Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana in Spanish to the American 2241 GMT 25 Apr 71 C

[Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro at dedication of Playa Giron
secondary school on 25 April--recorded; for the first portion of this
speech see the Cuba Section of the 26 April DAILY REPORT]

[Text] So, a new situation (?exists), with different circumstances from
what were at one time logical and convenient aspirations. Now these are
obstacles--this separation, that is, at the university level between
technical personnel and the teaching professional, in technical careers.
Therefore, we must solve this problem.

Universal education and universal work must be imposed in our country. Of
course, universal education, at a given level, mainly involves the youth.
But it also involves wide possibilities for the workers. If we continue
with our intention of raising more and more the levels of education, and
making education more and more universal, participation in production
should logically be equally universal. For this reason we believe that
basic education--what we are doing in these schools--should be aimed at
participation in production activities.

Beginning at this age, our youth should also participate in the production
activities, because in a country like ours, the material goods needed by
the people must be the product of effort, toil, and the interest of all the
people. In our society today, tomorrow, and always, material goods must be
produced by all the people. This, furthermore, combines successfully with a
perfect education; a form of education which fits in with the concepts of
Marx and Marti.

It is very important that teachers and professors have these ideas
uppermost in their minds. Let there never be a conflict between education
and production. This must be avoided at all costs; we must avoid letting
merely educational interests supercede this truly revolutionary concept of
education and the need to attend to the needs of production.

Of course, we shall be collecting this experience. So far, everything has
gone well. We can say that the comrades in charge of some of these
(?centers of education) are very, very happy with the work the students are
doing. We have seen the students achieve a very high production level
during these 3 years. We have seen them work with great energy and great
intensity. Any youth such as you can in 3 very well used hours, achieve
much more than an adult. And 3 hours with some techniques, some machines,
allow a pretty high productivity.

We recall an argument; no, not an argument, but a discussion with the
principal and the teachers of "Ceiba 1" when we visited the school and the
students were in the middle of exams. It was on the 3-month system; there
were the quarterly exams, it was exam time. And during this time, the
students did not engage in productive work. So I said, well, a strictly
educational criterion has prevailed: not a revolutionary one.

I do not mean that the comrades at this school had a strictly educational attitude.
No, no; these comrades were very revolutionary, very conscientious, and they are
administrating the school very well.  But it cannot be denied that a very traditional
system, a very conservative method was prevalent there.  So I asked myself:  What
are we getting out of this?  When it comes time for exams, we free the student from his
daily duties and give him more time to study.  We therefore create a vice.  What
vice?  Of the finalists, the vice of not paying attention in class.

The students knows that when exam time comes, the 3 hours that he had for
production activities he will now have for his studies. He feels more
comfortable, better; the good received from the classes tends to be
reduced; his attentiveness to the teachers tend to be reduced; the effort
exerted by the teacher in class tends to be less productive.

We are developing finalitis, and we should be aware that finalitis is a
vice we must fight against, and that study must be daily study. The student
should be up-to-date. If he falls behind in any material, he should be
warned and should make an effort to catch up and he should be given special
assignments. There should be a circle of the more advanced students, and
meetings with those who are behind so that they may understand the
material--they understand it and catch up.

But if we begin--because when the tests come, there is no work--the result
is that we begin to create total loss of memory in work and study, the vice
of finalitis. In the neurotic student, moreover, this is the case because
this student is pulling his hair and chewing his nails on exam day under
terrible tension, until we create in him a tension reflex and supper
intellectualism, a test-making reflex.

A student should always be ready to respond to a question, always ready. A
student should be up-to-date. A student should attend class, he should
study every day. We are going to reduce the work requirement on exam days
by an hour, but we will not suspend work on test days. They understand that
to suspend work would violate a principle, the value of production
activity. This left the impression that at this time production activity
had been scorned, and that all the vices we mentioned had been created.

I used this example because often this old method prevails without our
noticing it, and it endures. So this revolutionary pedagogy should (?find)
its principal defenders in professors and students, seeking a just balance
between the two activities. Something very important, extremely important,
as I have already pointed out to the director of this school, is a broad
sports movement taking advantage of all the equipment and, equally, a broad
cultural movement.

This school, this community, is a type of small world, which prepares us
for the other world, for the other life when these youth grow up, which
prepares us for the other society. So in this community one studies, works,
engages in sports, and participates in cultural activities.

Recently our comrade, the minister of education, took us to see an
exemplary secondary school. We had the opportunity to attend an artistic
performance at that school, where all the students who had scientific
interests also participated in some cultural activity. They really
presented an impressive program. One can already see the fruits--how
cultural activity is converted into an activity of the masses, into a
possibility, into an enjoyment of the masses.

One can say that from the nursery schools, from the primary schools, we
have to allow the children to participate in cultural and artistic
activities, along with instruction and along with sports. This forms a part
of integrated education. So we must be sure there are facilities for the
development of broad cultural and artistic movements, in which we believe
that the experience of other schools should be heeded, for example, the
[word indistinct] school.

We recommended this to the directors of the student association of this
school--that they should make contact with the students of the [word
indistinct] school so they can explain their experience. You have an
advantage; this is not the first school. There is another school--not of
this type, but it has many things which can be of use to this school. You
are not going to have to do it all. Take advantage of the experience other
schools have accumulated. You cannot be presumptuous; do not think you are
going to be better than anyone, that you are going to be better at the

You can come to know as much as the others, but you can also take advantage
of experiences accumulated by other schools in sports and cultural
activities. A little comrade of yours, who is responsible for culture in
the student association, was telling me that they were planning to publish
a newspaper. I told him that other schools had radio news. They were
thinking of a printed newspaper.

This will be a difficult task; they will have to print letter by letter,
and the newspaper often will be late in appearing--whereas a radio program
will allow them to produce fresh news. But this does mean that they are
developing the ability, the vocation, the interest in journalism. And they
interview as many people as come here. They gather information and news,
and they try to make a good radio newscast. So, we have the development of
journalism, the handling of news and information, in secondary schools.
When we have this activity in all secondary schools, it will be just
another of many activities.

There are circles of scientific interest which, in our opinion, should be
developed fully in these schools. Imagine the prospects when we talked
about what journalism will mean for the revolutionary press in the future,
that thousands of youths from an early age will participate in journalism,
developing their ability in this field. Imagine what the scientific circles
will mean for our research institutes, for the country's scientific and
technological development, for the country's sports, for the revolutionary
cultural movement of our country, as well as in our am to ensure our
cultural values, to develop those values, to assimilate the cultural values
of brother Latin American countries, to assimilate the best of universal
culture, and to develop it--without outside impositions.

These outside impositions are due to our massive ignorance, our low
cultural level which permits the development of this (?snobbishness), of
this servile imitation of a decadent art, reflection of the contradictions
of a rotten society--represented by certain minority and neocolonial
cultural elements of our country. [applause]

At the first meeting of the teachers of the matter of the influence of the
environment on education awakened great interest. It revealed the great
concern of our educators concerning the subject. When the congress was
planned we knew that the teachers and educators would have much to say. We
knew that they had more authority than anyone else because they are the
ones who constantly struggle with our children, with our youths, forming
them; the ones who suffer more than anyone else in their daily work from
the deforming influences of currents which are strange to the spirit,
morals, and interests of our revolution. [applause]

When comrade Anibal spoke to the congress the day of its opening, there was
a marked reaction among the teachers and professors because of the
important things he said. I said to him: "Look, despite our great material
needs--books, furniture, buildings--these culture matters torment and
interest our educators more than anything else." This was revealed at the

In view of this, our educators will speak on this matter also; they will
make pertinent resolutions with the assurance that the party, the
revolutionary government, will support their cultural efforts. [applause]
They will have all the support of the revolution. This is why we say that
this is an historic event, a revolutionary event. All experiences,
feelings, aspirations, the best thoughts, the best experience, and the best
feeling of our educators will be gathered in this first conference and will
be used in a basic and decisive task in our country--decisive for the
future of our country, decisive in the future development of our
revolution. It is, in addition, the concrete expression of the masses in
the revolutionary process.

In our first meetings with the teachers we gathered all those things which
concerned them, all the things that concerned them--material things, family
cooperation with education, and problems involving all the elements which
influence the formation of the youth. These impressions, ideas, and concern
gathered in these meetings throughout the island have been given due
attention, and are being resolved. Of course, some of them do not have an
immediate solution, because we must go much further in the material
sphere--long years of work to resolve some of these things which concern
us, especially material matters. And in this congress these things take
form, these matters of concern are considered more concretely although we
are already struggling with them on all possible levels.

We believe one of these matters is our society's becoming ware of the role
of education. The whole society should become aware that education does not
concern teachers and professors alone, but also the parents, mass
organizations, the party, youth organizations, and the people as a whole;
and that the battle of education in a society like ours, in a revolution,
can be carried forward only with the participation and support of the whole
people. It is therefore necessary that our workers, mass organizations,
labor organizations, committees, women's organizations, farmers, student
organizations, all, everyone, become aware of this problem, and support the

Another matter presented was the consideration, the just consideration and
the appreciation for the work of the teachers, and I believe that in this
sense we have been quite aware of need to channel youth into educational
services in view of the great need pointed out by comrade Anibal, that tens
of thousands--more than 30,000 primary school teachers, and about 15,000
secondary school teachers; almost impossible figures--are needed within a
few years. We need these teachers, and if we cannot achieve our goal by
1975, we must at least by 1980.

Meanwhile, we must see that no class room is without a teacher, that no
student goes without professional help--even if we must use another
student. This movement of monitors, for instance, has helped us. Who knows
what we would have done without it. Using an advanced student to teach
another is a necessity. We used this method during the literacy campaign;
we converted hundreds of citizens into teachers. Almost all high school
students became teachers and this way waged the literacy battle.

A similar method must be used now when we have more to do than during the
literacy campaign. There are 1.6 million children enrolled in primary
schools. This is much more than we tried to take care of during the
literacy campaign of 1961. So we need a massive movement, an extraordinary
development of cadres, a large number of qualified personnel.

In some of the meetings we attended there was much quality among the
teachers. We recall many cadres who were quite outstanding because of
clarity, energy employed in the exposition, concern showing concerning the
problems discussed. We realized that in recent years many valuable persons
have developed, and we believe that this trend will continue in the future.
We believe that each of these schools will become an unimaginable source of
experience, of cadre formation, of teaching cadres.

As we move along we must be selecting the best values, the most energetic,
the most persevering, the most enthusiastic, the most responsible, the most
conscientious persons to make them leaders of this movement. How many
professors and teachers will we have graduating by 1975? How many will we
have in 1980? How many of the popular teachers will be advancing, obtaining
degrees? A very large number. In a few years, we will have more than
100,000 teachers and professors, and this number will increase yearly.
Their level will increase more and more. This is a real revolution in

Much has been said regarding education in the Cuba of the past, and it must
have been said about education in other countries which were in a situation
similar to ours. But nothing has been done before which compares--to the
satisfaction of our country--with what is being achieved at this moment.
Never has education in our country has such a massive character, never has
it been so important, not even in dreams. It is possible that in a few
countries this been true--possibly in countries which have accomplished
their revolution. In those countries, yes, education has reached a high
standard. But in no other Latin American country is there anything which
even resembles it--not even in dreams, nothing like this eruption, this
kind of educational volcano which has taken place in our country.

We must channel this tremendous source of power; we must carry it to its
maximum possibilities. Despite its dimensions, it cannot yet satisfy our
needs; despite the progress, there are still many deficiencies. How much
must still be done quantitatively and qualitatively for education? But
never before have we had such a unity of factors--an awareness by the
society o the importance of education.

It is a combination of effort between the mass of educators and the
revolutionary process. Never has there been such identification of
objectives among the people, the revolution, and the educators. Never
before this has there been such a formidable censensus. Never have we been
in better condition to advance. We should be aware of this situation in
order to be able to take advantage of it. We should get the most possible
from this meeting, from this congress, and when we gather together the
experience, when labor and ideas are turned into tools of information and
enthusiasm. Each one of you when you return to the provinces, the regions,
and the schools, consider yourselves militants of the life which was dealt
with here, of the ideas worked on at this congress.

A few days ago at the opening of this congress there was a very moving
ceremony. It was the honoring of a representative group of teachers and
educators who had devoted their entire lives with extraordinary fervor to
education. It was a recognition by educators and the people of their work,
their merits, and of their work. There are some who have many years as
teachers and although more than 70 years of age continue working in one way
or another, continue teaching.

We feel that this recognition had to be, for them, a great stimulus,
because they have experienced the great educational problems in our country
through the years. They knew those horrible times in which education was a
pretext for robbery, in which education was the ministry from which came
the new overnight millionaires. The Ministry of Education of the past
produced this country's greatest millionaires. They stole tens of millions
every year, and bought a few books to be distributed. They stole from the
funds for the school lunch, construction funds, the teacher's funds.

There is more: The politicians of the past used the payroll of the
Education Ministry and the honorable responsibilities of teachers to engage
in politics, to organize cliques, to elect senators, representatives, and
mayors. It was the ministry of party hacks, the ministry which enriched the
coffers of the political gangs. It was the Ministry of Education.

They, these comrades who devoted themselves to teaching, lived through
those horrible times, that era without hope, or robbery and crime, of
robbery of the people's material goods and of frustration of more sacred
goods than the material ones--which are the spiritual riches of the people,
the intelligence of the people. How much frustrated intelligence, how many
illiterates were left by the wayside? How many millions of persons were
unable to get technical training? Today we have the result. It is evident
when we lack various levels of technicians in the factories, in industry,
and in agriculture everywhere. Today we are carrying on our shoulders the
results of that past, of each million that was stolen, of each diversion of
educational resources, of each crime committed against the people, of each
intelligence which was frustrated. They saw all this in those times.

They foresaw the consequences of this. The same as today they had an
opportunity to see these times. They have had the satisfaction of seeing
the magnificent results which our country can expect in the future from
this educational effort being made today.

We may be lacking something. We are lacking many things. However, we are
sparing no effort; we are sparing no sacrifice. We are not sparing
resources for education. Education has been placed on the highest pedestal
and the revolution considers it one of its essential tasks. We believe that
along with the homage in our hearts we honor the men--the teachers who
symbolize the best that has been produced by our country and who are among
the most dedicated educators--in a congress such as this. [applause]

A school such as this one also represents a homage to them in the realm of
deeds. They will appreciate the meaning of this school. They have suffered
under the poverty and misery of our schools. They will be able to
appreciate the meaning of this leap forward, this path and what our country
will be when all the pupils are attending schools such as this one, when
all middle-level students are attending schools such as this one and also
when all primary students in the cities have similar schools.

Indeed, this means the future of a country. Indeed this means the
satisfaction of the loftiest of a nation's aspirations. This indeed means
the aspiration of our fatherland today, the future the revolution demands
for the future generations. This is what communism will be. Fatherland or
death, we will win! [applause] (Castro apparently leaves rostrum, then

Will you please listen to me for a few minutes? [the people shout: "yes"]

I had to return to redress a great injustice. As I was leaving I thought of
something very important: the workers, the workers who built this school.
[applause] The comrades of the brigade, the comrades of the construction
industry, the furniture markers, the seamstresses, the number of workers
who made an extraordinary effort to have this school--we had forgotten
them. [applause]

We remembered Maceo's statement that as long as there is an injustice to be
redressed the revolution will continue. I said that this event is not over
until we have recognized these workers. Above all, we must take into
account that they contributed 23,000 hours of voluntary work to finish this
school. Under no circumstances did we want to forget this. We did not want
this honor to be left for another occasion, thank you.

Of, there is still the name of the school. I am going to tell you the
truth: When I read in the newspaper that the school would be inaugurated
with the name "Taza de Oro," I said: "I wonder who thought of such an ugly
name." [laughter] I suspected the reason, but I said: "But, 'Taza de Oro'
is a bourgeois name."

That is tantamount to making gold the most important, the best. It is a
bourgeois name. When I asked why this school was called "Taza de Oro," I
was told that this area was called "Taza de Oro" and I said there are
placed which have very pretty names, even Indian names, and so forth, but
in this case we have inherited a bourgeois name which we cannot swallow.
Consequently the students must discuss the name. [audience shouts several
names]. Well, what will be the school's name? [the audience shouts other
names]. Well, we are not going to leave the school an orphan and nameless.
It is the same as if you hated the name of [Hatuey] changed it and left it
nameless. Well, a comrade has proposed "19 April." Think about this name
and if you cannot agree find another one. You, the students, must discuss
the name. That name has been proposed by the little comrade whom you
elected. In any event, there are many schools named "Giron" but I do not
believe there are many by the name "19 April."

If you name if "Victoria de Giron" or "Martires de Giron" there will be
much confusion. You have to find a unique name. [the people shout other
names]. Then you hold an assembly and discuss the name. But we have agreed
that the name "Taza de Oro" will be eliminated. Is this not so? [the people
shout: "right"] In addition when the first maintenance is performed you
should discuss which colors better suit this school. Are we in agreement?
[people shout "yes"] All right, I will see you later. [applause]