Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Address

Havana Domestic Television Service in Spanish 0145 GMT 31 Mar 73 F

[Speech by Prime Minister Fidel Castro dedicating the "XX Anniversary"
basic secondary rural school on 29 March at the "19th April" vegetable farm
in Quivican, Havana province-- videotaped]

[Text] Comrades of the party directorate, comrade fighters of the
Directorate of Personal Security, comrade teachers and students, I am going
to be brief, since we all are impatient to see the cultural program

This school is the 22nd rural school in Havana Province, and the 52nd in
all the country. At the present work is underway on 160 schools like this
one. But this school which we are dedicating today has a twofold special
meaning. First, there are the spirit, devotion, awareness, discipline and
enthusiasm with which the work was done. This school emerged entirely from
our comrades' extra effort, from genuine plus-work, voluntary work. It came
from comrades who have a great sense of responsibility. Theirs is an
arduous, hard labor. Yet they took the initiative to organize themselves,
by means of putting forth an added effort, working in their spare time, or
distributing their own work among their working comrades, into a brigade
which could share in the construction of schools. This gives the school
special significance. It was built with revolutionary spirit and

We are highly pleased. We are jubilant and we wholeheartedly congratulate
you workers for the attitude you have shown in this project. Despite being
inexperienced builders and possessing only the will and drive to produce
the building, you forthrightly accomplished the task. And it was built in
record time and finely finished. The fact is that both of the schools which
have been built are known for their splendid finish. In a word: You turned
out the most possibly perfect job notwithstanding the fact that it was the
first time you undertook this work and that many could not work constantly
with the brigade, but only from time to time.

This is why we sincerely believe that what you have accomplished merits
being considered as a fine example for our people, students, workers and
our fighters. As we entered we were handed the times spent on each school,
which are as follows:

The first is Quivican I: Actual work, 4.7 months; days not worked, 28 days,
a total time of 5.5 months; average monthly labor force, 129 men.

Quivican II, this school: actual work, 5.5 months, days not worked, 20
days; average monthly labor force, 98 men; average number of men in brigade
work teams, 35; service and administration personnel, 17; average number of
persons on CSIR's [not further explained], leave, and so forth, 39; average
monthly brigade laborers, 183 men; average cubic meters of dirt moved,

Quivican I was begun on 29 March 1972, a year ago; Quivican II, on 13 April
1972; Quivican III, 30 May 1972; Quivican IV, 30 November, 1972; Quivican
V, 5 January 1973.

The comrade who spoke on your behalf noted the total value of the projects
completed thus far--more than 3 million pesos. This has been the work of a
handful of men. They assembled and finished not one, but two schools, where
1,000 students are studying, while three more schools are going up. As a
person enters this important Havana farming zone, the first thing that
looms are the schools, one after the other. Yet a year ago this was barren.
Nothing but rocks, even less than a year ago. And these splendid schools
have risen here.

We could say that the technical men, designers and architects, have given
us a functional, very functional, beautiful structure. We can rest assured
that this type of school is not being built anywhere in Latin America, and
possibly in not many places throughout the world.

We can all be pleased that increasing numbers of youngsters will be able to
attend schools like these. What has been done in a very brief space of time
can be seen in these buildings which constitute veritable cultural,
revolutionary monuments. They stand as monuments to the revolutionary
spirit and awareness of our warriors and people.

Indubitably, when this kind of work is viewed, the men who fought, fell and
perished over these past 20 years are eloquently, worthily remembered. For
those who struggled and perished did so precisely so that our fatherland
could attain these creative potentials, these gains, this upward march to
the future, this magnificent opportunity to work for the future.

This is a tribute to that spirit with which you workers struggled and
labored here--a genuine spirit in the tradition of the revolutionary
fighters, in the tradition of those who on 26 July 1953 assaulted the
Mondada Barracks. And this is why this school bears the name "XX
Anniversary". [applause] We feel certain that throughout your lives you and
all the fighters who have worked here will be tremendously pleased at what
you accomplished here.

In the five schools here--some finished, some underway--2,500 young people
will study. Over the years it will be thousands upon thousands who will
train here--through study and work--in a veritable revolutionary, communist
manner. Four days ago, 508 youngsters, some from this district and others
from the Havana "Diez de Octubre" district, began studying here.

They are children of workers and peasants, humble families of our people.
All of our youngsters have an equal opportunity to study as a right given
them by the revolution. In Cuba of the past, this would have been only a
dream, something impossible. Only children of rich families could attend
the few schools that were available. Overall that education was very
backward, antiscientific. Discrimination was practiced, and only a handful
of privileged children could get schooling.

Moreover, those schools were not of this quality. They had no splendid
sports fields. Nor were those schools operated under this concept, one
where work goes hand in hand with study. They were not schools like these,
the yields of which exceed those of the past. We need only recall that, in
our 51 rural schools, the average passing index for the first year was 94
percent--indexes which had never been obtained in Cuba. In the past such
indexes fell below 70 percent, and the rural school index did not even
reach that level.

What is more, we feel certain that the index here will reach 95 percent. We
had set a target of 90 percent, but this will be exceeded despite the fact
that these are new schools still developing experience. You workers too
gained experience as you began building, and now you are better. The same
will happen with teaching. Every year more and more experience will be
accumulated. The number and knowledge of the people will grow year by year.

The directors too will become more and more experienced. The Education
Ministry is organizing systematic courses for directors. The first course
has started already. Everything was organized rapidly. The problem of
providing teachers for these schools is being resolved through a
revolutionary measure: The Manuel Ascunce Domenech teachers training
detachment. [applause]

Tenth graders enroll in that detachment--students who want to become
teachers, answering the call of the revolution. There are thousands of
youths in the detachment. This will ensure our having sufficient teachers
for all the schools we can build. And what will our educational endeavors
and the quality of these schools be in the future, if we consider that by
1980 we shall have more than 30,000 teachers graduated from or trained by
that detachment, and that by that same year the average age of teachers
trained for basic secondary schools will be under 25 years? This will be
achieved if we follow the advanced training methods, if we adhere to
systematic training courses for teachers and cadres for these schools and
if we continue selecting outstanding persons. There is not the slightest
doubt, then, that our education has a splendid future.

But we are not building just rural schools. No, we are building polytechnic
schools near the sugar mills and factories. We are building more than a
dozen teacher training schools, various types of technological institutes
and vocational schools, such as the Lenin School. That school will be
completed in September. Four thousand five hundred youths selected for
outstanding dedication and discipline for study will attend that school.
Three more vocational schools will be built.

We are working to develop our universities. But despite the fact that we
are undertaking the biggest school-construction plan in our history, this
is not enough. Despite our having opened 44 [rural] schools last
year--which is equivalent to all the schools which could have been built
during the foregoing 60 years and we could say the 60 years that preceded
the triumph of the revolution--these 44 schools are not enough.

Although we are working on 160 new schools this year, as I said before, and
that more than 150 of those will be opened this year--let us say the
equivalent of this type of school--even that will be insufficient. Thus,
during these initial years the school building program falls below our
needs. For instance, it is estimated that in Orient Province alone, around
40,000 children will graduate from their schools this year.

I should note that 98 percent of our children are enrolled in our
schools--practically all of the country's children. There are more than 1.5
million in primary schools. That enormous mass goes forward, and it will
graduate from the sixth grade. This is why the tremendous effort our
country is making to build schools falls short. The program can be
expanded, however, after 1976. Then our new cement plants will turn out 5
million tons of cement annually; the new reinforced steel plant will
produce 300,000 tons annually; and other industrial plants will be
producing construction material.

Yet it is not just secondary schools, polytechnics, technological
institutes and teacher training and vocational schools and universities
that we must build. We shall have to build many primary schools and
child-care centers. However, our entire education will follow the system of
combining work with study.

We are applying the work-study system in many primary schools. Many schools
already have vegetable gardens, and more and more primary schools will have
them. In the environs of Camaguey work is in progress to have 100
caballerias planted with vegetables. Some 10,000 or 12,000 fourth, fifth,
and sixth grade students will spend several hours weekly farming.

This work plan also is being combined with a vacation plan for the Pioneer
Movement. The same buses which will transport children to farm work will be
used for excursions during vacations. And in the summer months the buses
will transport children to beaches and other points. Thus the life, study,
work and vacations will be organized in the primary schools.

Santiago de Cuba and Matanzas are organizing similar projects for 4th, 5th,
and 6th-graders. Other areas will follow suit, and transportation
facilities to implement the projects will be provided. At the Alamar
project, where the schools also were built by plus-work, work and study is
also being combined. However, this is a different kind of work--some
factory work that children can perform, though of course we are
insufficiently developed industrially to carry out such a program with
hundreds of thousands of primary school children in cities.

Nonetheless, we can implement a program for farming handily. Some schools
in Orient, Las Villas and Havana provinces have the work-and-study system.
Youths between 16 and 19 are attending technological institutes or
polytechnic schools, working and studying. We have not the slightest doubt
that these endeavors will be translated into molding new
generations--generations with a well-rounded education and a work-and-study
habit, since that will be a firm prerequisite for future societies.

The director of this school stated just now that the children who will be
trained here must follow the traditions of the generations that preceded
them. This is a fact, for since our country developed its conscientiousness
as a nation, our generations have been combative, heroic. However, those
generations had no opportunity for training, growing and educating
themselves like the new generations have.

But our sincerest hope is not that you become like the foregoing
generations, but better. Past generations had the chance to fight, but you
above all will have a chance to develop yourselves under new theories,
ideas and norms which will form a type of man that is more solidarity,
fraternal and human, since higher types of human beings must have such
virtues. That is our firmest hope.

The youngsters who will be, who are studying here will realize the great
privilege that this opportunity means. Although thus "XX Anniversary"
school has just opened, we hope it too can parade on 1 May. We hope you can
do so with new uniforms, and with your own band, together with the other
secondary schools. [applause] We hope that you will be able to parade on
the workers' festive day, since you also are workers. Almost all the
schools in the country have bands, and the ones which do not will have them
in a few weeks. You must work hard to catch up with the older schools.

In addition I can tell you that we are trying to establish a musical
instrument factory so we can expand the [band] program--in Bejucal and
other cities. We also want all the primary schools to have musical
instruments. Then children will have some musical training when they reach
secondary schools. New uniforms are being made for students of the rural
and polytechnic schools.

We expect these schools to compete against each other in studies, in
discipline, and in the spirit to work. We want you to struggle for this "XX
Anniversary" school to be worthy of the name it bears [applause], worthy of
the mettle of those who built it. [applause]

But we also want you to strive to correct certain faults. I mean you should
punctually return after being on pass. [applause] On occasion, due to the
weakness of the pupil or, unquestionably the weakness of the family--and I
should note that some families think they help the pupil when they are
actually harming him--weak excuses are presented for returning late to
school on Monday. Often a half or a full day of schooling is lost. The
student organization or the Union of Young Communists [UJC] group in the
schools should struggle against such faults in discipline. The young
organizations should struggle to develop the best attitudes toward work,
fulfillment of standards and application of technical methods.

We are generally very pleased at the way these schools are functioning. But
we always should work for improvement. We should ensure progress in study,
work, discipline, cultural development, political awareness and sports. You
shall not develop an isolated school here. You have the Quivican I and
Bernardo O'Higgins schools functioning near this area, [applause] and three
more schools are going up rapidly. In the first phase a total of 2,500
youngsters will be attending school here. The schools can compete with each
other, individually and at the district level. Thus you can take part in
sharp competition to make your school the best.

That is what we want from you, what we ask of you, in the name of those who
struggled, fell and perished 20 years ago, as well as in the name of the
heroic, unselfish workers who built this school. [applause] We feel certain
that you shall respond to this request, this wish, and that those men, like
us, will be proud of the achievements of this school, "XX Anniversary."

Fatherland or death. We shall win.