Cuba’s Education, A Lacklustre Indoctrination Instrument

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After Fidel Castro’s death, the debate about the alleged achievements of the so-called Cuban Revolution has revived, with the theme of education standing out. The dictatorship and its apologists from all over the world describe education in our country as “free”.

Personally, I prefer to characterize it as the services that we paid with a fee that state deducts from our salary of 9 USD per month. Few families could afford any education if it would not be a part of social benefits in Cuba.

I do not aspire in this short article to give an exhaustive description of the Castroist educational system. I would like to remind of its origin and briefly talk about its current situation.

In his self-defence plea during the trial for an armed action against Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship in 1953, which later became the political programme known as “History Will Absolve Me”, Fidel mentioned the elimination of illiteracy in Cuba amongst his main objectives.

Once established in power, in 1961, the bearded tyrant declared himself a Communist — although he had earlier denied categorically that he is one of them — and implemented a series of reforms to reinforce his power.

He introduced a single-party electoral system, censorship and a political police. He expropriated both domestic and foreign private businesses forcing a good part of the Cuban population into exile. He suppressed independent civil society institutions replacing them with the organizations servile to the State. In short, Castro founded a totalitarian regime in Cuba.

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The revolutionary government carried out an unprecedented literacy campaign in the nation that same year. However the teaching system was very primitive, and it was tied to indoctrination in favour of the new regime. The indoctrination became more advanced as the educational system developed, replicating the systems implanted by dictators as Hitler, Mao, and Stalin.

The Revolution made it clear from the beginning that only “revolutionaries” could study at the University. For that reason, the entrance to University depends on recommendations by the Castro’s regime agents at the school and in the neighborhood. Cubans choosing to study at the College or University also had to participate in agricultural work earning a little wage or without any remuneration at all. Male candidates were obliged to serve in military before they allowed to study.

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The Castro’s regime free education has been tied to the system of political indoctrination. The state of Cuba’s education is deplorable.

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The Cuban state continues to have a monopoly on education, and parents are forced to send their children to the only existent school, a state school.

The author of this article is at pains watching how the state school indoctrinates his little son with political ideas and an atheistic ideology even though he is Christian.

The state of Cuba’s education is deplorable. Every day, the amount of teachers who drop their profession increases, due to a low salary of 20 USD per month that is not sufficient to pay their bills. A majority of professors choose lower-skilled but better-paid jobs.

So critical is the situation that this year the Ministry of Education for the first time had to look for a new alternatives to decrease the deficit of teachers in the country’s capital city.

School buildings were not repaired or renovated for many years. The study material is obsolete. None of the schools have access to Internet.

Despite that sorry state of the Cuban schooling, the government continuously boasts of the fact that the large part of GDP constitutes investment in education.

Paradoxically, the University graduates have difficulty to find a first job although the state is the principal employer. As a result a large of the qualified personnel of Cuba chooses emigration hoping for a better future in other countries.

With its school indoctrination, its omnipresent propaganda and its censorship, the regime aims at making Cubans believe that they live in an world different to what they experience every day. Thanks to the independent news many Cubans learned about the harsh reality of political prisons on an island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.

Fortunately, this latter group is already a majority. Many of us have begun to act so that we can have — with the fall of the Castro regime — a real education system in the shortest possible time, an education depoliticised, efficient and pluralistic.

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Carlos Amel Oliva is a youth leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU).

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Perth Herald Tribune joined the campaign “My Weekly Denunciation Of the Castro’s Dictatorship”, launched by the UNPACU and the Forum for a United America to raise awareness of the situation of the Cuban people worldwide.

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