Maria Matienzo Puerto
HAVANA TIMES — Back to school took place a week ago in Cuba. Luckily, every time the school year starts, all Cuban children have a place in our educational system. That’s not just a slogan; it’s true.
They are there even if everything they don’t have the proper materials (books, notebooks, shoes and backpacks) – that’s another story, as is the one regarding whether or not their teachers are or aren’t sufficiently prepared.
I think those days when teachers were demigods who knew everything have passed. I still remember my fourth grade teacher, Alicia Caridad Garcia Osuna. Her classes covered things that went beyond the classroom, the library and even school itself.
Nowadays you’ll often find boys or girls coming home from class repeating nonsense. The sad thing is that their teachers — whether they demonstrate gaps in their knowledge or not — are still the authorities.
My cousin came home from her seventh grade class talking about a historic guerilla assault on an army barracks in… “Bayazo”? This made my aunt, a history graduate, start worrying about him more than ever. The boy’s teacher had been referring to the assault on the barracks in Bayamo in 1953.
I have other stories that are even more perturbing.
Tati, on her first day of preschool, was told that the lone star in the Cuban flag was because there had been a single revolution. Narciso Lopez (the designer of the Cuban flag) must have been spinning in his patriotic grave at that very moment.
What was the right answer? The one star is because we became a single free and independent republic.
But this is only with respect to Cuba, because what’s taught about the rest of the world is that it is an instrument created to destroy us Cubans.
As for Tati’s misspellings, it’s better not to say anything.
You can’t blame the kids, of course. The fault lies with everyone who decides who does and doesn’t have access to information. The fault is with those who censor dreams and the miserable spirits that go along with the game.
It’s not a question of going into a tantrum over this. This is only a peek at another of the consequences we experience by not being able to access information on the rest of the world does.
If my access is minimal, access by many other people doesn’t exist at all… and sadly, among “those people” are the teachers.