks.

Another obligation of parents: contribute money for paint and brushes, abandon their jobs and other tasks and go paint the classrooms.

A respected Cuban school has a parents’ meeting where it calls for awareness of the country’s needs and all the sacrifices made by the State to offer our children a free education.

But what free education are we talking about? Yes, in addition to the aforementioned costs, we must guarantee the lock for the classroom door or a screw for the chair that has lost its backrest.

Without immediate solutions or hope, it remains to be seen if parents, in addition to the usual expenses, will obtain a graduation of our children.

Their future as a professional in this country is another question. Today we are only pressed to arrive on time and in shape to join this “great party” of the new school year that welcomes the students among dust and mold.

Read more from the diary of Fabiana del Valle here on Havana Times.

One thought on “A Party with “Adjusted Standards”

  • The state can afford to build countless hotels that will remain empty, but no money for a broken window. Well I guess that the Singaos can’t line their pockets doing maintenance.

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