HAVANA TIMES – The Cuban school year 2016-2017 reached its final stage. When students return from Victory Week vacations (mid-April) they will face the final months of this stage which includes final exams, extra-curricular work, entrance exams and others.
In Cuba, every school year ends at the beginning of July and begins the first week of September. With its universal access, this is considered a conquest of the Revolution.
Few doubt the great amount of resources that the State allocates – according to the World Bank, our country is among the ones that invests more in Education, about 13 percent of its GDP – so that our children have access to an education of excellence, have uniforms , books and other school materials, teachers, as well as classrooms with acceptable conditions to receive the different subjects, and all without paying a cent.
But it is very unfortunate that after investing so much in one of the most important pillars for any society, the main objective of a quality education is not achieved for different reasons.
For any inhabitant of the island it is not a secret that in the midst of a fierce US blockade, which does exist, another internal one is also present. The latter often squanders resources or misuses them. It is increasingly difficult to find a school facility with the necessary conditions so the students are in a pleasant, clean, organized, painted, and clear environment.
To the common material difficulties of the current Cuban education is added the sacrifice of the majority of the parents. They must buy expensive uniforms (the ones that the state provides at a lower price aren’t enough), even more expensive shoes, materials to complement those that receive free for book covers and notebooks, snacks, lunches, and many other necessities related to daily school attendance.
Each year is a great challenge for parents, who not only have the difficult task of instilling in their children the best habits and habits to be good people, they also have to fill the gaps left by some teachers who are not well trained or simply have no interest in teaching.
But if all that has been said before is not enough, it is worth mentioning how rare it is today to find at a teacher who is an educator at heart and who enjoys being in front of the classroom.
The hard years of the special period have changed the Cuban mentality. The teaching staff, who have suffered the worst of a depressed economy (with insufficient wages and nothing to steal at work and sell as other workers do), are sometimes apathetic and, in the worst case, they may even mistreat their pupils.
No one knows for sure where we will end up with so many deprivations and deficiencies of all kinds, but what we are convinced is that something must be done with urgency so that Cuban education is again that necessary pillar, the educator of the new generations.