Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cuba Always Skimps on Resources for Education and Teachers / Dora Leonor Mesa

Cuba Always Skimps on Resources for Education and Teachers / Dora Leonor
Dora Leonor Mesa, Translator: Unstated

It is my duty to refute the following public statements: "Cuba does not
spare resources for Education" (Juventud Rebelde, August 26, 2011. Print
Edition), "… is an education (Cuban) that has been developed in constant
conflict with the aggressive policy of the United States …" (Juventud
Rebelde, October 19, 2011. Print edition). I just want to point out some
ways to not make too long a list where the keywords are lack and scarcity:

1. 45% of Cuban schools have no telephones. Cuban firms and companies
that have abundant hard currency, such as ETECSA, the phone company, do
not have plans to support the Ministry of Education.

2. Most Cuban teachers and professors do not have media technologies
such as flash drives and computers, which in addition were banned for
years, with private purchase prohibited.

3. Much of the current Cuban teacher technology training suffers from
the need to share knowledge successfully with education professionals
from other countries.

4. As officials from the Ministry of Education(MINED) have publicly
stated on Cubaeduca websites and online Cuban newspapers Cuban, the
schools have computers at a ratio of 1 to 20 students.

5. The school technology available is obsolete and scarce.

6. Schools do not have internet access and those that have it, have a
very narrow bandwidth, controlled by censorship.

Some seek to attribute the educational disaster to the U.S. embargo and
the Ministry of Education. Something like the famous phrase: "The fault
of all lies with all." Maybe I should say "the alls" …

Although the current Cuban education is going through a crisis,
defending the criteria that give Cuba a prestigious reputation for its
education system. However, it doesn't merit it, I believe, the
availability of resources for many years have been insufficient. The
real perpetrators and promoters of the successes have been, in large
part, the Cuban teachers have done wonders out of nothing.

We must also mention the ex-president Fidel Castro, with his charismatic
and populist leadership… and unquestionably highlight the contribution
of books and consultants who come from countries like East Germany and
the Soviet Union, possessing a vast cultural and scientific culture,
both formed by world-class names as Mendeleyev, Pavlov, Koch … This
influence benefited, there is no reason to deny it, Cuban pedagogy,
which in all ages, has always been attentive to the progress and
pedagogical innovations.

In this small island, a notable Cuban personality says with good reason:
Here prosperity is demonized. When a teacher or teacher have several
resources for their classes, they will face, first of all, questions
about how they come to have them.

Research confirms that talented teachers give more importance to good
working conditions than to salary (Protheroe, N., Principal's Research
review, vol. 6 Issue 1, 2011). Surveys show the unquestionable impact of
good working conditions in the high retention and recruitment of new

Just 50 years ago any Latin American country was much richer than South
Korea. According to the UN today South Korea has higher income per
capita than any of them. The secret lies in a high quality education system.

Cuba has been living in the XXI century for a decade. You can not go
back to prehistory, dinosaurs disappeared, Cuba was declared more than
four decades ago "Territory Free of Illiteracy". Am I wrong?

October 28 2011

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