Only Education Can Save the World, Says Cuban President

Campaign News | Tuesday, 7 September 2004

Fidel opens new school year

Havana, Sept 6: Cuban President Fidel Castro said he is convinced that education is the only solution to save the world.

The leader of the revolution addressed participants Monday at the official ceremony to mark the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year held at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater.

At the nationally televised event, Fidel Castro cited statistics released by international agencies that confirm the success of the Cuban education system, which provides the entire population with free access to all levels of education.

The Cuban President stressed that the island’s net schooling

rate has reached 100 percent, similar to that of highly developed nations such as Canada, Spain, Japan, The U.K. and Italy. The Cuban indicator, said Fidel Castro, is higher than those of the United States (93 percent) and Germany (83).

Cuba also ranks alongside Germany, Denmark, Finland, Japan and Norway as the only countries where all children reach the fifth grade, he noted.

Fidel Castro said Cuba is privileged to have a television set in every classroom, two educational TV channels and over 200 computer software programs to teach different subjects with a pedagogical approach.

The island has been recognized for possessing the lowest teacher-student ratio, said President Castro, as he recalled some of the island’s significant achievements, such as the

existence of more than 900 community-based municipal university


The Cuban President stressed that this year Cuba guarantees further studies for 161,318 students who have concluded their ninth grade, of whom 90,232 or 55.9 percent are enrolled in

senior high schools, while 71,086 or 44.1 percent will continue

their studies at technical schools.

Fidel Castro referred to the experience of the final quarter of

the last school year, when 646 TV sets (29-inch) along with 489

videocassette recorders were distributed at boarding schools in

rural Havana province.

He explained that videocassettes began to be used to help teach

Math, Spanish and History and said the initiative has yielded

successful results in the students’ motivation, discipline and

dedication to their studies, as well as in the satisfaction expressed by their families.

President Castro said that during the current school year important transformations would take place at the country’s senior high schools.

He announced the allocation of 4,879 TV sets with 29-inch displays and over 3,300 new videocassette players for all classrooms in the country’s 374 pre-university schools as well as at sports and arts schools.

Fidel said senior high school classes would have at most 30 students with a multi-discipline teacher, who will lead the teaching of all subjects and will be in charge of the formation

of his or her pupils.

He underscored the upcoming implementation of new computer

programs, which include the use of one PC for every 42 students to intensify the use of software programs for all subjects.

Fidel Castro said class hours will be extended for important subjects such as Math and Spanish. Headded that 12th grade will now be more flexible according to the higher education courses students are interested in.

The Cuban President said the practice to develop pre-university schools in the countryside whereby students combine studies with agricultural work would continue. However, he said the farm work will be reduced to three days a week, and three hours a day.

Those schools are being provided with all the resources and conditions, said Fidel Castro, who added that the strategy is designed to turn all pre-university schools into pedagogical

centers of exact sciences.

In that respect, the leader of the Cuban revolution said there is no room for differences in terms of thequality of education between vocational schools of exact sciences and the rest of the educational centers in that field.

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