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*July 26, 1953*
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“I think that the education of students depends very much upon the level of training and capability of the teacher. That is, it is not a question of policy. The child must be taught to think; to develop his intelligence must be the essential objective of teaching.”


-Fidel Castro[1]

Education Reform


          Before the collapse of the Batista regime, Cuba’s educational program was in shambles. Before the Cuban Revolution, the literacy rate was upwards of twenty-three percent of the population. Educational reforms by the revolutionary government helped that figure drop significantly to three percent. By 1965, 2.5 million people were engaged in the study of some subject.[2]

          Castro started his educational reforms at the grassroots level by training teachers. One region where this was present was in Minas del Frio. This eliminated the difficulty in finding teachers to teach in the mountain regions of Cuba. This program was met with a great deal of success. The Cuban government throughout the years graduated a significant number of teachers.


                    1965: 1,000 teachers

                    1968: 4,000 teachers

                    1970-1980: 50,000 teachers[3]


The training of teachers, however, was not the only aspect of educational reform.

          The revolutionary government began a series of sweeping social reforms and one of them was free education. A massive literacy campaign was designed to educate all Cubans up to a sixth grade level. 1961 was marked as the “Year of Education”. This helped Castro to transform and reshape Cuban society. The program ran in this manner:


1.     All youths from ages 12-18 were relieved of their own school work.

2.     These youths were then sent to the countryside to educate illiterates of all ages, colors, and sexes.[4]


          The education of females was also a primary concern for the Cuban revolutionary government. In fact, it was a landmark revolutionary development for Latin America as a whole. In 1962, half of the students at Havana University were female.[5] The Cuban government also established Schools of Revolutionary Instruction. These schools educated men and women. These students that have graduated from the revolutionary schools now form the basis of the Cuban government, industry, military, farms, factories, and professionals.[6]





[1] Lockwood, 116.

[2] Lockwood, 126.

[3] Lockwood, 107

[4] Matthews, 182.

[5] Matthews, 183.

[6] Matthews, 183.

[7] Lockwood, 127


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