A Note on Cuba’s Education System

Rosa Martinez

pioneros-1HAVANA TIMES — If we allowed ourselves to be persuaded by the news going around the Internet, we would conclude Cuba has one of the worst educational systems in the world – and that’s not the case.

There is no doubt our educational system has many problems, as does public health and other sectors. Some have to do with the iron-fisted blockade that has placed restrictions on our economic development for over half a century, others are related to individuals as such (to the teacher, principal, municipal and provincial leaders in the sector) and, last but not least, some are the Ministry’s fault.

It is true there’s a shortage of teachers at all levels of education (there’s talk of a deficit of over eight thousand). Some teachers lack proper training and teaching skills, others are rude and have bad social habits (they sell things and smoke at school, or say obscene things in front of their students).

We can see that and many other things in most classrooms, but that does not mean that all teachers give their pupils a bad example or that everything in our educational system is negative.

Cuba has changed and must continue to make progress in the field. Education must also change and come to include all of society, so that we can uproot, once and for all, all of our intolerance towards differences, be these sexual, political or religious, and get rid of the impositions that come with the school regulations and norms of old, norms that today’s generations neither understand nor want.

HT Blogger Veronica Vega and her son are an example of how certain dogmatic criteria which have nothing to do with the teaching process (and much less the student’s learning process) still prevail.

Today, I want to share with you yet another example of how the established norms can be more detrimental than beneficial for students.

The younger of my two daughters is in the first grade. Her classes were traumatic from the word go: she did not like the change from kindergarten to the day school.

Talking to her, using a bit of psychology and with a lot of patience, we managed to get past this initial trauma. She no longer talks so much about how she has to sit all day on a hard chair, or about how tired she is of studying and studying without end.

At home, we helped her learn to read and write. We had a lot of problems, because she is not a quick learner.

Now, Giselle has another problem: she has to take a news item to school every day.

I got very upset when she told me this, crying.

“Who came up with this idea?” I wondered.

When I spoke with her teacher, she explained to me it didn’t have to be every day and that it wasn’t obligatory, that the idea was to instill an interest in being informed and in the world around them in children.

“That’s all fine and good, I understand and have nothing against that,” I said to her. What I don’t want is for my little girl to cry, get stressed and want to skip school because she finds it hard to memorize a piece of news which, in most cases, neither she nor her classmates understand.

3 thoughts on “A Note on Cuba’s Education System

  • Well I think Moses that as the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba consistently and constantly refers to the blockade on hoardings, on banners and in the schools, Cubans assume that that is what the embargo is. Poor Rosa is just a victim of the regime’s propaganda.

  • Rosa Martinez is in conflict not only with herself, but perhaps unwittingly with the Castro family regime. She writes:
    “Education must also change and come to include all of society so that we can uproot, once and for all, all of our intolerance towards differences, be these sexual, political or religious, and get rid of the impositions that come with the school regulations”
    Spoken like a true revolutionary!
    Who is more intolerant of political differences than the Castro family regime?
    In rebuttal I ought to add that the Castro family has following a period of intolerance in matters sexual, towards homosexuality but accepting for example the numerous inFIDELities of the eldest son having children with some of his various mistresses made amends as a consequence of a cat in the form of Mariela landing in their midst.
    Similarly there was a long period of intolerance towards the third of Rosa’s concern’s, that of religion. Fidel managed to overcome his position as a grade III Jesuit to oppose religion. However as his demise grew ever nearer he managed to revert to Catholicism and it now appears that as little brother Raul is approaching his final days that conversion is looming.
    If only Rosa had access to the internet, it would be easy for little Giselle to take a news item to school each day.

  • Is Rosa unaware of the stark difference between the words ‘blockade’ and ’embargo’ or is she simply being stubborn? If the US had a blockade against Cuba there would be Navy ships surrounding the island. She can’t be that stupid that she can’t tell the difference, can she?

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