Chinese language to be taught in Cuban schools

The governments of Cuba and China signed this Monday in Havana a bilateral exchange agreement in the area of ​​ early childhood, special, and technical and professional education.

Cuba agreed to enhance the teaching of the Chinese language in selected junior high schools, to which the Ministry of Education of the Asian country will provide teachers, bibliography, equipment and materials, the state-run Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) news agency reported.

The new collaboration also includes China’s granting of some 200 annual places for the island’s students attached to the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, and educational centers.

The agreement, which came into effect as of its signature and for a period of two years, will include the bilateral exchange of information on institutions, teaching, research and pedagogical materials, as well as joint tasks of delegations and research groups.

Cuban Minister of Education Ena Elsa Velázquez expressed her government’s interest in strengthening collaboration in various areas of work and levels of education.

Velázquez gave the Chinese delegation, headed by Deputy Minister of Education Zheng Fuzhi, an explanation of the priority programs developed by the island’s educational system. Among them, she referred to the one that seeks to improve the quality of education at each level, with special attention to the History of Cuba subject, and the participation of families and the community in educational processes.

For his part, the Chinese deputy minister stressed the importance of consolidating basic education as a guarantee for the rest of the levels, and expressed his wish to learn about the subjects taught in Cuban schools, and about the organization of curricula.

His Cuban counterpart, Eugenio González, explained that this agreement opens up new opportunities in the curricular, organizational and technological order of the sector, which are expected to have an impact on the quality of education in both nations.

Cuba and China maintain close bilateral relations, in which the Asian country stands out as one of the main allies, the island’s second trade partner and collaborator in various technological development projects.

Authorities from both nations had signed some days ago a cooperation agreement with the aim of creating an artificial intelligence center on the island and another to enhance the teaching of the Spanish language.

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School and Store

The mass media have echoed the odyssey several parents experienced while buying the school uniform. The lines, in some places, tested the reach of human beings’ patience. But, as usual, every boy and girl will commence the school year in complete uniform.

The classrooms will be equipped with every needed basic aids: textbooks, notebooks, and pencils. Each student will be sit in their desk. And the most important thing: every classroom will have a professor. Hence, families have no need to pay for one.

The Ministry of Education has guaranteed the educational coverage and the situation is much better than previous years thanks to a large extent to the pay rise in the public sector, when thousands of professionals quitted their jobs seeking better economic opportunities.

Classroom, textbooks and notebooks, uniforms, teachers…enough to offer a quality education. Such quality will depend heavily on the professors’ effort and skill, the goals’ achievement in every year, the supplement of school with family, and the support of the community agencies.

And of course, the commitment of students and parents.

The school, much have been said, is the cornerstone of every nation-building project.

A country without high-quality school standards is a nation without roots.

Therefore, we cannot see education as a resource waste but rather an investment in the future.

A very significant part of the national budget is allocated to the educational system at all levels (it is not propaganda, as some have stated), but a safe bet for the comprehensive development of the society.

Cuban contemporary education has several challenges. Its problems and potential go beyond teaching staff and public servants of certain ministries: a national debate is much-needed.

This debate has several viewpoints and exceptional implications. There are somehow recent events, for instance, that have had impact on the egalitarian access to education. Many families are boasting their high standard of living at school; namely, clothes, school gear, and shoes.

The equity sought through the school uniform is tottering due to that internal competition of showing off the most lucrative schoolbag, designer sports shoes, tablets, and showy cellphones.

It is alarming the emerging vicious circle: low income parents are making great sacrifices because their children “cannot be less.”

Moreover, boys and girls are embracing naturally the fact that the more they boast, the better.

Recognition of students must be paired with school performance, not accessory items. Study, discipline, enthusiasm before sports and cultural activities must be encouraged.

Professors play a paramount role in this scenario. Although family is the key.

You go to school to learn, strengthen your human values, and exchange with other kids on equal basis.

School and store are not comparable.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz/CubaSí Translation Staff

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Young Cuban teachers for special education

Around 1,400 young teachers who graduated from Cuban pedagogical schools will serve in special education centers in the 2019-2020 school year.

This education system shows a favorable situation regarding teacher coverage and prepares students for their integration in the regular education system, the General Director of Basic Education Marlen Triana told the local daily, Granma.

She added that highly-specialized services are also provided.

Triana noted that it is a priority to achieve better training of specialized and general education teachers so that students reach their full educational potential.

When the Cuban Revolution triumphed in 1959, about 130 students were enrolled in eight special schools, while today this figure exceeds 30,000 in more than 300 such centers, according to official data.

Cuba has special schools located in Havana, Santiago de Cuba (east) and Villa Clara (center), which allows this service to be extended to difficult to access areas, she said.

Cuba's special education is aimed at those with intellectual, visual, physical-motor, communication and learning disorders, hearing impairment, autism spectrum disorders or physical and mobility impairment.

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Cuba Educators Recognized on National Teacher Day


On the occasion of National Teacher's Day, the work of Cuban teachers was acknowledged on Monday by the island's government and the Cuban Federation of Women.

Cuba's Granma newspaper featured messages by the Cuban Ministry of Education (MINED, which is responsible for education up to the pre- university level), and the Ministry of Higher Education (MES).

The bodies recognized the work of Cuban teachers, particularly noting their efforts to ensure the resumption of the school year within the shortest time possible following the damage caused by three hurricanes.

These storms had made it impossible for many educational centers across the island to begin their activities on schedule (September 1).

¨We are pleased to congratulate all of those (teachers) who, along with the valiant Cuban people, offered help from all parts of the country for the carrying out and continuity of that great work that is education, read MINED's message.

Likewise, the Ministry of Higher Education noted the work of teachers who have participated in literacy campaigns in other countries.

The text reads that this year's Teacher's Day” occurring just days before the 50th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution— is celebrated by educators with the satisfaction of having fulfilled their duties.

The resolution specifically referenced the contributions of teachers to post- hurricane recovery efforts.

For its part, the Cuban Federation of Women highlighted the continuing work of Cuban teachers in strengthening bonds between schools, families, and communities in the education of our children.¨

Cuban Teacher's Day was founded to mark the end of the nation´s literacy campaign (which concluded on December 22, 1961).

During that time, the majority of Cubans learned to read and write. However, several young volunteer teachers lost their lives at the hands of CIA-sponsored counter-revolutionary groups operating in the Cuban countryside in that period.

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