The cuban education system



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STRUCTURE OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM




The Cuban education System is articulated around the following sub-systems (see Annex 3 chart):29

a. Pre school education

b. General, Polytechnical and Labor Education

c. Special Education

d. Training and Improvement of the Pedagogical Staff

e. Technical and Vocational Education

f. Adult Education



g. Higher Education
Our study tour addressed General, Polytechnical and Labor Education and Special Education with a presentation at IPLAC and site visit, while Pre-School Education, Training and Improvement of the pedagogical staff, Technical and Vocational Education and Adult Education were addressed by an exposition at IPLAC. Higher Education was addressed only in relation with teacher training thus is not addressed here.The subsystem of Training and Improvement of the Pedagogical Staff is not described here because extensively addressed in the main text.
a. Preschool Education Subsystem
Preschool education is not compulsory and is directed to children aged 6 months to 5 years. Preschool education consists of three main components:

  • Day care centers, (about 1156 in 1994) for children between 6 months and 5 years of age. Some Day care centers might also include Preschool grades.




  • Preschool preparatory grades for 5 to 6 year olds.

  • Non-formal preschool education for children who do not attend educational institutions, with the assistance of parents and the community. Non-formal preschool is based on household education (from 0 to 2 years of age) and non-formal groups in parks, nearby sites, etc, for children aged 2 to 4. A special program was created to prepare parents to educate children that do attend non-formal preschool education.

b. General, Polytechnical and Labor Education Subsystem
This subsystem (a total of 12 levels) encompasses Primary Education and General Intermediate education.

  • Primary education, for 6 to 11 year-olds. It covers six grades and is divided in the First cycle (from 1st to 4th grade) and the Second cycle (form 5th to 6th). Primary schools in 1998 were 8,905, of which about 25% urban and the rest rural. A retention rate about of 99% and an enrollment rate above 100% grant universalization of primary school30. Primary education extends throughout 200 working days and is divided into 4 class periods, 10 weeks each, accounting for 40 weeks, 3 intermediate non-teaching periods, one week each, at the end of the first three class periods, and one week and 3 days for final examinations.

  • General Intermediate education is divided in two levels: Basic Secondary Education for 12 to 15 years olds (from 7th to 9th, ) which completes basic education and defines the compulsory education, and Pre-University, for 15 to 18 years olds(from 10th to 12th grade). Pre-university is not compulsory, but is free. The school calendar varies in accordance with the type of center and the time span of the productive activity. ESBEC holds 42 weeks devoted to classes and 3 weeks and 3 days for final examinations. ESBEC holds 7 weeks of work in the countryside, 35 weeks for classes, while ESBU holds 5 weeks of work in the countryside, 37 weeks for classes and 3 weeks and three days for final examinations. Basic secondary studies are taught in Urban Secondary School (ESBU and Secondary School in the Countryside (ESBEC), the latter holding a full boarding system, and were considered until recently as one of the main achievements of the Cuban education system because of the combination of work and study. Pre-University studies are held in Urban Pre-university Institutes (IPUs) and in the Pre-university Institutes in the Countryside (IPUEC), the latter having the same system of the ESBEC. There are also other pre-university institutes such as the Vocational Preuniversity Institutes of Exact Sciences for students with outstanding academic records.

c. Special Education:

  • Special Education operates in the Preschool subsystem, in Primary and Intermediate Education and by Diagnosis and Guidance centers. These last ones are provincial settings endowed with multidisciplinary specialist teams that determine which children need to receive this type of education. Some of the centers are transitory because children will attend them only until correcting the problem for which they were admitted. Education centers are classified according with the type of impairment there are addressing. These impairments are: behavior disorders, blindness and low vision, deafness and speech impediments, language disorders, psychological disorders, psychic development handicap, and mental disability or deviant behavior (disturbios del comportamiento). Some concern arises specifically about the diagnosis of “behavior deviance” that can turn into an early segregation and condemnation of young persons that do not to adapt the prevailing socio-political ethos.

Technical and vocational education, and adult education subsystems

  • The Technical and Vocational Education (TVE) subsystem is responsible for meeting the nation’s needs for a trained and skilled labor force and is intended for grade 10-12 graduates. According to Prof. Aragon, who conduced one of the sessions of IPLAC seminar, about 50% of the students who complete grade 9 enter technical and vocational training since the preparation of a productive working class is the main objective of the system. According to the official statements, this centrally-planned decision reflects the political choice to consolidate a state based on industrial and agricultural manpower. About 140,000 students and 22,000 teachers are presently in Technical and Vocational Education (TVE), which starts after nine years of general education and foresees two years of training for qualified workers and three to four years for intermediate technicians.

  • The Adult Education Subsystem is structured according to the following levels: worker-farmer elementary education (Educacion Obrera y Campesina, EOC): elementary or primary education, with four semester; worker farmer secondary education (Escuela Secundaria Obrera y Campesina, SOC): basic secondary level, with four semesters; worker-farmer pre-university education (Facultad Obrera y Campesina, FOC): higher secondary level, with six semesters. The “Escuelas de Oficios” preparing qualified workers, (obreros calificados) enroll students with school delay. A significant part of the training is done by the enterprises.



Graphic of the Cuban National Education System


Annex 3
Statistical data


CUBA: DATA ON EDUCATION




1989-

90

1990-

91

1991-

92

1992-

93

1993-

94

1994-

95

1995-

96

1996-

97

1997-

98

Enrollment 0–5 years of age




28.8

26.4

27.9

28.6

79.2

87.9

96.1

98.0

Enrollment 0-16 years of age




92.2

91.7

91.0

91.8

91.5

92.6

93.5

94.2

% of Age Grade Distortion

Primary


Basic Secondary Education

Pre-University


5.5


9.4

2.8

4.3

8.1


2.4

3.2


8.1

2.7

3.2

5.9


0.8

2.3


5.0

0.7

2.3

3.8


2.3

2.3


3.9

1.5

2.4

3.5


0.9

2.5


3.7

0.9


% of Repeaters

Primary


Basic Secondary Education

Pre-University


3.6


3.0

2.0

2.6

2.9


2.3

2.7


3.3

1.8

3.1

3.4


1.3

3.0


3.2

0.8

2.8

3.3


1.1

3.2


4.1

1.4

2.6

2.7


1.4

1.9


2.8

1.8


% of GNP designated to Education


8.5

8.9

9.5

10.8

10.4

10.3

10.0

10.0


Percentage distribution of expenditure according to grade

Preschool

1st Grade

2nd grade

3rd Grade

Other



7.4


18.2

39.0


14.4

21.0


7.8


19.3

37.2


15.2

20.5


8.0


20.9

35.4


16.1

19.6


8.3


22.2

35.1


15.9

18.5


8.0


23.3

34.9


15.7

18.1


8.0


24.6

32.5


14.9

20.0






% Teachers with University Degree in Secondary Education

65.0

71.0

79.4

83.9

86.9

90.8

92.4

93.5

94.6


Percent structure of Tuition

Primary


Basic Secondary Education

Higher Education


40

48



12

41

47



12

44

44



12

48

41



11

52

39



9

54

38



8

55

38



7

55

38



7

54

40



6

Source: Ministry of Education in Cuba, 1999



Annex 4
CURRICULUM FOR GENERAL & MIDDLE SCHOOL EDUCATION

(TOTAL OF HOURS/GRADES). 1995-96


CLASS

7th

8th

9th

Total

10th

11th

12th

Total

Grand Total

Mathematics

140

140

180

460

180

180

162

522

982

Spanish/ Literature

150

140

140

430

100

100

112

312

742

History

70

120

120

310

140

30

36

206

516

Geography

100

120

30

250

100

-

-

100

350

Foreign Language

120

120

120

360

120

120

114

354

714

Physics




70

100

170

110

140

56

306

476

Chemistry




70

70

140

100

100

72

272

412

Biology

70

70

70

210

-

100

56

156

366

Values Education

-

-

60

60

-

-

-

-

60

Marxism

/Leninism Fundamentals

-

-

-

-

-

60

76

136

136


Computers

-

-

-

-

70

70

30

170

170

Labor education

140

70

70

280

-

-

-

-

280

Physical Education

70

70

70

120

70

70

66

206

416


Artistic Education

70

-

-

70

-

-

-

-

70


Military/ Initial Preparation

-

-

-

-

35

35

39

109

109


Totals

930

990

1030

2950

1025

1005

819

2849

5799

Source: Ministry of Education, Report of the Republic of Cuba for the 45th International Conference on Public Education, Organization of Education 1994-1996, Havana, Cuba, 1997
CURRICULA FOR PRIMARY EDUCATION

(TOTAL OF HOURS/GRADES) 1995-96


Class

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

Total

Mathematics

200

200

200

200

200

200

1200

Spanish

400

400

400

400

240

240

2080

History

-

-

-

-

80

80

160

Geography

-

-

-

-

-

80

80

Foreign Language

-

-

-

-

-

120

120

Natural Sciences

-

-

-

-

120

80

200

Values Education

-

-

-

-

80

-

80

The world in which we live

40

40

40

40







160

Labor education

80

80

80

80

80

80

480

Physical Education

120

120

120

120

80

80

640

Artistic Education

80

80

80

80

80

80

480

Total

920

920

920

920

960

1040

5680

Source: Ministry of Education, Report of the Republic of Cuba for the 45th International Conference on Public Education, Organization of Education 1994-1996, Havana, Cuba, 1997


Annex 5


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1 UNESCO/OREALC Laboratorio Latinoamericano de evaluación de la Calidad de la Educación, Primer Estudio Internacional Comparativo sobre Lenguaje, Matemática y Factores Asociados en Tercero y Cuarto grado, UNESCO, Santiago, 1998.

2 UNESCO/OREALC Laboratorio Latinoamericano de evaluación de la Calidad de la Educación, Primer Estudio Internacional Comparativo sobre Lenguaje, Matemática y Factores Asociados en Tercero y Cuarto grado, UNESCO, Santiago, 1998.

3 UNESCO, SIRI, Regional Information System, “The State of Education in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1980-94, Major project of education”, UNESCO, Santiago, Chile, 1996, UNESCO/OREALC 1998. For research on the reliability of Cuban government statistics, see Benigno E Aguirre and Roberto J. Vichot, The Reliability of Cuba’s Education Statistics, Comparative Education Review, May 1998.

4 Annex 3 presents data provided by the Cuban Ministry of Education to participants in the Study Tour.

5 UNESCO, SIRI, 1996, p.223.

6 E. Martin and Y.F. Faxas, Cuba, in: T. Nelville Postlethwaite, National Systems of Education, Pergamon.

7 An exhaustive analytical literature describes the Cuban System in detail as well as the debate among its partisans and detractors (see, for example, Sheryl L. Lutjens, Education and the Cuban revolution, A selected bibliography, Comparative Education Review, Pergamon Press, May 1998). These will not be discussed in this paper, although a brief description of the system is available in Annex 2.

8 Ministry of Education, Cuba Organization of Education, 1994-6. Report of the Republic of Cuba to the 45the International Conference on Public Education” Havana 1996 p.1.

9 Jo Ritzen, Looking for Eagles; A Short Guide to Bird Watching in an Educational Context. World Bank. Washington 1999.

10 Jo Ritzen, 1999.

11 See, for example: Mario A Manacorda, Il Marxismo e l’educazione,, vol I, II, e III, Armando, Rome, 1966; Mario A Manacorda, Marx e la Pedagogia Moderna, Editori Riuniti, Rome 1996; Castles, S & Wustemberg W, The Education of the Future. An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Socialist Education, Pluto Press, London 1979; Dietrich Theo, La pedagogie socialiste: fondements et conceptions, Maspero, Paris, 1973; Dommaget Maurice, Les grand socialistes et l’education, Colin, Paris, 1970; Lê Thán Khôi, Les idees de Marxs sur l’education, Paris, Revue de l’Education Internationale et Compareé, Barcelone, n.1,1987; Lavinia Gasperini, L’uomo nuovo come obbiettivo del sistema educativo del Mozambico, Politica Internazionale, La Nuova Italia, Rome, n.10, October 1980.

12 Gaspar Garcia Gallo, Bosquejo general del desarollo de la education en Cuba, Education, n.14, julio, setiembro 1974, p. 62.

13 Claudio de Moura Castro, 1999.
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