OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Cuba has continued to provide educational institutions with resources such as laboratories for junior high schools, modules for technical education and language labs for pedagogical schools. Photo: Alberto Borrego

After reviewing the performance and results of the 2016-2017 academic year, Ena Elsa Velázquez Cobiella, minister of Education highlighted the “selfless and committed” work undertaken by Cuban teachers this year.

Over two days the Ministry of Education’s (Mined) Expanded Board of Directors analyzed issues linked to the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and Revolution approved during the Seventh Party Congress, as well as the fulfillment of objectives set out by the organization for the recently concluded school year.

“We started the school year in good condition, with material and financial resources guaranteed. It has been possible to continue providing our educational institutions with resources such as laboratories for junior high schools, modules for technical education, and language labs for pedagogical schools,” stated the Minister of Education.

She went on to talk about the work of cadres and students this past year: “I also want to acknowledge the Cuban family which has accompanied us this academic year, and who are aware of the need to contribute to the comprehensive development of our children, adolescents and young people; as well as students, who have also put in a lot of hard work this year, and related organizations, policies and governments,” stated Velázquez.

 

PEDAGOGICAL SCHOOLS

 

Advances in training middle school teachers, stemming from work linked to vocational pedagogical training, were also announced during the meeting.

There are currently over 20,000 students enrolled in the country’s 24 pedagogical schools, with another institution of this kind set to be opened in the province of Guantánamo, and a second in Havana, at the beginning of the 2017-2018 academic year.

During the Ministry of Education’s (Mined) Expanded Board of Directors meeting, Dr. Ena Elsa Velázquez Cobiella recognized teachers’ efforts during the 2016–2017 academic year. Photo: Yuliet Gutiérrez

“We should start this school year with 28,000 students enrolled in high school level teacher training programs. We will continue with the training of Technical-Vocational Education high school teachers and will begin preparing middle school teachers with 9th grade graduates. We will have 1,100 students this coming academic year,” stated the Minister, who went on to note that this year saw the first set of primary school English teachers graduate, all of whom were trained in pedagogical institutions.

 

A GREAT EFFORT

Given its importance, the third process of reforms to the national education system was also addressed. As early as next September the preliminary results in the elaboration of study plans, programs, methodological guidelines, and text books will be implemented.

“This is a task which requires a great effort, above all from us and the Central Institute of Pedagogical Sciences. The experiment will be implemented in all provinces, meaning that more work will be required during the 2017-2018 academic year to advance and achieve concrete results, which will later be generalized starting from the date which has been planned,” noted Velázquez.

Following the meeting, graduation ceremonies and end of year celebrations took place across educational institutions nationwide, during which outstanding teachers and students were recognized.

 

LAS TUNAS, MOST OUTSTANDING PROVINCE

 

For the fourth year in a row Las Tunas, located in the east of the country, was awarded the distinction of most outstanding province, which according to the territory’s director of Education, Nilcer Piñeda Cruz, is “thanks to the work of teachers, the family, students, and political and administrative authorities.”

The ministry decides who receives the honor based on school attendance and retention figures, learning outcomes, and examination results across all levels.

“Today, we are showing good results in school competitions, higher education entrance exams, the supply of resources, and maintenance of school building and study materials,” stated the official.

Teacher coverage in Las Tunas is stable, while work is underway to promote professional development at the postgraduate and university level, looking toward the 2017-2018 academic year. “This, in addition to patriotic and revolutionary sentiment, and the commitment of all educators to Fidel, is what has made such an achievement possible,” added Piñeda.

The provinces of Guantánamo, Camagüey and Santiago de Cuba were also recognized for their outstanding performance during the recently concluded school year, in addition to Cienfuegos, Pinar del Río, and La Habana.

Lastly, directors of Mined’s Educational Technology department presented distinctions to Cienfuegos and Holguín for their efforts supporting collaborative work across the network.