Cuban Education Part 1

The topic of education really interests me, so I am curious about the education system in Cuba; what it’s like there, and how it compares to the American education system as well as other countries. I’d like to put more research into this subject more throughout the semester and possibly in future blog posts, but for this first blog post on this topic, I’ll just look at some of the basics. One of the first things Wikipedia discusses is the history of education and the evolution of the country’s literacy rate, which around 1900 was between 36.1% and 42%. According to the site, this was very high for a developing country, which is a fact I found to be particularly interesting. This encouraged me to look up information on the country’s current literacy rate. Turns out Cuba actually has a really awesome literacy rate by the standards of multiple websites (it varies slightly in percentage and rank depending on the website, but stays around 99.8%). Go Cuba! The United States literacy rate is currently around 99%, so the two countries are pretty close. Wikipedia also discusses Cuba’s literacy campaign, which was started around 1959 as a way to encourage some of the more rural parts of Cuba to better educate its citizens. This movement started by the new government which allowed for such a development in the literacy rates of the country from the early 1900’s to now. The literacy campaign also acted as a way to get women more involved in the education system. Before, (as with many other countries around the world), women didn’t need much education or literacy skills as they were expected to be housewives or work on farms or do other jobs which didn’t really utilize literacy skills. The literacy campaign, as well as the Federation of Cuban Women really pushed for women to get involved in the education system and continue to grow with the country. Looking at general achievement, Cuba does considerably better than all other Latin American countries as far as standardized testing, which is extremely impressive considering it’s one of the poorest of these countries and also doesn’t have many of the basic resources. There must just be some smart, determined, students in Cuba! The site farther goes into detail about the education system by explain the average student to teacher ratio (12 to 1), the involvement of teacher participation in the community, and the government’s dedication to the keeping education as an important part of the country.  Primary school seems to be very similar to the U.S. system, but differences arise in secondary school where students can choose which career path they might want to pursue, pre-university for those students who want to continue to college, or technical and professional education to aid in developing skills for other types of careers. Recently, due to Cuba’s continued poor economic state, there has been an increase in private schools in Cuba. Overall, Cuba seems to have a successful education system and I’m excited to learn even more about it.

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