The cuban education system

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14 Although the virtues of volunteer initiatives are evident, the tendency for volunteer efforts to become coercive often leads to a double public-private standard, challenging the stability and sustainability of the political and social project.
15 The Student Assembly (Asamblea de Estudiantes), operating in every class, elects a president, integrates a parets’ delegate and operates under the guidance of a “guiding teacher” (profesor guia). Parents Councils (Consejos de Padres), composed of parents’ representatives from each classroom, elect a president and prepare a plan of action. The Parents’ Council is part of the School Council (Consejo de Direccion)”. The function of the “Council Addressing Minors” (Consejo de Atención a Menores) (CAM) is to advise the director on issues related to children exhibiting so called “deviant behavior.” The CAM is composed of the vice president of the municipal government, representatives from political mass organizations such as the Revolutionary Defense Councils (Consejos de Defensa de la Revolucion, CDR), the Women’s Federation (Federacion de Mujeres Cubanas), the Young Communist Union (Union de Jovenes Comunistas), the president of the Pioneers (Pioneros), the representative of the Communist Party, the person responsible for education in the municipality, three persons responsible for education in the school, one responsible for the Ministry of Interior, the representative of the Union and a representative of the students. A School Council (Consejo de Escuela) is composed of parents representatives and representatives of mass organizations, with the responsibility of advising the school director. The Consejo de Escuela organizes the Escuela de Padres, the Parents’ School, which prepares parents to educate their children. For example, when the set theory (conjuntos) was introduced to teach mathematics, parents who had been taught with a traditional approach were trained in the new teaching methodology to enable them to assist their children.The Study Homes (Casas de estudio) are homes where parents have the cultural background and time to host and support groups of students in their homes.

16 Giving children productive responsibilities, a typical educational feature of pre-literate agrarian societies, is usually lost in western schools, which traditionally deposit all authority and responsibility with teachers and encourage passive attitudes on the part of students. Japan, a non-western industrialized country, maintains a strong tradition of active student participation in all aspects of school life, though not in production.

17 Cuba’s centrally-planned strategy to promote relocation of rural dispersed communities is reminiscent of similar strategies adopted by socialist countries such as the “ujama” in Tanzania, or the “aldeias comunais,” in Mozambique, raising issues of human rights and sustainability in an open-market economy.

18 Jo Ritzen, 1999.

19 The data in this paragraph where rely on Ms Ileana Musibay presentation on special education at IPLAC during the study tour.

20 SIRI, regional Information System, “Santiago,1996, quoted.

21 World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality: The Salamanca Statement and framework for action on Special Needs Education, Spain 7-10 June 1994

22 Lavinia Gasperini, Il rapporto tra studio e lavoro nella problematica educativa cubana, Universita’ degli Studi di Roma, Facolta’ di Filosofia, Cattedra di Pedagogia, Roma, Dissertation thesis, 1975; Lavinia Gasperini, Scuola e lavoro in Cuba socialista, Scuola e Citta’, N. 4 1976, La Nuova Italia, Roma; Lavinia Gasperini, Recenti innovazioni nel sistema educativo cubano, Scuola e Citta’ n.1, gennaio 1977, La Nuova Italia, Roma.

23 Discurso pronunciado por el Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz en el acto de inaguracion de numerosa construciones escolares para el curso 1973-74, efectuado en el Instituto Tecnologico de Electronica “Educardo garcia delgado” en la region de Boyeros, la Habana, el dia 22 de octubre 1973, Education, n. 11, otubre-diciembre 1973.

24 Claudio de Moura Castro, Ugly Schools,Good Schools? Notes from the Education Unit, Sustainable Development Department, IDB, 28 July 1999.

25 The Escuela Ciudad Libertad has 757 students in pre-primary, 2,850 students in primary, 402 in special education, 1,840 in secondary levels. Of 381 teachers, 197 are graduates, 90 are not graduates, and 94 are pedagogical assistants (auxiliares pedagogicos), which means students in the pedagogical faculty preparing for their degrees and assisting the teachers as part of their pedagogical practice. The school employs 220 non-teaching personnel. Primary school teachers follow the same students for 4 years.

26 As the social cohesion function of education is increasingly recognized as crucial for formation of human capital and human development, issues such as global education, multicultural or intercultural education, values education, education for peace and mutual understanding, education for democracy and social cohesion, and human rights education are becoming increasingly important aspects of the curriculum in many countries. During the last 20 years UNESCO, UNICEF, the European Union and many governments have promoted projects to develop these social dimensions of education, as alternatives to the obsolete “civic education” or the dogmatic transmission of religious and political principles and values. Just a few examples from very different parts of the world: UNESCO Principal regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (APNIEVE), Bangkok, Learning to live together in peace and harmony, values education for Peace, Human Rights, Democracy and Sustainable development for the Asia-Pacific Region, UNESCO APNIEVE 1998; Educators for Social Responsibility, Uma educaçào do Coração: orientações curriculares para a aprendizagem Social e Emocional, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasi, 1997; Norman Richardson, ,Northern Ireland, Education for Mutual Understanding and Cultural Heritage, Belfast, 1998; Ministerio de education de El Salvador, Derechos, deberes y libertades de los niños y niñas , El Salvador 1997..

27 The teaching of values education as a separate subject diverges from the consensus in the international education community that the teaching and learning of values should permeate every discipline and not be a separate subject since values are best learned by students living in a democratic and cooperative classroom and school environment.

28 Leiner, M, Cuba’s schools: 25 years later, in Halebsky, S. and Kirk, J.M. (eds.) Cuba: Twenty-five Years of Revolution, 1959-1984, New York, Praeger 1985.

29 In this and following paragraphs, the information concerning the organization and structure of the Cuban Education system we are referring to is drawn from the following sources: 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; Pedagogia 99, “La educacion en Cuba, encuentro por la unidad de los educadores latinoamericanos,” 1/5 febrero 1999 La Habana;

30 Pedagogia 99, “La educacion en Cuba, encuentro por la unidad de los educadores latinoamericanos,” 1/5 febrero 1999 La Habana

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