• A better quality of life for disabled people in Cuba

    Published on 15 December 2015 by Granma

    special ed cuba

    In line with changes being applied to the national education system in Cuba, Special Education is undergoing an extensive improvement process, looking to perfect comprehensive education for students with special and learning needs, with a key focus on diversity, noted Dora Laborí Kindelán, a special education methodologist from the Ministry of Education (Mined).

    Educational support for students with varying needs and circumstances, the role of specialists and staff training programs, are all important aspects of this process.

    Experimental initiatives focused on areas such as support for pupils with severe learning disabilities and work with blind and visually impaired students, are currently being applied in six of the country’s provinces. The results of these experiments will later be extended throughout the rest of the country.

    “Today every school is designing its own institutional educational scheme, working on the basis of a more flexible and context specific curriculum,” the Mined methodologist stated.

    Another proposal is to restructure the assessment system and aim toward providing quality education in a school which must continually work to be more inclusive.One of the aims of the Special Education program during this stage of the improvement process is to have a learning agenda focused on the potential of every student. “The impact of the social and educational factor is far more important than any biological limitation the student may have,” Laborí Kindelán noted.

  • ALBA-backed apprentice initiative trains over 230 Saint Lucians

    Published on 31 December 2015 by TeleSUR


    A group of 231 students have graduated as farm assistants and caregivers for the elderly through a program funded by the ALBA bloc of Latin American and Caribbean countries. Educators say the trainees now possess internationally recognized certification.

    The 2015 graduates are 49 young men and women who have gained employment as farm assistants and 182 individuals trained as caregivers for the elderly who will be employed under the National Home Care Program in 2016.

    The training is part of the National Initiative to Create Employment Program, which has been funded with US$10 million by the ALBA Solidarity Fund to the over two years. The first disbursement of US$5 million was made in January 2015.

    “So what does it mean for our graduates today? It means that they are graduating with a regionally recognized certificate and there is mobility for them to be able to work as qualified persons, not just in Saint Lucia but within Caricom (Caribbean Community),” said Estalita Renee of the island’s Ministry of Education.

    ​The NICE program expects to create 5,000 jobs for Saint Lucians. Graduates like Yanez Joseph say they are grateful for the program’s training component.

    “We can assure you that the knowledge imparted onto us will never leave us and will be put to good use as we continue our journey,” she said, adding “there is nothing like teaching a man, or a woman, how to fish and seeing the results.

    As part of the NICE Program, young people have gained employment as physical education and coaching assistants, sports administrators, peer counselors and caretakers.

    The program was launched in 2012 and it is considered by the Saint Lucian government a crucial social initiative, which aims to make a dent in unemployment figures and enhance the capabilities of people to engage in trade and gain work experience.

    During his first official visit to Saint Lucia in October, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met with NICE workers and heard from the program’s coordinator on how his country’s cash funding has helped to alleviate unemployment.

  • Cuba: Inclusive education for disabled children

    Published on 4 April 2016 by Granma

    Cuba school disabled

    To visit the Solidaridad con Panamá (Solidarity with Panama) School, where 180 children and young people with physical and intellectual disabilities or cerebrovascular diseases study, is a moment to rid oneself of sorrows, and be inspired by the determination to overcome any difficulties that lie ahead.

    Students at the school are motivated by the staff who work closely with them every day, some 110 workers in total, including 64 teachers, and over 40 assistants, physical therapists and other professionals. Some of whom have also provided educational services in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and other countries.

    The school, located in the Fontanar neighborhood in the municipality of Boyeros, Havana, is a site without architectural barriers to mobility, characterized for its cleanliness, order, discipline, lighting in every corner and use of color to invoke peace and happiness.

    The Solidaridad con Panamá School was inaugurated by the leader of the Cuban Revolution Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz on 31 December 1989, in the context of U.S. military aggression against Panama. The school teaches at three levels: primary, secondary, and for children with intellectual and developmental difficulties. The school also participates in the “Educate Your Child” program, which offers tools for parents with disabled children.

    Walking around the site, one comes across children with no hands eating with their feet; a child who has difficulty walking pushing the wheelchair of another; or another holding a pencil between his teeth to write during class. They all play the normal games for their age, particularly enjoy art classes and get up to mischief now and again. There is no sense here of pity for these children, solely because they have certain limitations.

    What stands out is the joy expressed on each of their faces. They all are eager to be photographed and open to talk to anyone. Teachers, workers and students clearly recall key moments in the 25 year history of the school.

  • Cuban students denounce ‘World Learning’

    Published on 28 September 2016 by Granma.


    “The members of the Federation of University Students (FEU) are not asleep, nor passive, and much less remain with their arms crossed in the face of the interventionist and hostile plans of the U.S. government,” warned Jennifer Bello Martínez, FEU national president, speaking on September 27, in the province of Ciego de Ávila.

    During a press conference, Bello Martínez, a member of the Council of State, denounced subversive plans financed by the U.S. on behalf of the organization's over 130,000 members. She also condemned the scholarship program offered by the World Learning organization, which targets Cuban youth.

  • Education to overcome all barriers: William Soler school, Havana

    William Soler 3

    Jose Marti, the 19th Century Cuban national independence hero and revolutionary thinker said that ‘To be educated is to be free’. The importance of education has always been at the heart of the Cuban revolution – the 26 July Movement revolutionary programme declared: ‘We believe that true democracy can be attained only with citizens who are free, equal, educated and have dignified and productive jobs.’ From January 1959, the revolutionary government took steps to create a free and more productive education system. The 1960 literacy campaign recruited 300,000 young Cuban volunteers to live in the poorest rural areas teaching peasants and rural workers to read and write. Within a year every Cuban had achieved basic literacy. 37 schools were built in the first year of the revolution, compared to one school built in the previous 57 years. Free universal education up to and including university is a central pillar of Cuban socialism today, from specialist schools to support children with disabilities to far-flung solar-powered mountain schools teaching one or two children, education is for all.

  • Hundreds of Congolese to study medicine in Cuba

    Published on 6 January 2016 by ACN

    elam congo

    As part of bilateral cooperation relations between Cuba and Congo, nearly 850 young people from that African nation will travel to the island to take medicine courses.

    Congolese Health minister Francois Ibovi was at the Brazzaville airport of Maya Maya to see off the future medical doctors who will return home to serve their people, the Cuban Foreign Ministry informed on its webpage.

    The minister, who was accompanied by Cuban ambassador Manuel Serrano, expressed his gratitude to The island for offering his people the professional training.

    This will be the third group of Congolese students to take courses in Cuba, which joins another 1200 who are already studying medicine here.

  • Increasing demand of Cuban teaching services abroad

    Published on 4 September 2015 by Cuban News Agency


    The demand abroad of Cuban professors of different subjects relevant to technical education has increased this year, thus bringing financial benefits to the island´s Education system.

    Technical Education director Eugenio Gonzalez said that the number of countries requiring Cuban services continue to increase, with requests of professors in areas such as electricity, mechanics, agronomy, math, physics, civil construction and others.

    During 2014, these academic services translated for the Cuban Education Ministry into an income calculated at 15.4 million dollars, while that figure is expected to reach 17 million dollars this year.

    The directive recalled that following the latest Cuban Pedagogy Congress last February there was a diversification of subjects requested by different countries, whose requests went from methodological assistance to direct instruction services.

    Some of these requests come from Central American countries, but most of them are issued by Caribbean and African nations, said the official who regretted that at times they are not able to cope with all the demands due to the language barrier.

    He insisted that in order to attend to those needs, Cuban professors must particularly learn English, French or Portuguese as their mastery of these languages is later evaluated by expert commissions in the client countries.