Education has been a top priority for the Communists who have governed the country since 1959. Schooling is free of charge at all levels. For higher studies there are scholarships.
After the Communist takeover of power in 1959, a comprehensive campaign was started against the then widespread illiteracy and adult schools established all over the country, especially in the countryside. In 1964, illiteracy was declared eradicated.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Cuba, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Today, almost all children start primary school (compared to 87 percent on average in Latin America). Compulsory school is compulsory and covers six years. Around 85 percent of the students go on to high school and an equal proportion attend high school. Both high school and high school cover three years. High school studies can either be vocational preparatory or give admission to university studies.
All schools are run by the state, but private actors are now allowed to arrange evening or weekend courses in subjects that are not on the schedule in the state schools, such as English.
The education is characterized by the values that the ruling Communist Party holds. For example, the Cuban political system is portrayed as superior to others, and criticism of the social apparatus is not encouraged.
In recent years, the country’s financial difficulties have forced cuts in the education system. This has primarily affected the administrative staff in the school system and not the teachers’ corps. The number of pupils per teacher is at the same level as in Sweden (twelve pupils per teacher).
In the country there are twelve universities and seven institutes for higher studies. The oldest is Havana University, founded as early as 1727. The emphasis in higher education has been on pedagogy (many teachers needed), technology, agriculture, medicine and economics. Compared to other developing countries, Cuba has a high proportion of trained doctors, scientists and technicians. However, the number of university students has more than halved since 2009 when the number was 600,000, which was a large proportion in relation to the country’s development level. The slimming of the number of university places was aimed at maintaining the quality of education and to adapt the number of educated to the demand in the labor market.
- Searchforpublicschools: Offers schooling information of Cuba in each level – compulsory, technical and higher education programs.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
96.9 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
99.8 percent (2012)
Double currency should be settled
Official media reports that the two-currency system (see Finance) should be phased out.
Several people are forced to leave the Communist Party leadership
Five people are forced to leave the Central Committee of the Communist Party, including the former Speaker of Parliament, as well as former Foreign Minister Ricardo Alarcón, who is close to Fidel Castro. President Raúl Castro fades in on the importance of the layoffs and says it is a normal renewal of the leadership. Alarcón had been a member of the Central Committee since 1992.
Minister of Finance opens for business profits
The architect of Cuba’s economic reforms, the Minister of Economic Planning Marino Murillo, announces that the management of state-owned companies should be given greater freedom to make decisions about the business and that the companies should be able to retain some of their profits for future investments.
Government companies are transformed into cooperatives
More than 100 state-owned enterprises are transformed into independent private cooperatives. This is the first time that private cooperatives have been created outside the agricultural sector. The new cooperatives can consist of as many members as possible and decide for themselves how to distribute any profits. They also get the right to hire people on three-month contracts. Most of the cooperatives will be engaged in agricultural trade, while others will focus on recycling, construction and transport.
New cooperation agreement with Russia
President Castro and Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev agree on ten new cooperation agreements, including one that regulates the debt that Cuba had to the former Soviet Union and which Russia has taken over.
New Vice President is appointed
When Parliament at the end of the month elects Raúl Castro as president for a new five-year term, he announces that he will resign when his term expires in 2018. At the same time, he appoints a new vice president, 52-year-old Education Minister Miguel Díaz-Canel. He replaces 82-year-old Revolutionary veteran José Ramón Machado Ventura and now emerges as the country’s next leader. This is the first time something has officially been said about an end to the long Castro.
Half of young members after parliamentary elections
General elections are held for the more than 600 seats in Parliament. As usual, all candidates have been appointed by the Communist Party. The election results in a rejuvenation among the members as more than half of those elected are younger than 35 years. More women are also elected, which increases the proportion of women to 49 percent. The turnout is significantly lower this time than in the 2008 election – 91 percent compared to 96 percent. The number of blank votes has increased from 4.8 to 5.8 percent while the proportion of valid votes has risen from just over 91 percent to just over 85.
Increased tax on private profits
A new tax law comes into force, which means that there will now be tax on profits in private companies, on privately owned land and private properties. Persons employed in the private sector must also pay tax. However, the Government has previously let the private income tax be gradually introduced.
The number of arrests of oppositionists is increasing
The Independent Cuban Human Rights Commission states that the number of arrests for political reasons increased dramatically over the past year. According to the Commission, 6,602 regime opponents were arrested in 2012, against 4,123 in 2011 and 2074 in 2010.
Travel restrictions are loosened
The Cubans get the right to travel abroad without the special permit previously required. Now you just need a valid passport and a visa from the country where the trip goes. Everyone automatically has the right to be away for two years. However, the government has the opportunity to prevent the exit of certain occupational groups that are considered particularly important to society and may refuse to issue passports with reference to public utility. Opposition Cubans point out that this section can be used to prevent opposers from leaving the country. The new law also allows the state to prevent “undesirable” people from returning to Cuba after a stay abroad.