Wednesday, September 28, 2016

In Cuba, Education Is Free, but It Costs

In Cuba, Education Is Free, but It Costs
September 26, 2016
Mercedes Gonzales Amade

HAVANA TIMES — The summer came to an end and everybody began to get
ready for the new school year. Uniforms were being sold well in advance,
which is a very good thing because you can avoid the last minute rush.

The bad thing though is that for every school level, children in first
grade are only given two uniforms, second grade only receive one and
third grade don't get any. How can kids get by for five or six days of
the week, going in the morning and afternoon, with only two uniforms, in
a country as hot as ours? You have to turn to the black market, where
prices can go up to 150 pesos (7.5 USD).

My son has just started his pre-university course, quite a difficult
level and an age when young people show off a lot. I haven't been able
to get him extra uniforms on the black market because he needs a bigger
size than the ones they have, we'll see what happens… Not to mention
backpacks and their sky-rocket prices, not always of great quality
either. In order to be sure that it'll last your kids the entire
academic year, you need to bite the dust and buy a branded one: Adidas,
Nike… which cost well over 20 dollars each.

On the other hand, I've already hired tutors for his harder subjects;
because I don't want to go through what I did last year. If you add this
to the rest of the little things you need: book covers, notebooks,
school supplies… it's pretty much an impossible task for the pockets of
modest parents.

In Cuba, school education is free, and it's a very good thing that
everybody has access to it, but it's slowly becoming a hefty financial
dilemma. It's no secret that the children of families with financial
means have, like they had before, more opportunities to get a good level
of education and continue on to studying in university.

My duty and what I most want as a mother, is to give this "luxury" to my
son, if he wants it of course.

Source: In Cuba, Education Is Free, but It Costs - Havana -

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