Three views of the Cuban education : a comparative study of policy deterioration
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Education in Cuba has been known as one of the major accomplishments of the revolution. Before it, education was unavailable to over half of Cuban children. Nowadays compulsory education through the ninth grade exists in Cuba. The literacy levels in more than half of the countries of the world are far below of that of Cuba. This even though the Cuban economy long has been hampered by the policies of the United States and its allies. What Cubans accomplished in education since overthrowing the Batista regime in the late 1950s has been exceptional and it has shown to the international community what can be accomplished even though economic growth in the island does not stand for similar results. This is perhaps a potential solution for the so-called countries of the third world, but we should take in consideration the challenges that can rise when economic growth does not accompany the need for developing such a policy. The prestige of Cuba´s education policy comes first and foremost from its focus on inclusion and equality of opportunities. Less known is its focus on political and ideological conformity. The Cuban revolution was not only a political change for Cubans but also a totally new beginning in other fields of society such as economy, labor market, health care, and social structure among other things. One of the elements that would take a dramatic turn over would be the relationship with outside world. However, the Cuban educational system as well as the health system has had difficult times in the past decades due to deepening economic crises and increasing exposure to globalization. At this point it is important in this paper to take a closer look at the development of Cuban the educational policy in that process. This paper aims to examine and to compare different findings by two researchers who investigate educational policies and schooling practices in Cuba. In addition, I add what I define as experiential knowledge, which is my own experience as a product of the Cuban revolution and as a witness face to face to the different transformations the educational policy has had. At the same time we wish to bring up to light the current situation of Cubans and how the education policy initially designed by the Cuban government to produce a certain kind of person – the new socialist man and woman - is been exposed to forces of deterioration, giving arise to a negative development in the field of social values, creating an even bigger gap between social classes.
Master in International Social Welfare and Health Policy