Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19800901
-YEAR-
1980
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
SPEECH
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
OPENING OF THE 1980-82 SCHOOL TERM
-PLACE-
SAN JOSE DE LAS LAJAS NATL ANIMAL HEALTH CENTER
-SOURCE-
HAVANA DOMESTIC SERVICE
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19800901
-TEXT-
PRESIDENT CASTRO INAUGURATES 1980-1981 SCHOOL TERM

FL020010  Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2229 GMT 1 Sep 80

[Speech by Cuban President Fidel Castro at the San Jose de las Lajas
National Animal Health Center to declare the 1980-1981 school term
open--live]

[Text] Comrades: It looks as if the rains want to visit us this afternoon.
Even though the water is welcome, above all during these months of August
and September, for the sugarcane and livestock, perhaps we will have to get
a little wet today. I will try to be as brief as possible but I have to say
some things about this new center. [crowd yells "No"]

This year we open the school term not at a rural secondary school, or a
vocational school, or a school for sports activities, or a teacher training
school, or a technological institute. We are doing it as what is perhaps
one of the most beautiful and fruitful efforts of the revolution. We are
opening the school term at this scientific institution and doing it with
this scientific institution. We could not say in reality that the
institution is being dedicated precisely today, because this institution
has been operational for several years. It has been more than 10 years
since the first comrades were selected for training for future work here.
We can remember perfectly the enthusiastic response from several comrades.
They were graduates from the school of medicine.

They began their training at the National Scientific Research Work Center
when this, as well as other institutions, were on the drawing board. Prior
to that, the Animal Nutrition Center had been created. In this same area,
where the school of agronomy was going to be located, where it is being
built and where it is already partially located, [as heard] there were
going to be three research centers: one for animal health, another for
vegetable health and another was an agricultural research center, and the
animal nutrition center would have to be the fourth. There has been an
ongoing effort here on research work dealing with vegetable health and also
agricultural research work, even though the country has several
agricultural research work centers.

Nevertheless, today we can dream about the day when there will be an
institution such as this for vegetable research. I believe no one doubts
the great importance of the need for protecting our agriculture, our
livestock in general from all kinds of diseases for a country in whose
economy and in whose well-being agriculture plays a fundamental role.
Perhaps if this statement had been made 10 or 15 years ago, it would not
have been understood as it is today. During this one year, we have been
affected by three serious plagues, one of which is the sugarcane rust which
must have cost hundreds of millions of pesos to the country in foreign
currency, since the damage caused to the harvest in our judgment amounts to
nearly one million tons of sugar. Not only did it reduce practically by
half the yield of one of our best cane varieties, but it also diminished by
approximately 30 or 40 percent that cane's yield in sugar. The damage was
even greater than we had initially estimated.

During this same year, we had the problem of the blue mold in the tobacco
crop which destroyed 85 percent of the tobacco production. This same year
we have had the swine fever. Fortunately it has already been controlled,
for the second time in our country. We know that when that plague has
penetrated other countries, be it Brazil, or the Dominican Republic, or
Haiti, to cite just a few, they have been successful in controlling it. You
all know the contagious nature of that epidemic and the terrible damage it
can cause to our livestock, to the swine herds. But livestock, which plays
a fundamental role in the material well-being of our people and in feeding
our people, is exposed to various diseases, some of them very grave.

Thus, it was elementary commonsense and elementary to the revolution's
responsibility to create the material and technical means as well as the
personnel needed to protect agriculture from these dangers. I believe that
in future years history will record the value of a project such as this and
the usefulness it represents for the country. But what is being completed
today is the process of construction of the center.

In reality, we can say that we are dedicating it because this year it was
competed, even though some items are still missing. I can say that
auditorium has no curtains and the film projectors are missing. Another
thing which is very important, the treatment plant, has not yet been
installed. I can assure you that the treatment plant will be installed just
as the auditorium will have its curtains and projectors. [applause]

We have also examined some problems which could emerge in the operation of
the center, such as spare parts and maintenance of that enormous amount of
highly sophisticated equipment which you have in this center. Today we
learned, even though the x-ray equipment cannot yet be used, it needs an
essential tube. I believe that in a very few weeks that part will be
completed, but it is very important to maintain this equipment and to have
a flexible and rapid mechanism to solve all problems that might come up
with the spare parts and the chemicals also. We all know that some of the
chemicals that you use have an expiration date of 3 months in some cases,
and it is necessary to have chemical available in adequate conditions.

We are going to examine [the problem] and seek practical and flexible
formulas so that we do not have to listen to complaints, such as "there are
no spare parts for the equipment or we do not have chemicals and work
materials."

We were greatly pleased to see the technical equipment you are
manufacturing in this center's shop. This equipment is very useful in
agriculture. Perhaps, if we keep trying, the shop could produce other badly
needed equipment. Maybe we might even export some of that equipment. This
does not mean that we are going to have here a technical equipment factory
but, in a sense, you have already transformed the shop into a small
factory.

Equipment costing us $500 to $600 abroad could possibly be produced by you
for $100 or $150. That is quite a saving. By producing that equipment the
country saves a lot of money. It saves foreign currency. Doubtlessly, the
most important thing, what pleases us the most, is the spirit of the
center's workers. The center has been rededicated and is being rededicated
with a new spirit, a new concept. First of all, the center is tied to
production as the fundamental thing. To understand, to know, to be aware of
the fact that this center must be at the service of production, that
research is conducted to support production is extremely important.
Research is not conducted for no reason at all. Sometimes there are cases
of research called pure. I believe that is the terminology used in this
case. But that is somewhat important.

Research for production and as support for production should never be
underestimated. In this field we have traversed some distance already. Not
always have research, researchers or the institutions been aware of that
problem. We have learned of cases of research which were totally alien to
production, centers which were divorced from production and the problems
that our country needed to solve. I am absolutely sure that not always,
almost as a rule, we have not made full use, not made correct use of the
installations, equipment and resources we have for research.

I believe we have the obligation of going deeper into these problems. Those
who have given greater dedication, who have a better record and more
potential should be assigned to research. It is not a matter of assigning a
graduate to a research center just because he is a graduate. We know that
in the field of research there have been cases of some who do not even have
an aptitude for research.

But because of a certain degree of rigidity, some of these personnel or
those personnel who could be useful to the country in other activities are
not used in other activities and remain at the centers, I would say, as
ballast, as dead weight. I would say that they do not have the soul of a
researcher's soul or a scientist's soul. They do not like research.

There are others for whom research is something related to absolutely
personal aspirations. The researcher must have the vocation, the clear
consciousness of serving the country and, at the same time, of course,
satisfying the need for discovering new things, creating new things. But if
you ask a revolutionary researcher, his response would unquestionably be
that science and the effort at the service of the country are above
everything. In this center we believe we see that philosophy of working for
the country.

There are a large number of new cadres whose average age is promising.
There is a group of very young researchers. Ninety six of them are party
members and many of them are members of the Communist Youth. I asked about
party progress and I was told it is doing well. This is of great importance
in a center such as this one. Generally, the party makes better progress in
a factory than in a center with many intellectuals. We intellectuals
usually have--even though I do not count myself among the intellectuals, I
say this because I do not want to sound as if I were boasting--we usually
have more difficulties, more petit bourgeois habits, fewer proletarian
habits and less proletarian awareness. That is the truth. Sometimes there
are more problems among party militants in the intellectual sphere.
Nevertheless, the true fact is that there is a great revolutionary quality
among our intellectuals. [applause]

We can cite the example of our teachers. That is a sector having a great
revolutionary quality. It has been demonstrated. [applause] It has been
demonstrated not only by selfless work, by the great successes achieved in
the field of education in our fatherland, but also by their exemplary
internationalist attitude. [applause] We have the example set by our
physicians and the fact that nearly 2,000 physicians and health workers,
more than 1,000 of them physicians, are providing internationalist
services. [applause] They leave the country for 1 year, and 1 and 1/2 and
even 2 years. Some of them have gone abroad several times. The same thing
happens when we need an architect to fulfill an internationalist mission,
or an engineer, or a veterinarian. In other words, we have proof of the
revolutionary spirit of our intellectual workers. [applause]

It was explained to me that there are no problems of that type in this
center, of the type to which I was referring. This was excellent news for
us. That is why on a day like today the warmest wish that we can express is
that the proletarian spirit may always prevail among this center's
scientists. [applause]

While chatting with you during our tour of the center, we got the
impression that this is the case. We expect that it will become a vanguard
center. [applause] I feel that all conditions necessary for that are
present. I believe that you are highly stimulated by the gains you have
been attaining, by results. You are full of enthusiasm over the work.

Our country knows that if it were possible to eradicate African swine fever
in a very short period of time despite the fact it had spread to several
provinces, it was thanks to this center's rapid and efficient work.
[applause] If that gain would be the only one attained, we could say that
with such a service they have more than paid for this research work center.
[applause] Its cost was approximately 20 million pesos, equipment included.
We also know about many other efforts of great usefulness you are currently
putting forth for our livestock, not only cattle but also swine and
poultry. We know of the struggle for decreasing pulmonary diseases in
calves and we know of the results attained. Your efforts, your struggle
against brucellosis, tuberculosis, mastitis and a number of other diseases
which could cause great losses to the economy and considerably affect
production are known to us.

The great success achieved by Havana Province's cattle industry, which over
a period of several days attained a production well over 1 million liters
[applause]--five times the production of 10 years ago--in part is due to
this center's work.

But, for the country to have a center such as this is a guarantee that the
fulfillment of the pledges delivered to me today by the cattle industry
workers will be a reality and that the level of milk production will
continue to increase in this province and the entire country. I repeat,
this center represents a guarantee to the attainment of such goals.
[applause] It is a guarantee for being able to eradicate diseases and
prevent new ones. Studies and plans on what to do in the case of any new
disease are conducted here so that they may be applied immediately if
needed. The cadres have specialized not only in diseases existing in our
country but in diseases existing in other countries. [applause]

It is not just a matter of solving problems but something more
important--avoiding problems. There is talk not only of remedial medicine
in livestock but also of preventive medicine, a concept which as been so
valuable for the enormous success of our revolution in the field of public
health. [applause] They have applied the same principle. It was not in vain
that 29 researchers of this center, including the director, studied human
medicine. I believe that this combination of veterinary specialists and
physicians who have become specialists in animal health must bear fruit.

We must keep up the pace of medicine with respect to animal production in
the same manner as we do in the field of human medicine, not only because
it is the most efficient thing to do, but also because to a great human
health depends on nourishment and thus depends on animal health. These two
things are closely related. The center is making a great effort in the
reduction of the number of barren cows, in all problems related to
reproduction. This is of an enormous economic importance. It also makes a
great effort in the care of calves, in the prevention of calf diseases.

You all know that one of the greatest efforts being made in our country
today is directed at increasing the number of births and at reducing the
death rate of calves or in breeding in general. Without this center,
without all the research and analyses conducted here, no matter how great
an effort is made and attention given by livestock workers, it would be
impossible to obtain successes in this field.

The research projects conducted by the center already number in the
hundreds; the scientific and technical services provided by the center to
production enterprises amount to hundreds. Today's newspapers published a
broad report on the center so I am not going to give details. Also very
important, very important, is the work conducted by this research center in
training, or we could state it better by saying in improving, technical
personnel working in livestock enterprises. I know that hundreds of
comrades from throughout the country train at this center and take courses
of study here. With that type of activity this center becomes a forge of
technicians. It forms researchers, scientists. The specialists who train
here and those who come from the production centers to train here represent
a service of the highest value to the country. We recommend that you
continue to give the greatest attention to this.

It is necessary to solve the problem of housing for those students
attending this center. We must seek a practical formula. This brings to
mind the problems related to housing in this center because it is located
many kilometers from the city. We know that many of you have to travel a
long distance. We also know that the first apartment building is already
under construction. We expect this will by only the first one, that others
will be built in the area near the center. Nothing could be more reasonable
than to begin to give attention to this problem, to the construction of
housing in areas near the center.

We believe that another important matter is transportation. I expect that
in coming years these two problems will be solved, that these needs will be
met. I believe that no other place is more proper, no other time more
propitious to inaugurate the new school term then this center and this
moment. [applause]

It is necessary to discuss the school term itself, using some figures I
have with me. This is an activity in which we feel promising successes are
being achieved. Perhaps I should express a thought before I continue on
this subject. It is something related to the center. We believe, or we are
sure, or we know, that there is nothing like this center in all of Latin
America. It is also very possible and almost certain that no underdeveloped
country, that none of the countries of the so-called Third World has a
center like this one, with the resources this center has, with the
personnel this center has. [applause]

But we are located in a tropical zone. We are located in the area of
underdeveloped countries. I mention this because of the efforts being made
here. All this is related to the creation of new breeds in which you are
working very actively. All this is related to the struggle against disease.
This center is of great value not only to Cuba. It has a great value to all
of Latin America and to all underdeveloped countries. [applause] It is
necessary to be aware of the fact that whatever is done here will only
benefit our country, but could also benefit hundreds, more than hundreds,
thousands of millions of people who live in countries such as ours. None of
those countries today has anything like this center.

Coincidentally, an FAO regional conference is taking place in Cuba attended
by several agriculture ministers and vice ministers as well as technical
personnel from all Latin America and Caribbean countries. This morning when
we declared the conference open, we examined the circumstances that within
the next two decades the world population will grow from the present 4.3
billion to approximately 6.4 billion. Every 5 days the population increases
by 1 million. That occurs every 5 days. Every year approximately 75 million
people are added to the world population. By the year 2000, 100 million
people will be added each year. Some 90 percent of that increase in
population is located in the area of underdeveloped countries. That is 90
percent. This means that within 20 years, 2 decades, more than 5 billion
people will be living in the presently underdeveloped countries.

We know what this means in efforts to feed and dress all those people. We
know what it means in medical attention, education, housing, employment for
those billions of people. I believe this should stimulate our sense of
historic responsibility. It is not yet known how the world community will
confront these problems. You, this center's workers, and our country may
have the satisfaction that the effort you are making today is an important
contribution to solution of the problem. For example, we might make great
progress in the development of milk-producing breeds. We could even develop
a tropical Holstein breed--we know that we can do it--as well as new stock
derived from crossbreeding. This idea of a tropical Holstein is important
because we have a large number of them.

And it could be even quicker than new breeds because for new breeds you
have to work by means of genetic combinations, and with a Holstein breed we
would have to work by means of selection with the large number available.
Let me cite just one example of the many that could be cited which give us
an idea about how much we can help with the research we are doing in the
solution of the food problems of those thousands of millions in the Third
World. Yes, it would be a modest contribution but a valuable one, because
science will have to play a very important role in the solution of the
problem. The agricultural research centers will have to do as much. They
work in the development of new varieties. They are the ones who study plant
genetics, plant diseases, the function of plants, the results that can be
achieved through the optimal application of technology.

We would sincerely line--if there were enough time--for the FAO delegates
here to make a brief visit to this center. It would be a useful visit. It
is not that we want to show off the center. Rather, we would like to
express to them, communicate to them the efforts we are making to see in
what way these efforts could be of use to other countries in this
hemisphere. [applause]

Concerning the school year: This past year registration was 3,453,000
students. This includes the mid-level centers attached to other organs and
at the university level, the students abroad taking military courses, party
courses and those enrolled in correspondence courses. This means that for
every 2.3, 2.83 [Castro corrects figure] inhabitants there is one enrolled
at a study center. And these figures do not include short training courses,
only full training courses for workers and technicians.

This school year which has just ended, 40,000 more students have graduated
at the middle level than at the elementary level. That is, 281,200
mid-level students graduated, and 240,600 students graduated from
elementary school. It is interesting to see how at this time our country is
graduating more middle level students than elementary students. Of course,
this has to do with the structure of the population. But is has a lot to do
with the huge effort made in our country in these past years. During the
past 5-year period, 1976-80, 1,290,000 students have graduated from sixth
grade. This figure is 5.6 times the number of graduates in the first 5-year
period of the revolution, 1959-65 [as heard], three times the number from
the 1965-70 period and almost double the number of graduates in the
previous 5-year period, 1971-75. Those are figures for sixth grade
graduates.

During this 5-year period, 574,800 students have graduated from basic
secondary school, a figure which is 10.4 times higher than that of the
first 5-year period from the triumph of the revolution, and 12.9 times the
figure for the 1966-70 period, and 7.2 times higher than the previous
5-year period. During this 5-year period, 105,100 students have graduated
from preuniversity school, a figure 6 times higher than that of the
previous 5-year period, 4.9 times the number of graduates in the 1966-70
period, and 4.3 times those graduates during the 1971-75 period. This year,
30,200 students graduated from preuniversity schools. In adult education
since 1962, 1,397,700 have graduated from sixth grade; 115,400 have
graduated from ninth grade and 52,700 from worker-peasant faculties.

This year, 103,200 [pauses, asks someone in the podium] I said worker
faculty, from worker-peasant education. 103,200 graduated this year: 22,300
from secondary schools and 8,500 from faculties. Since the 1960-1961 School
year to date, 285,100 middle-level technicians and skilled workers have
graduated. During this 5-year period, there have been 6.1 times more
graduates than during the first 5-year period, 4.1 times more than in the
previous 5-year period, 1970-75. This year, 50,300 graduated. In the last
5-year period, 67,900 elementary school teachers graduated, 25,700 from
teacher training schools and 42,200 from off-campus courses [estudios por
encuentros]. This figure is 3.6 times that of the previous 5-year period.
Likewise, 23,500 university-level teachers have graduated, a figure 5.3
times that of the 1970-75 period. This year, 20,700 students graduated from
universities and higher institutes, [figure indistinct] of whom belong to
higher pedagogical institutes.

Enrollment in elementary education is 1,550,300. This is 2.48 times higher
than the figure prior to the revolution and 76,700 fewer students than the
previous year. The number of students is going down at the elementary
school level. An enrollment of 1,480,000 is expected for 1980-1981. In the
1979-1980 school year, the enrollment in middle-level education is
1,150,300. This is 13 times higher than the enrollment at this level prior
to the triumph of the revolution. It is 76,000 more students than the
previous year. An enrollment of 1,159,000 students is expected for 1980-81.
The enrollment is special education is 2,600 students more than the year
before. An enrollment of 29,000 students is expected for 1980-1981 at this
level.

Enrollment in adult education went from 507,700 to 392,000. Thus, it
declined by 113,000 students. This is because the sixth grade battle is
ending and the ninth grade battle has not yet acquired all the desired
impetus. An enrollment of some 35,000 students of all kinds is expected for
1980-1981 in adult education, additional students. You give me the figures,
Fernandez [minister of education] but you also have to explain them to me
because your zero here is not too clear. [laughter] The enrollment is
350,000. Your typewriter is out of whack. [laughter]

Higher education rose by more than 50,000 students as compared to the
previous school year. This is largely because of correspondence courses in
certain areas of study.

Enrollment in nursery schools is 95,800 students as of June 1980. An
enrollment of 106,000 is expected for December. Ninety-eight point five
percent of the children between 6 and 12 years of age attend school; 81.1
percent of young people between 13 and 16 years of age attend school. Out
of each 100 students, 55.3 attend elementary school, 38.1 attend
middle-level school and 6.6 attend the universities.

To sum up, the expected enrollment for the 1980-1981 school year is as
follows: 120,000 in preschool; 1,480,000 in elementary school; 1,159,000 in
middle-level school; 29,000 in special school; 13,000 in youth movement;
350,000 in adult education; 215,000 in higher education.

Graduation figures for the school year just concluded have in general been
satisfactory: 93.9 in elementary school; 92.8 in basic secondary school;
93.4 in preuniversity school; 95.9 in technical and professional education;
97.6 in teacher training schools. In general these figures are higher than
for the previous school year.

At the elementary school level, the provinces with the percentage above the
nation's average were Havana City, Matanzas, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de
Avila, Camaguey, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo. Santiago had the
highest number of graduates at the elementary school level. [applause]

At the basic secondary level, the provinces with percentages above the
nation's average were Pinar del Rio, Havana City, Matanzas, Villa Clara,
Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba. [applause] The
highest number of graduates were in Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and Villa
Clara. They are above 97 percent.

At the preuniversity level, the provinces above the national average were
Havana, Havana City, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, Las Tunas, Holguin
and Santiago. [applause] The largest number of graduates belongs to Villa
Clara, which had 97.1 percent. [applause]

In technical and professional education, the provinces with graduation
figures above the national average were Pinar del Rio, Havana, Villa Clara,
Cienfuegos, Holguin and Santiago de Cuba. [applause] Holguin graduated
almost all its students: 99.8 percent [applause]

In teacher training schools, graduation figures were satisfactory in all
provinces. It was above 91 percent in all instances and in many instances
exceeded 95 percent. [applause]

Working in education are 212,678 teachers and professors in centers of all
types and levels-- 212,678. Of these, 91,317 are elementary teachers;
80,188 are middle level teachers; 4,936 are special education teachers;
24,201 are adult education teachers; 10,736 are university professors.

This figure of 212,000 [as heard] is approximately 9.4 times the teaching
personnel prior to the triumph of the revolution and 95,891 more than at
the beginning of the decade of the seventies. [applause] Today all
elementary teachers working in the classrooms have degrees. All of them,
100 percent. [applause]

In the recently concluded term there were 152,407 students studying in the
single network of pedagogic personnel. Of these, 40,276 were students and
103,131 were workers. This gives an idea of the improvement efforts carried
out by our professors and teachers.

In July 1980, 38,406 professors and teachers, 20,846 students and 26,580
workers graduated. A significant fact is that this year, 2,848 elementary
school teachers completed the preparatory course and have begun to study
for their elementary education degrees. [applause]

We must now undertake the task of improving the standard of the elementary
teachers who started their training with a sixth-grade education. You will
remember that for a long time they entered their elementary teacher
training with a sixth-grade education. For the past several years, however,
they are starting with a ninth-grade education; therefore, an improvement
effort must be made with the teachers who graduated after starting their
careers with a sixth-grade education. They must all complete their training
in 2-year courses, which will raise their level to the current study plan.

Now all this has had the great advantage of graduating many teachers. It
has given us sufficient teachers to send on internationalist missions,
chosen among certified teachers. Thus we have not only met the objective of
having certified teachers for all elementary schools, but also of having
thousands available who are now serving on internationalist missions.
[applause]

Having an additional number of teachers, we can easily carry out the
improvement of those teachers who graduated with a sixth-grade education,
because we can afford to send a teacher to study for a whole year and he
will be temporarily replaced by a new teacher. Thus, now the path ahead
will be easier. In fact I believe we have already left behind the most
difficult part of the program.

The large number of scholarships available in high school teaching prompted
the enlistment by many teachers who were not graduated to work on this
level. An example of this were the 30,000 elementary teachers who passed on
to high schools to prevent these classrooms from being without teachers. A
few years from now all grade school teachers will have completed the degree
of elementary teacher.

During 1979-1980 there were 10 courses offered for cadres, with a total of
984 students, which raises the figure to 5,317 cadres who have received
some kind of a course in the (Fulgencio Oroz) National School. It is
important to note that in the past school term, 1,506 teachers took some
kind of postgraduate course.

The makeup of the 13 internationalist detachments of students and teachers
should be noted: The Che Guevara Internationalist Teachers Detachment,
which is serving in the sister republic of Angola, is made up of 424
students; [applause] the Frank Pais Contingent of Elementary Teachers if
made up of 394 Cuban teachers who are working in Angola [applause]; and the
Augusto Cesar Sandino Contingent of Elementary Teachers has 2,000
elementary school teachers, all of whom will be in Nicaragua in the next
few days.

It is necessary to emphasize that this year there will already be over
3,000 internationalist teachers and that, particularly the teachers serving
in Nicaragua do so under difficult conditions in the most remote areas,
living among the peasants and the Indians, and are directly familiar with
the deplorable conditions of exploitation to which the people had been
subjected.

Compliance with the entry plan and continuity of the studies:

For this school course we have prepared a new entry plan which guarantees
the continuity of studies for the 240,000 students graduated from the sixth
grade, and the 177,000 students graduated from the ninth grade. Of the
240,000 graduates of the sixth grade, some 16,000 will participate in
qualified labor courses in the polytechnic centers and the rest will
continue studies in basic high schools. The 177,000 students graduated from
the ninth grade will be distributed approximately as follows: some 70,000
for preuniversity studies and some 60,000 for technical and professional
education, some 10,000 for teachers schools, and the rest for schools of
various organizations.

Compliance with the plan in certain schools is significant:

Schools for Nurses: Of a plan with 4,422 openings, 5,846 were granted. I
want to take this opportunity to tell you also that the curriculum of the
school of nursing has been changed. We were trying to do the impossible. In
3 years the students became nurses, received their high school diplomas and
in addition they needed the on-the-job training. An analysis of the
hospital situation and the opinions of doctors, the more experienced nurses
showed that is was impossible to comply with this program and that is was
detrimental to the practice of the profession. The new program provides for
an increase of 1,000 for on-the-job training.

Of course, it is possible for nurses as well as teachers to get their
degrees. However, in this case it will be necessary for the nurse to obtain
a certificate through more postgraduate studies for improvement [estudios
de superacion]. It is impossible to acquire practice in the nursing field
in addition to obtaining a high school diploma. This is impossible in
practice. That is why we feel that what has been done is just right:
completely changing the concept and the program that was being implemented.

Some 5,846 students will enter nursing schools this year. We consider it
very necessary for the country to continue expanding this type of school
because of the great importance of the nursing profession.

Regarding schools for teachers, of a plan of 10,420, 11,622 scholarships
were granted. In the Camilo Cienfuegos Vocational-Military Schools, of a
plan of 3,235 openings, 3,318 were granted. The enrollment for the Manuel
Ascunce Domenech Pedagogic Detachment was higher than in previous years.
The enrollment plan of 7,000 students for this detachment was practically
met. The enrollment requests for special fields of study such as physics,
chemistry and mathematics are still very low, and this is a disgrace.

For the 1979-1980 school period, enrollment in technical and professional
courses was 180,494, of which 42.2 percent were women. For the current
period, enrollment will be 220,000, which is 12 times greater than before
the revolution. Of this number, 80,000 students are enrolled in night
schools for workers. More than 50,000 graduated from polytechnical schools
last term; 42,000 were regular students and some 8,500 were workers. From
the total number of graduate students, 27,500 are in the category of second
class technicians and 22,700 are qualified workers.

Regarding the cost of education, we are in a position to announce that the
budget for education in 1980 is 1,340,800,000 pesos, which is 16 times
higher than the year prior to the revolution. [applause] A total of 12
pesos per capita were allotted in the budget for education for the
1959-1960 school period. The amount we assigned for education for 1980 was
137. [applause]

As I mentioned before, enrollment in the universities if over 200,000. As
you all know, a wage increase is being implemented which in one way or
another will also benefit the teachers.

The following are some aspects which require special attention during the
current school period: The educational process is general; the need to
improve discipline, social habits and good manners; respect for community
and individual property; improvement of the quality of teaching and
education; special attention to methodological training of personnel in
charge of teaching; elevation of the scientific, pedagogic and
political-ideological level of teachers; family and organizational support
for school activities; reactivation of the school councils; participation
of parents and other members of the family in cooperating with educational
objectives; ensuring that the objectives of education are fulfilled. School
organization is highly important for everyone--teachers, professors,
workers in general and students--who must know what they can and cannot do;
seeing that everything goes right from the beginning of the course, such as
schedules, school organizations, an orderly way of study and life. Everyone
should be at his job, laboratories and workshops installed, playgrounds
clean and well-conditioned, in other words, everything ready to carry out
an orderly job. Granting the importance it deserves to physical education
and sports in school; the same for artistic education. Athletic and
cultural activities must be intensified because of their high educational
value.

Importance of giving individual attention to students:

Students must be encouraged to give full attention to studies from the
beginning to the end of the school period. We must oppose every
manifestation of finalism and superficiality. One studies to learn, not
just to get a grade. The participation of studies in productive tasks is an
achievement of education. We must insist on the great value of education,
and for this reason we must be demanding in the organization of every form
of education applied in our country in combination with work, such as
school orchards in elementary schools, rural schools, and university
extensions in rural areas, relations with polytechnical schools with
industrial, agriculture and livestock development centers.

We must increase the task of training students in vocational and
professional studies, mainly through circles of scientific-technical
interest. The Council of Ministers Executive Committee has issued decree 63
to have other organizations participate in the establishment and operation
of these scientific-technical circles in order to awaken an interest for
science and technology, for investigating and experimenting--disciplines we
must encourage among Cuban youth.

We must improve school attendance. During the 1978-1979 school period the
loss of textbooks was less than in the previous year, according to reports.
On the other hand, in the 1977-1978 school period, a total of 4,172,000
textbooks were missing, while in 1978-1979 it was 1,194,000. There is no
reason for books to get lost, and the country does not have the means to
replace that quantity of textbooks every year. For the current school
period more effective measures will be implemented to cut down the loss of
books. Those who do not take care of or return textbooks will be punished.

We must work for the establishment and operation [applause] of all
laboratories and workshops. There are schools which still do not have
laboratories and technological centers which need workshops.

We need to be more demanding and be more efficient in every way. We must
demand that decrees 32 and 34 are applied correctly. We must not accept
negligent behavior. We must act with responsibility and firmness in the
formation of the future generations. A communist formation of the young
generation is an aspiration of the state, the political social and mass
organizations, the family and the community. All of these must work
together to promote and develop the ideological values of dedication to the
causes of socialism and communism in the children. Fatherland or death. We
shall win. [applause]
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