Friday, August 22, 2008

In Cuban schools

Cuban parents appear to have won a small (and rare) victory, with the Castro regime quietly announcing overnight new moves to “fine tune” the education system.

You see, while outsiders visiting Cuba continue to unquestionably accept and loudly applaud the claims made by the regime about education on the island, local parents aren’t nearly as impressed.

In recent years, parents have been complaining about the fact that while schools are indeed free, most classes are taught by so-called “generalist” teachers – student teachers who are unqualified and inexperienced. In fact, most are barely out of school themselves.

In many other cases, the shortage of qualified teachers has forced schools to use televised lessons, a move that has further angered parents, especially when they keep reading how great the education system is supposed to be.

Well, according to the official Cuban propaganda sheet, Granma, education authorities have now decided to give these generalist teachers extra time each week to prepare classes, and to increase supervision of their work in the classroom.

What Granma does not report is that the extensive use of unqualified and inexperienced student teachers in Cuban schools was an idea thought up and promoted by none other than Fidel Castro.

When he first launched the program seven years ago, the now semi-retired dictator dressed up the move as an “education revolution”. As you do.


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