In 2013 Cuban universities began a process of integration aimed at combining all higher education establishments, with the exception of Medical Sciences faculties, within a new multi-disciplinary provincial institution.
Although the process - implemented in various stages - only began relatively recently, results have already been seen. For example, 15 institutions of higher learning were integrated between 2013 and 2015, while 2016 saw a similar number undergo the same process in Havana, where it has been particularly difficult to integrate certain structures.
According to information provided by Dr. José Ramón Saborido Loidi, minister of Higher Education, the capital’s higher institutes of Technology and Applied Sciences, as well as Design are being integrated into the University of Havana.
Likewise, the Universities of Pedagogical Sciences, and of Physical Culture and Sports Science now come under the umbrella of the Ministry of Higher Education (MES).
Meanwhile, the University of the Arts, and Higher Institute of International Relations continue to be attached to the ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs, respectively.
In this sense Dr. Saborido Loidi stated, “This integration processes is enhancing universities’ internal strengthens, their interaction with society and region, and enabling higher education to have a greater impact on social-economic development.”
He also went on to note, “The aim is to make management more effective and perfect universities’ internal channels of association, and those with the region.”
LOOKING TOWARD THE NEXT FOUR YEARS
Since the integration process began a notable rise has been seen in the quality of the teaching-learning process, as well as improvements to professional training and development, and postgraduate programs; while staff have also benefitted from methodological work and pedagogical preparation.
Not satisfied with these positive results, the Ministry of Higher Education has designed a strategic plan through 2021, focusing on consolidating the internal integration process and perfecting four year part-time courses, offered via distance learning programs.
Looking toward the next four years, higher education institutions will continue to work to uphold their key principle of training increasingly skilled professionals, with a strong commitment to the Revolution.
In order to do so, according to Dr. Saborido Loidi, “Access to higher education must increase and be diversified with the greatest social justice in accordance with national and territorial needs, the quality of academic efficiency raised, more higher education short courses developed, and the undergraduate-employment-postgraduate chain improved.”
Training more doctors, supporting and meeting the development need of professionals; expanding research and development results, and supporting the excellent to work of teaching staff in order to achieve even better results, are all also part of the 2017-2021 plan.
According to Dr. Saborido, universities are gradually aligning themselves with the country’s strategic socio-economic and development guidelines through 2030 while also moving toward becoming institutions with sustainable, human, and modern scientific-technological development, integrated throughout society, the regions and communities; and committed to the development of a progressive social project.