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[Report of speech delivered by Cuban Prime Minister Maj Fidel Castro at a
ceremony held at the Eduardo Garcia Delgado Electronics Institute in Rancho
Boyeros, Havana, to mark the completion of the school and several others
throughout the island, and the beginning of the 1973-74 academic year in
Cuba; Havana Radio/TV, Spanish, 2305 GMT, 22 October 1973]

[Children chant slogans as Fidel approaches podium]

Comrades of the party and government leadership, distinguished
guests, workers who built this school, students: Today we hold this event
to officially mark the beginning of the 1973-1974 school year. Due to
various reasons, this event did not exactly coincide with the beginning of
the school term.

Our education has improved year after year since the triumph of
the revolution, but in the term that just ended there was a true
qualitative leap forward. Our country's educational system constantly
advances and gains in quantity and quality. That is why we will have to
give some numbers, beginning with the level of education, that is, the
percentage of students, or children and youth of school age, who are

For example, we have statistics for the school year 1956-1957,
prior to the revolution. Then, the percentage of students in school was
56.4 and this school term it is 98.5. Of every 1,000 children of school
age, some 985 are registered in our schools; the remaining 15 per 1,000
cannot attend school, primarily due to health reasons. Some 97 percent of
the students remain in school.

In the year 1958, we had 717,000 children registered in primary
schools. In this year that begins today, we have 1,898,000 children.
[Castro shuffles papers] Another example: In the 1958-1959 school term,
there were 21,600 students graduated from the sixth grade; in the 1963-1964
school term, there were 64,000. In the 1972-1973 school year which just
ended, there were 134,171 sixth grade graduates. The Baracoa Region is not
included in this figure because they have a different study period from the
rest of the schools.

In the year 1958, there were 88,000 students in the intermediate
level. in the school term that has just begun, we have 370,000. In the year
1958, there were approximately 48,000 students in the seveth to tenth
grades which constitute our present basic secondary schools. In the school
year that has just begun, we have in those four grades, some 235,000
students. In the school year that has just begun, there are approximately
80,000 new basic secondary school students. In other words, in just one
year, more, or as many, students have registered in the basic secondary
schools as there were registered in that level during the time of the
triumph of the revolution. In the year 1958, the number of students
attending technological institutes was 15,000. In this school year that has
just begun, we have 60,000.

In higher level education -- we have statistics for the year 1956
because the universities were closed in 1958 -- there were 15,000 students
in higher education. In the year 1973, we now have 50,000. Of these, more
than 10,000 are workers who are studying in universities. The total number
of students registered in the year 1958 was 811,000. The total number of
students registered in the year 1973, including adult education, is
2,690,000, almost one out of every 3 persons is systematically studying in
our country.

We have introduced the work-study system by means of the basic
secondary rural schools, the polytechnic schools, the technoloigical
institutes and universities. And at this time we have more than 140,000
secondary and higher-level students studying under the work-study system.
In addition to turning out manufactured products, those students are
farming 5,500 caballerias of various products.

Another notable gain has been the formation and development of the
teaching detachment. [Applause] That detachment was born of the pressing
need for meeting the tremendous increase in secondary-level students. There
were 1,100 student teachers who answered the first call. And 3,200 answered
the second call -- a total of 4,300 -- thereby meeting the need for
teachers at the secondary level. Thus, we are training excellent teaching

A general comment on graduations in general. During the 1972-73
year, graduations exceeded any of the 14 years prior to the revolution.
Some 1,511,000 primary school students passed -- approximately 84 percent
of the total number studying.

Ninety percent of the sixth-grade students passed. And 97.4
percent of all the basic secondary school students passed. This evidence a
total success of the work-study system. [Applause] This is the highest
index in our country, something which no one could imagine we would achieve
by this date in those schools.

In aggregate, taking into account the boarding and basic secondary
schools, the schools netted an 85.6 percent passing index. The same index
in 1971-72 was only 69 percent; in 1970-71 it was 76 percent. Thus, we can
observe that we have made remarkable gains in that level.

In the preuniversity schools, the passing index was 89 percent; in
the technological institutes, it was 92 percent. [Applause]

This year, all students in the basic secondary rural and
polytechnic schools have new uniforms. And all the students of the teaching
detachment and the teachers-training schools will soon have them. All the
technological institutes students will have new uniforms for the next
academic year. [Applause]

How the education budget has grown in our country! In 1957 -- the
academic year that began that year -- the budget was 79.4 million pesos.
That was prior to the revolution. In 1962 -- under the revolution, the
budget rose to 218.1 million; in 1965, the budget was 260.4 million; in
1970, it was 351.1 million; in 1972, it was 495.1 million; and in 1973, the
budget rose to 680.9 million. [Applause]

Investments in the present year amounted to 216.2 million pesos.
This means that we are investing for school construction almost three times
more than the entire education budget prior to the revolution. We also have
here the costs per student.

The average annual cost for a primary nonboarding school student
is 104.36 pesos; for a boarding school student, 331.05 pesos, and a
semiboarding school student, 175.75 pesos.

A word on general secondary-level school student costs. A
nonboarding student costs 289.79 pesos; boarding student, 487.70; and a
semiboarding student, 361.18.

Secondary-level technical-professional students costs are:
nonboarding student, 916.72 pesos; boarding student, 1,177.40 pesos; and a
semiboarding student, 1,003.07 pesos.

Higher-education school student costs are: nonboarding student,
1,103.43 pesos; boarding student, 1,303.63 pesos; and semiboarding student
1,174.82 pesos.

In special education, the cost for a nonboarding student is 576,81
pesos; for a boarding student, 784.90 pesos and semiboarding student,
648.20 pesos; a student of a rural basic secondary school costs 659.22
pesos annually. [Castro shuffles papers] This reflects the importance of
study and work, the need for continuing to develop this program in order to
introduce students into production so that our educational system will at
some point be practically paid for by the work of the students. For
example, this technological institute is located in the vicinity of the
location where a great plant for the production of radios, television sets,
and other electronic equipment will be constructed. All the students of
this school will work 4 hours in that plant every day, 20 hours per week.

The Lenin School, which is near this center, will also have its
corresponding shops, with which both schools will be able to more than pay
coarresponding shops, with which both schools will be able to more than pay
for their annual expenses, including the investment made in this

From the beginning, all rural secondary schools, all polytechnic
schools have been following this system and it will be followed by all the
intermediate educational systems in general until we have around one
million students in this system, including the university students, whom,
as we said, total 140,000.

It is expected that in the next decade, beginning with the year
1980, the educational expenses -- all educational expenses -- will be
compensated by the productive work of the students. There is no other
formula for a country such as ours that has to develop its economy on the
basis of hard work, because we do not have easy wealth among our natural
resources in order to pay for a program of universal education.

If we do not want to fall behind, if we do not want to be drowned
by the growing tide of youths reaching the secondary and higher levels of
education as a result of the educational efforts of recent years, we are
forced to make a great constructive effort. In reality the effort has been
great. We thought that this effort not only would satisfy the new
requirements, that is the annual growth of students in the secondary level,
but also would allow us to satisfy in part the requirements for lower
levels of education. But reality has demonstrated that the enormous effort
being made in educational construction barely suffices to take care of the
growth at the secondary level.

We once thought that, with the new rural secondary schools, we
would be able to make room in the cities for primary schools, space now
occupied by the secondary levels. Almost 20 basic secondary schools have
been completed in Havana, and the Lenin School -- with its capacity for
4,100 students -- has not been dedicated today since it will be dedicated
at the end of the year. Despite all these new schools, in the city of
Havana there are more students this year in secondary schools as compared
to last year. The number of students in basic secondary schools continues
to grow in the cities, which makes the situation of educational centers in
the cities a very tense one.

When we have such a large number of graduates in the sixth grade,
above that anticipated for this date, it is easy to explain the increase in
registrations in that level of education. The number of sixth-grade
graduates will continue to grow every year. The task in the next 3 years
will not be easy, until we have new industrial material bases for
construction. We will have to grow at the same pace that the demand for
industrial installations grows despite the construction explosion that we
are witnessing.

On this occasion, properly stated, 102 educational installations
are being dedicated. [Applause] The smallest among them has a capacity for
500 students. Some have a capacity for 1,000, others for more than 1,000,
and in the great majority they are for students on scholarships.
Scholarship students may attend all of them, with the exception of some 11
which are not equipped for primary level boarding students. Some of them,
just as this one, have a capacity for more than 2,000 students. Of these,
102 schools, are rural basic secondary schools, and are in fact located in
the countryside.

Not all of them are of the secondary level because we are
experimenting with the rural preuniversity schools, and some of these
schools have been allocated to the training of teachers while appropriate
installations for this type of training are being constructed. Others have
been allocated to the training of physical education teachers. Others are
being temporarily occupied by part of the teaching detachment until the
training schools are constructed in each region of basic secondary schools,
and so on.

Of these 102 schools, 65 are of this basic secondary type. Of
these, 42 are for basic secondary education, 6 are rural preuniversity
institutes, one is a polytechnic school, 2 are primary education
teacher-training schools, 2 are for physical education teacher-training,
and one is the Camilo Cienfuegos Military School.

There are eight vocational schools. In other words, the first
grades of these will be for high-grade students who have been sent to basic
secondary rural schools until the schools being built in each province,
some of which already are under construction, are completed.

And, finally, three of the 65 schools temporarily are being used
to train teachers. And, in addition to the 65 schools, there are 37 others.
Of the latter, 15 are polytechnic schools; one is for training primary
school teachers -- one has been completed for this; seven are technological
institutes; three are universities; 11 are primary semiboarding schools --
built by the Giron system.

Of course, these figures do not include many other primary schools
that are under construction. Before the end of this year, more than 40
additional educational centers will have been completed. We should
highlight the effort made by the builders to provide our country with these
installations. [Applause] And we should impress them with the need to
sustain and even increase their efforts.

As for this school, which was selected for holding this ceremony,
it is a center for electronic studies. [Applause] It has a capacity for
2,200 students in the following categories: secondary-level
electro-mechanic students, 268; instrumentation and control, 450;
electronic industry, 352 -- a subtotal of 1,070. Journeymen workers:
electro-mechanic technician, 270; industrial instrument technician, 320;
telecommunications equipment technician, 270; radio mechanics technician,
270 -- a subtotal. of 1,130. According to the projection made, this school
annually would turn out 320 journeymen and 230 middle-level technicians --
graduating a total of 550.

Four hundered and forty students would enter annually to train as
journeymen, and 320 as secondary-level technicians.

Study plans and occupational profiles of the various specialties
are as follows: secondary-level technician, entry requirement, ninth grade;
length of course, seven semesters -- 3 1/2 years. Fields include electronic
industry technician for assembling lines of electronic equipment;
electromechanic technician for maintaining, repairing and assembling
electromechanical equipment; instrumentation and automatic control
technician for maintaining, repairing, and assembling equipment and
instructions for controlling and automatic regulation of industrial

For a journeyman worker: the entry requirement, eighth grade;
length of course, 5 semesters -- 2 1/2 years. Fields include radio
mechanics technician for repairing radio and television receivers;
electro-mechanics technician for repairing electro-mechanical equipment;
instrumentation technician for repairing and maintaining industrial
measuring and regulating equipment; telecommunications technicians for
repairing and maintaining telecommunications equipment.

This school, just as the one we are dedicating today -- the
refrigeration institute -- in Las Villas, is being built under the
SIDA-UNESCO [Swedish International Development Agency - United Nations
Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization] projects. [Applause] In
other words, it is being built with the (interrupted by applause and
chanting) cooperation of the Swedish Government, which is providing notable
aid to our country's educational program. [Applause]

Sweden is providing resources basically for the laboratories. For
each of the schools I have mentioned have their respective laboratories,
and these are costly. And this is apart from the cooperation we are
receiving in other educational fields in terms of general teaching

This technological institute has 53 classrooms, 34 laboratories, a
calculating center, seven shops, and a library for 120 students. [Applause]
Not all the laboratories are equipped as yet, because when the project for
this school was conceived, it was estimated that it would take 4 years to
complete -- both the project for technological assistance and the project
to supply the laboratories. But the school was built in just 2 years.
[Applause] Thus, though the school is built, all of the laboratories
planned for it have not been completed.

And, in general, all the laboratories will be completed by the end
of next year. But currently it has some already equipped laboratories,
which are undoubtedly magnificent. So as to have an idea of that quality,
suffice to say that the value of the equipment for the laboratories will
amount to approximately one million dollars. [Applause] Naturally, we have
never had a school so magnificently equipped. And in general, we make sure
that we provide the educational equipment to all the schools that we build
in order to attain the quality that our education demands.

This school, this institute, has more than classrooms,
laboratories, and shops. Like other installations -- that is, the other
schools -- it also has, of course, the material base for other activities.
Specifically, this one will have a gymnasium with three basketball courts,
four volleyball courts, two baseball fields, and a 400-meter track. And
this is without counting the hallway in the main building, a wide one, 221
meters long, where one can even practice the sport [track). We were looking
at it and remembered Figueroa -- Figuerola [Castro corrects himself]. And
we estimated how long Figuerola would take at his maximum speed, in his
prime, [? to run that hallway]. From one end to the other, he would require
at least 23 or 24 seconds, almost half a minute. You have all the necessary
space there. However, although we are still slightly behind schedule on the
athletic fields, we hope you will not find it necessary to use the hallway.

You will also have a soccer field. I am not going to give any more
details about the school. [Crowd shouts: "the swimming pool"] The theater
is not here. [Presumably referring to his papers -- Castro makes indistinct
asides] The theater is not here. The theater has been lost. [Castro is
presumably noting that a reference to the school's theater was omitted from
his notes] since it really has not been finished, it is not proper to
report it here. But it is under construction.

You are thinking about the swimming pool. [Indistinct reaction
from crowd] But I am thinking primarily of your graduation. [Applause --
crowd chants: "We will fulfill."] Every year a number of swimming pools are
built in schools. I wish we could build them in all schools since it is a
wonderful sport, and we hope someday to beat the United States in the
swimming competitions. [Applause and chanting] But swimming pools are
needed to progress in that sport and swimming pools are costly. That is why
every year we decide on the number of swimming pools, but we have
established a rule. With the exception of vocational schools, which do not
have as many athletic installations as you have, which are very large and
which admit students because of their records, it has been decided to
construct swimming pools based on the number of graduates. Therefore, you
have a wonderful opportunity to have a swimming pool. [Chanting from crowd
makes asides by Castro indistinct] possibly. . . [Castro leaves thought
unfinished] If Maximo Gomez [?school] [chanting] it will probably get its
swimming pool. There are other awards for schools which win top honors.

Someday we will also have to build swimming pools in the primary
schools because it is said that in order to produce good swimmers one must
throw the young ones in the water as soon as they are born in order to see
how they float.

The workers in Alamar (housing project], for example, who are
building their town with their micro-brigades are building their own
swimming pools. But we give them the materials and they contribute their
labor through plus-work.

But the time will come, the time will come when we will learn to
save the water which we waste today, when we have our [water] meter factory
ask everyone to contribute and charge those who use too much water. We can
assign a certain quantity of water to each person, but we cannot permit
people to waste water. You already understand that water is required for
new housing, new schools, and new factories. Water is needed for
agriculture. We build many dams. We explore subterranean basins. But all
that is insufficient if we waste the water. And furthermore, if we also
want swimming pools, and we want to become good swimmers, we will have to
learn how to save water.

But the day will also come when -- with development, new
resources, greater efficiency in the economy, better organization, and
greater productivity -- we will be able to have all these things which we
want so much. Of course, you from this technological institute are going to
be more fortunate, or at least your children. [Laughter] Perhaps they will
be living during times when, as a result of the increased productivity
attained through the automation in your work and through electronics, we
will have more resources to build swimming pools. It is a deal. Right?

The cost of this school is more than 3 million pesos. So now you
know. Bear that in mind in order to care for it adequately. It really is a
magnificent school. From the outside one cannot easily grasp its true
dimensions. We came here before it was constructed, we were here while it
was being constructed, and we were impatient with the brigade. At times we
felt that they were not advancing very rapidly.

But we must tell the truth. Even after it was finished, and we
went around it, it seemed large to us. But after touring the installations
have we seen its true dimensions. We felt admiration for the workers who
constructed it. [Applause]

But they should not rest upon their laurels because of this. I
understand that they will soon start building a school even larger than
this one. I think it is the Havana Elementary School Teachers' School No 2.
[Cheers and applause] I suppose they will have to get help from another
brigade. I hope not. [Crowd boos -- Castro chuckles] This is a school for
4,500 students, in the eastern part of Havana.

But this school is very good, and has the good fortune to be
located not only beside the projected electronics plant, but also close to
the Martinez Villena Technological Institute with its beneficial centers.
[Applause] It was necessary to take some land from the Martinez Villena
school in order to construct this school. They are close to green pastures,
many dairies, magnificent cattle. It seems as if they are surrounded by
riches on all sides. [Applause]

Above all, it offers them the privilege of the scenery which
surrounds this school. We are all very satisfied, all the comrades who have
had the opportunity to see it experienced a profound happiness, thinking
that our youths will have these magnificent material surroundings for their
studies. Perhaps a few of us even felt a little invious since we do not
belong to your generation [laughter] and are not able to enjoy the benefits
of a school such as this one.

Upon arriving at one of the classrooms where a group of young
female comrades was waiting for us, among the different mottos and slogans
there was one which a comrade was holding aloft; it was the slogan of "Long
Live Communism, Long Live Communism, Long Live Communism." [Applause] And
we thought, how right she is! In the purpose and dream of our people
marching down the bright path of coulmunism, only through the socialist
revolution, can installations such as this one be conceived and
constructed; [Applause] can our youth be endowed with these magnificent
material surroundings for their lives, studies, and future. Because you
will be the heirs [?to the] future wealth, the future welfare, the future
that is being wrought with this effort.

I just want to mention the other technological institute which is
also being finished today, and which will also be equipped through the
SIDA-UNESCO project: The Santa Clara Technological Institute, with a 2,140
student capacity is a mechanics center. It will train middle-level
technicians in the following specialties: climatization, 104 students;
moderate refrigeration, 104; food refrigeration, 52; production
engineering, 572; design and construction of appliances and tools, 156;
design and construction of molds for plastic and rubber, 156; design and
construction of molds and dies, 156, for a subtotal of 1,300 students
studying for middle-level technicians; qualified workers for commercial and
industrial refrigeration, 840, for a total of 2,140 students at this

At this moment this school is already in operation and through the
electronic media, that is through television and radio, they are
participating in this dedication. [Applause] Other technological institutes
are being dedicated: the cattle institute in Camaguey, the forestry
institute in Pinar del Rio -- constructed on a beautiful plateau, with a
1,200 student capacity -- the technological institute of the textile
industry in [?Arquitecta].

A large group of polytechnic schools are being inaugurated at the
sugar centers. To all the students who are entering these schools, our
greetings, our congratulations, our appeal to struggle to improve further
the promotional levels which will need a greater effort each year if we not
want to fall back, because it is not the same to increase an 85 percent
promotion rate as it was to increase a 76 percent promotion rate. In the
basic high schools in the country, it is not the same to improve a low
average as it will be to improve a 97.4 percent average.

We are reaching levels where every fraction of a percent will
require a greater effort. We will continue constructing technological
institutes, polytechnical schools, basic high schools, pre-university
schools, primary schools, and schools of all types. We will stress the
construction of polytechnical schools in the vicinity of the industries,
and we will go ahead with the basic high schools program.

The Education Ministry has made important advances and therefore
deserves the recognition of our people, our government, and our party.
[Applause] For this year it has outlined a series of tasks, summarized in
11 points. The principal tasks of the Mind [Education Ministry) during the
1973-1974 school year, as set forth in its documents, are:

1 -- To work to raise the quality of educational services in all

2 -- To continue generalizing the application of study and work,
to strengthen its control and evaluation.

3 -- To progressively establish the study of Marxixm-Leninism in
high schools.

4 -- To carefully prepare the revolutionary government's
prospective medium and long term plans.

5 -- To continue to accord priority to the development and
training of teaching personnel. To pay special attention to the Manuel
Ascunze Domenech Pedagogy Detachment.

6 -- To insure the organization and inauguration of the new basic
high schools in the countryside, pre-universities in the countryside,
polytechnic schools, vocational schools, schools for the development of
teachers, and other types of envisioned centers.

7 -- To carry out quality-improvement training courses for
teachers at university, high school, and basic levels.

8 -- To accord priority to the work of the National Permanent
Commission for the Review of Programs and the Study of Textbooks.

9 -- To control the uses and movement of the students cumulative

10 -- To continue the study of the national education system

11 -- To expand the application of the system of promotion by
cycles in primary education.

These are the tasks outlined by the ministry for this year, all of
which deal with the improvement and quality of our education system.

Our educational workers perform a noble and difficult task. These
years have been filled with tension. We still do not have all the teaching
staffs, but we do not relax our effort to gain them. Many schools are being
built; to train primary grade teachers so as to allow for a permanent
capacity of 36,000 students in these schools -- it is possible that with
the use of certain additional installations this figure may even approach
40,000 students -- to train primary grade teachers and to make them better
qualified each time, to train professors, for which we have the magnificent
base of the detachment; to train polytechnic and technologic school and
university professors; to train them in sufficient numbers and even more
than sufficient, so that the day [will come] that we have an abundance of
professors, making possible the retraining and requalification of the
current professors, in order to have an abundance available for our needs,
and if necessary to aid sister nations whenever the circumstances so
warrant. [Applause]

Doctors, many doctors and teachers are being trained. We also
strive to train engineers, economists, and technicians in all fields,
because many times sister nations in dire conditions -- in poverty,
striving for development -- request this assistance from us. Sometimes
there is talk of many professionals in some countries, but when the moment
arrives to serve the people, then the professionals are few, extremely few.
We recall the case of our country, how it was easy for imperialism to take
our doctors from us. Fortunately, how we have many more than before, and
they are better trained and distributed throughout the country. [Applause]
They are doctors ready for any sacrifice or effort, such as those who went
to Peru, to Vietnam, and recently to the Middle East to offer their
cooperation to the Arab sister countries. [Applause]

But we also recall the case of Chile, we recall our visits through
the northern region of the country, through Antofagasta, Iquique, the
worker zones. In Antofagasta, with a population of more than 100,000
inhabitants, there was a lack of many medical specialties. They asked us
for more than 20 specialists and we were in a position to send specialists
in many vital fields -- for example eye specialists -- and many other
fields which are of enormous importance. They did not have specialists to
attend to all the children, and we were ready to send them but the
[Chilean] medical class protested. They were not disposed to go to the
workers to offer their services, but neither were they disposed to permit
other countries to send doctors willing to go to the workers in order to
save children's lives, to save human lives. [Applause]

And we witnessed the strikes against the Popular Unity. And this
is what happens with many of these lprofessionals who, unfortunately, adopt
the position of a reactionary class which, in the case of a doctor, is an
unhumane and inconceivable attitude. This is why one must not depend on the
number of university graduates. One must ask to what class they belong, and
which class they are willing to serve. And many of our professionals in
Latin America [Applause] are taken by the imperialists through the brain
drain -- paying them high salaries and flattering their vanity -- and
others are entirely at the service of the exploiting classes. And when the
time comes to serve the people, then there is a scarcity, no one then knows
the thousands and tens of thousands who graduated from the universities.

That is why we graduate revolutionary technicians. We graduate
revolutionary professionals to serve the people, to serve their people, and
to serve any people who might need it with a profound internationalist
spirit. [Applause]

That is the type of technician we want to train. Socialist
technicians. Communist technicians. And to train those future generations,
the essential thing is the seed, the essential thing is the teacher --
socialist teachers, communist teachers to train those revolutionary
technicians. The revolution will work tenaciously, and will make every
effort to provide material bases such as this one, and resources such as
this one. The students will make every effort to carry on this program, to
defray it economically. We look to the future optimistically because we see
you, because we see the fruit of education during recent years, because we
believe in you, because we trust in you. [Applause] Fatherland or death. We
will win. [Applause]

CSO: 4202-F