Right in the middle of transformative and stimulating social and economic development, Cuba confirms the concept of scientific research as an essential element at the college level, making it one of the main factors in constructing Cuba's socialism model.
“Without the studies performed in these higher education centres that allow for the training of quality professionals, no one could talk about masters or doctorate level programs of excellence and of expanding the university.” said Dr. José Luis García Cuevas, Science and Technology Director for Cuba's Higher Education Ministry (MES in Spanish) to Cubaplus magazine.
“The purpose of university extension is to promote cultural development, technological upgrading, the expansion of the scientific research, preserve existing services and all elements geared towards strengthening the relationship between the university and society.” says García Cuevas.
All scientific research performed at Cuban universities have an impact on state priority programs such as food production, energy, rational use of water resources and improving the housing infrastructure.
Institutions such as the Las Villas Central University, in Villa Clara province, and the Oriente University, in Santiago de Cuba, have agricultural research centres that are working on how different technologies can be applied to the production of a variety of different seeds including rice, beans, sorghum and other crops.
Other institutions such as the José Antonio Echevarría Higher Polytechnic Institute (ISPJAE in Spanish) have a decisive weight on the national energy system optimization in regards to the distributed generation conditions which are badly needed for better use and energy saving programs in the country.
In studies of Cuban economy and society, universities play a key role. They are the most important bodies in the social sciences councils organized at provincial and national levels.
“A clear example of the latter are the demographic studies performed by the University of Havana with a primary role in the analysis of the internal migration phenomenon, the population pyramid and the country's aging population” mentioned García Cuevas.
“There are also studies performed on environment, water, soil and climate change, among many others,” he added. According to the senior official of the MES, the proposals made by researchers at the end of these studies are taken into account by the country's leadership and also have been gaining international exposure and recognition.
García Cuevas recalls that starting four years ago, Cuba put a greater emphasis on studies for Geophysics Engineering, a paramount specialty in the studies presently performed to determine the country's petroleum and mining potential.
“In higher education, there is a study being conducted with master's and doctoral degree programs' accreditation system, that follows assessment criteria harmonized with international standards. Many of the master's programs provided in Cuba are accredited for excellence, which is the maximum evaluation criteria” noted García Cuevas.
The Cuban University is a source from which springs much of the stimulus for the nation's economic growth and social development.