Acronyms 3 Mission Context and Background 5

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4. University: Summary qualitative appraisal


Foundation, developmental milestones, management structure

History: The University of Havana was founded January 5th, 1728, by Pontifical Resolution, in San Juan de Letrán Convent; it is the most important academic institution of the country in its contribution and participation in scientific, cultural, and political life. Its leading role in relevant events makes it an inseparable part of the nation´s history. Its patriotic humanistic and scientific tradition sustains the continuous formation of high level professionals in the fields of social sciences, natural, exact, and economic sciences, committed to the development of Cuban socialist society. The image of the University of Havana is strongly associated to National Culture. It is, to a great extent, the image of Cuban higher education. Its historic and symbolic strength gets to reproduce itself daily in the political, cultural, educational and academic space in which the university performs every day, also in direct contact with those tasks that allow the development of Cuban society. Because of its Professional, Postgraduate and Management Formation scope, as well as Research and Extension activities, all of it from the perspective of present higher education universalization, the University plays a significant role, not only in Havana City, but in all of the country as well. The University of Havana is a National University. Also, its community and local scope, its close relationship with political, cultural and academic institutions of the capital city, bestows it a special place in the capital city´s context.

The UH has suffered multiple transformations, being the most important the one which took place in 1962 with the passing of the Reform Law, which granted full access to university studies, without considering race, sex, and social condition; and it also defined the University Government structures. At that very moment five faculties remained: Technology, Sciences, Humanities, Medical Sciences, and Agrarian Sciences, and within them a total of 24 schools. Considering the country´s need for development, the faculties’ structures shifted, from various schools wide conception, to a more specialized concept of the former, in terms of disciplines; so at present the university has 18 faculties. Independent research centres were also created in order to encourage this activity, at present there are 15.The senior management structure of the UH is as follows: Chancellor, Academic Vice Chancellor, Research and Postgraduate Studies Vice Chancellor, Interinstitutional Relations Vice Chancellor, Universalization Vice Chancellor, Service Vice Chancellor and Economic Vice Chancellor. There is a Direction Council, made up by deans of the faculties, directors of research centres and directors of the administrative structure. There is a Scientific University Council performing advisory functions, the Council is appointed through election and has a representative in each faculty and research centre. There is a Central Library and a library network in all faculties and research centres. A Main Archive which preserves the university´s registered patrimony.


National position, leadership areas, most proud achievement

UH is a leader in many investigation topics in the country UH exhibits scientific leadership in Natural and Exact Sciences, Economic, Social, and Humanities areas. Since the Cuban Higher Education System is based on one - Curricula program for all academic undergraduate careers, and UH is the leading centre in the field of Natural and Exact Sciences for undergraduate and most graduate (master and PhD) programs, the support it will receive will straight forwardly have a multiplying effect in the whole national university system. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that these actions are always based on mutual benefit cooperation. Nearly 50 % of the staff has fulfilled PhD degrees, which will allow a rapid assimilation of the cooperation actions and their derivatives, hence leading to very short terms results In 2010, the UH was awarded 23 Cuban Academy of Sciences prizes, which represent 34,3 % of the total number of the ones awarded; they are the most scientific relevant ones in the country. Furthermore, this year, UH published 1 527 papers (1,47 per person), 453 in Data Base magazines (0,39 per person), and 210 ion Web of Science (0,18 per person). The UH commitment rises its importance regarding its local, provincial and national performance, so a higher integration in all spheres of society is expected.


Relationship with stakeholders (authorities, civil society, industry etc.)

Relationship with the authorities: The UH has friendly relationships with local, provincial and national government structures. The relationship with the Government of Havana City is excellent and is determined by the UH participation in the provincial Management Council Advisory Group, made up by different specialties professors. This has made possible the leading and control of officials and substitutes preparation and training, either professionals, as well as non-professionals. Furthermore, the UH has provided counselling, in terms of Strategic Planning and Objectives Directions to nineteen OACE´s (Institutions of Central State Administration); to Branch Schools in identifying learning needs and in training programs design; several comprehensive consultancies have been performed in different administrative institutions of the Provincial Government; due to its performance this governmental structure has awarded the UH in multiple occasions. Provincial and national authorities often request UH to carry out evaluation and policy research studies.


Self assessment of research and publication ability and output

Indicators used to rank the universities in the country in terms of research output are good in UH. In 2010, the UH was awarded 23 Cuban Academy of Sciences prizes, which represent 34,3 % of the total number of the ones awarded; they are the most scientific relevant ones in the country. Furthermore, this year, UH published 1 527 papers (1,47 per person), 453 in Data Base magazines (0,39 per person), and 210 ion Web of Science (0,18 per person). These constitute high indicators in comparison with the rest of the universities in the country, but do not express the real potentials that UH has. The results are in many cases an expression of the international collaboration, through joint investigations which are carried out, as well as PhD thesis and other activities that allow excellent results, especially in the fields of natural and exact sciences. 57% of monographs correspond to these sciences, and 64% of published books come from social and economic sciences.


Institutional strengths

UH exhibits one of the most important historic and cultural legacy of the country, it also has tradition and prestige, as well as the capacity to nucleate the rest of the universities of the nation, since it has been the Alma Mater of Cuban higher education. UH has a large experience in the context of international relations, taking part in 43 cooperation networks and more than 170 international projects in different modalities. In all cases, honesty and transparency has featured the participation. It is remarkable that a number of actions are carried out with Latin American and Caribbean Countries; with particular relevance in the graduate studies field. UH has close relations with the government, the political organizations, and all Institutions that make up the State Central Administration (denoted by OACE), as well as with all kinds of institutions that operate in the country. For these reasons, it has always received their support for the actions towards achieving its academic goals. Currently UH, aside from the main campus, has an Unit in each of the 6 municipalities of Havana City, being this a decisive factor in getting support from the local organizations. Besides, there is a substantial incorporation of part-time professionals to the University Staff, which definitely contributes to the understanding on what actions should be carried out to reach local development and impact.


Institutional weaknesses

1. The old age of the staff most qualified segment is currently the anger for the preservation of the academic excellence reached in most University areas.

2. The scientific literature is insufficient and not updated, the informatization and connectivity networks are deficient, as well as the Internet access.

3. The current resources and facilities for the development of high – quality state of the art research in the field of Natural and Exact Sciences are few and mostly old, representing drawbacks for accomplishing standards in top scientific journals and PhD thesis of excellence. Today, most of the best research results achieved are thanks to the international cooperation, and are performed outside the country, which of course does not allow a development of the University areas in correspondence to their high scientific potential and consequently the results are of much lower impact than they could be.

5. University: Summary qualitative appraisal

5.1 Budget

% Government funded


VLIR budget as %


Trend, quality of funding


Higher education in the country is completely free for all students in any type of teaching; books are also free as well as tuition. Scholarships are awarded for those students of less income, at present, 37% of Cuban students have scholarships, and the great majority of them come to Havana City as the career they have chosen is only studied at UH.

5.2 Staffing situation


Total # staff


Total # academic staff

3684 (1787 Full time)


% female academic staff



% open vacancies



# Ph.D. Holders on staff



Staff-student ratio

The student-staff ratio is approximately 27.7/1 professor.


Teaching load

The average teaching load per professor varies between 15 – 20% of work time in science faculties and 20 -30% in social and economic faculties.


Staff turn-over

The staff has stability


Remarks staffing

The old age of the staff most qualified segment, is currently the anger for the preservation of the academic excellence reached in most University areas, but we have also young researchers that are a guaranty of the staff turn- over

5.3 Student body


Total # students



% female students

69.2 %



The tendency in full time courses is a discreet, though progressive, rise of students, while in workers part time courses there is a more significant decrease due to the possibility of studying in municipality units.


Remarks (distance education etc.)

5.4 Strategic plan


Strategic plan



Time coverage

Every three years

5.5 Education offered

Social Sciences

Exact Sciences

Biomedical sciences


Bachelor (# programmes and # students)

25 Programmes

11 Programmes


Master (# programmes and # students)

50 programmes

20 programmes

5 programmes


Ph.D. (# programmes and # students)

7 programmes

16 programmes


Remarks (part time, distance etc.)

6. VLIR-UOS contact persons (meeting and/or for future communication)

6.1 Contact person 1


Family name + First name

Dr. Cristina Díaz López


Contact details

Postal address: Colina Universitaria, calles L y San Lázaro, Vedado, La Habana, Cuba 10400.

Phone number: (53 7) 878 62 00 / (53 7) 879 8450




Academic position

Vice-Rector for Interinstitutional Relations.



PhD. Chemical Sciences, Full Professor/Female


Prior contacts with Belgium/Belgian actors


VLIR-UOS history


Remarks, agreement future communication

6.2 Contact person 2


Family name + First name

Dr. Lourdes Alicia Díaz Fernández


Contact details

Postal address: Calle J No 566 e/ 25 y 27. Vedado, La Habana

Phone number: (53 7) 878 62 00 / (53 7) 879 8450




Academic position

Director of International Relations



PhD. Chemical Sciences, Full Professor/Female


Prior contacts with Belgium/Belgian actors


VLIR-UOS history


Remarks, agreement future communication

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