Education in Cuba-priority
By Mercedes Ramos, Photos: José (Tito) Meriño
For over five decades, Cuba has maintained one of the most comprehensive educational systems in the world, owing to the priority given to this important issue by the country’s authorities. It was agreed at the International Fair of Havana between the First Deputy Minister of Higher Education Dr. Rodolfo Falcón and the Director of Cubaplus Dominic Soave to have as Cubaplus content continuing articles on education.
Despite being a developing country, Cuba has an educational system that corresponds to a developed nation, thanks to the efforts and resources invested by the Cuban state in this sector, which envisages among its main priorities the satisfaction of one of the fundamental needs of the human being, declared Dr. Rodolfo Alarcón, First Deputy Minister of Higher Education.
In an exclusive interview with Cubaplus, Alarcón addressed various aspects connected with the Cuban educational system and said that in 1959 the education in the island was awful and there were over one million illiterates in a population of 6 million with just a few with access to it.
He explained that starting from the triumph of the Revolution in 1959 the country’s leadership gave a high priority to education, which meant dedicating substantial resources to education at the primary, secondary and university level.
Of course, he added, they had to work arduously so that all children have access to primary school. For this, it was necessary to train new teachers and to create an adequate infrastructure for achieving that objective.
Later, continued Alarcón, that multitude of children went to high school and then they needed to build more schools and train more teachers, which was also necessary at the university level.
As well, he said later on, in response to the confidence abroad in the education that we gave their students, there are many Cuban professionals working in many nations, especially Latin America, through contracts.
In addition to the scholarships that the country has always provided to students from nations that need them, the Cuban State offers the possibility for those wishing to pursue careers in our universities to do so through paying the corresponding fees.
That’s to say, he explained, those who wish to study a career or an undergraduate course, or for a semester, a year or for a graduate degree currently have the possibility of doing so.
Finally, he referred to the importance that is given to academic exchange and said that one example of this is Universidad 2012, an event to be held in Havana early next year.
Universidad 2012, he noted, is yet another expression of our passion for exchange, for sharing the knowledge we have acquired and to know and receive nourishment from the experiences of other countries.
Along with this policy, from the first years of the revolutionary government the ideal took shape of sharing what we had – not what was expendable – with those countries that needed it. Then foreign students began to arrive in Cuba from the high school to the university level to study in our centres.
In Cuba, over 30,000 foreign students have graduated from the higher level, while another 30,000 are currently studying in our universities, he noted.