Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Text of Address

FLO50050 Havana Domestic Service in Spanish 2340 GMT 4 Jul 85

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at the commencement exercises for the
1985 class from teacher training schools, held at Havana city's Karl Marx
theater -- live]

[Text] Comrades who have graduated from teacher training institutes of
higher education.  Today is a grand day for Cuban education, a day of glory
and victory with the largest graduating class ever to take place in our
country of students from teacher training institutes of higher education, a
total of 11,300.  Today, we can say without exaggeration that a new
revolutionary era has begun in education with the graduation, for the first
time in our history, of 2,700 students with a bachelor's degree in primary
education. [applause]

Many things could be said on a day like today.  It's impossible, of course
to say them all, but at least it occurs to me to ask myself a little about
the first years of the revolution, to recall where we came from, how we
began, what we had then, and to point out the more characteristic aspects,
features.  I would say, for example, that we had 22.3 percent illiteracy
between the ages of 10 and 49, if the then-existing figures and statistics
could be called reliable.  Who was then considered illiterate and who was
not illiterate?

It can be said, for example, that only 56.4 percent of the children between
the ages of 6 and 12 were attending school.  With that 56.4 percent,
knowing that many were dropping out from first, second, and third grades,
the logical assumption is that the number of illiterates would increase in
the future.  It is not known how many attended school between the ages of
13 and 16, because there were no statistics, no one was concerned with that
record.  For what?  If only half of those between 6 and 12 attended school,
how many could have reached middle school?

However, a good example is the registration structure of those days.  There
is the data -- 89.9 percent of the students attended primary education.  In
middle and higher-level education, there were only 10.1 percent.  Special
education for children with physical or mental problems did not exist.  The
child care centers did not exist.  Pre-school education barely existed.

It is said that there were approximately 24,000 teachers working.  It is
presumed that many or part of them did not have degrees.  Statistical data
reflects that, prior to the revolution, around 29,000 primary education
teachers had graduated.  It is known that there were some 10,000 unemployed
teachers when the revolution triumphed.  A teacher- training faculty
existed at the university with few students, I believe.  There were 6
schools for primary schoolteachers in our country.

Scholarship programs did not exist.  Perhaps if we counted all students
boarding in private schools, we might call privileged schools, they would
total about 2,000 students.  There were also the charity organizations.
You remember those.  That is where they took children who had no parents.

At one point there were civic military schools, later known by other names.
They had several hundred students, perhaps 1,000 or 2,000 students.  There
were two or three of those schools.  Many of the institutions we have today
did not exist then.  No one even imagined vocational or technological
schools.  I think there were around twenty schools, although I think this
figure is too high.  No, no, I think there were fewer schools.  They bad
only several hundred or perhaps several thousand students in arts and
trades schools.  There were three universities -- the one in Havana, the
one in Las in Las [Unreadable text] and, for political reasons, they built
another one in Holguin, which I think was annulled in the end.  Oh, there
was another one in Santiago de Cuba.  University students totaled 15,000,
but not at the time of the triumph of the revolution, because the
universities were closed then.  There were very few students in the
technical careers.

These are just some general aspects of the educational situation that we
found.  The budget totaled 84 million pesos: 12 pesos per capital in the
area of education, but this money was not received.  You know that almost
all the money destined for education was stolen.  There were many
inspectors, sinecures, the K clause.  Many of you may not have heard about
any of this.  Perhaps you have had the chance to read about this in a book,
about a clause by which thousands of sinecures helped the political
clientele.  These people did nothing.  There were inspectors of all kinds
who inspected nothing.  I think there were 80 drawing teachers in Havana
city or Havana Province and there were 19 inspectors. [laughter] I think
there were about 256 physical education teachers, perhaps 250, and there
were 56 inspectors.  You can see how this operated.  The people's schooling
levels were minimal because it is not enough to consider just the literacy
rate but also the people's average educational level.

There were no Pioneer organizations, scientific-technical organizations,
Pioneers palaces, or Explorers' centers, yet these are also educational
institutions, We must not forget this, because children do not learn or get
an education in school alone.

It is essential to remember the long road traveled all through these years,
during which we have made a big effort, even correcting erroneous ideas
along the way and bringing in new ones, creating new institutions.  There
have been so many that they constitute a long list, ranging from the
universities and pre-university institutions in the countryside the
technological institutes, schools for physical education teachers, military
vocational schools, art schools, schools for teachers in study centers that
later became part of the pedagogical school system, and the teachers'
schools.  How can we forget these, the new one built.  We must also
remember the situation created when it was decided that all the children
should have teachers and teachers had to be sent to the mountains and the
rural areas.

Many of the graduated teachers had not been trained to feel they had to
render their services wherever needed.  It was necessary to call on
volunteer teachers who would go to the mountains; we had to ask high school
students to go teach, many times without even having attending some short
preparatory course.  We must remember how we began the struggle against
illiteracy, mobilizing 100,000 students to eradicate illiteracy in 1 year.
Cuba was the first country to perform that feat.  After the Cuban
experience, other countries have made similar efforts.  Some of them have
taken up more time, but other revolutionary countries have also made
impressive efforts.  Only a revolutionary country makes an effort of that
kind.  We know that Nicaragua also made a big effort and conducted an
educational campaign.  We know that Nicaragua also made a big effort and
conducted an educational campaign.  We know that the Ethiopians, who had
over 80 percent illiteracy rate, have taught many million people to read
and write over the past 10 years and I think that in all these new efforts,
the epic enterprise carried out by our revolution in 1961 served as the
model, as the example.  It was an experience.  It was very important to see
that although a revolution may not have money, if it has the people, it can
still solve its problems.  Our revolution mobilized our youth with
enthusiasm and took them to the most remote mountain areas.

It is a great lesson, especially in present times of crisis when many Latin
American countries do not have money.  They are able to do things that stir
up people's and the youth's enthusiasm, they can undertake tasks that would
cost hundreds of millions of dollars by only having a uniform and some
notebooks.  I am sure that in any other place where that would be done, the
peasant families who receive those youths would support them, give them
food and shelter.  That can be done, not only in the field of education but
also in the field of health if medical students are mobilized... there are
many possibilities of that kind that would not cost money.  We spent on
uniforms, on those lamps they used to teach how to read, some educational
material, and their transportation fare.

After the literacy campaign came the scholarship program.  The revolution
created 100,000 scholarships to serve as an incentive, a reward -- and it
had not been a campaign promise -- but it was created to stimulate and
reward 100,000 students that had participated in the literacy campaign.
Scholarships were also given to tens of thousands of peasant girls who came
to complement their elementary knowledge, they learned to do many practical
things, and during many years the program of peasants who came from the
mountains -- I do not know how many participated -- but they were many over
50,000 near 100,000 the amount escapes my memory now.

The effort of creating the higher education institutes, schools for
teachers, which we first began to open in the mountains considering the
premise that, as I have said in other occasions, that only by going through
physical hardships can the soul be prepared to encounter difficult tasks,
and later we decided to open more in every province and city, understanding
that the youth's training and the development of his mind enables him to
undertake any task.  So, our teacher training schools graduates were able
not only to go to our country sites and our mountains -- many were
originally from those places -- but dared to go and work beyond the
boundaries of our country and go to distant places such as Africa; Angola,
Ethiopia, and further yet to Asia, to teach, as evidence of what training
and education of the mind can do.  If during earlier years it was hard to
find a teacher to go to our country's mountains and country sites, one day
when our Nicaraguan brothers asked us for teachers and we requested
volunteer teachers to go to Nicaragua, 29,000 volunteered.  When some of
them were victims of the atrocities of the dirty war imposed on Nicaragua
by imperialism, and some of them were murdered -- those names that have
been remembered during today's ceremony -- then 100,000 teachers
volunteered to teach in Nicaragua. [applause]

I believe this shows the kind of conscience our facility has at every
level.  Because right now there are many graduates of the teacher training
institutes of higher education regulate course who went through 2 years of
internationalist missions as teachers in Angola. [applause]

We developed primary education teacher's training schools, now called
pedagogic schools, in every province of the country.  We built hundreds of
middle level schools because that huge group of students who began primary
schools continued studying, did not drop out.  I remember that during the
first year after the triumph of the revolution over 13,000 children
enrolled in primary schools as new students, and that group grew up.  You
know this coincided with the population explosion the first few years of
the revolution.  The revolution brought hope, euphoria, and not without
reason.  It appeared as though those young couples guessed, were sure
that their children would not be without nurseries, preschools, primary,
secondary, pre-university schools, and universities.  It seemed they knew
their children would not do without medical services, jobs.  Who was not
able to send their children to school because of lack of teachers or
schools?  But great efforts had to be made during those first years to form
many primary, secondary, pre-university [Unreadable text] technological
schools, universities.

It required not only the strengths of physical construction, but also
enormous human strength and among others, how to form or arrange for
sufficient middle-level professors in the 1970's.  How -- In those years 70
percent of the primary education teachers still did not have degrees.  From
where would you get teachers?  Then the call from the homeland, the call of
the revolution, and the response of our youth made the other miracle
possible, which was to arrange for hundreds, thousands of teachers to
respond with that enormous mass that entered middle education.

What about those children who graduated from sixth grade without having at
tended middle school or professional school?  At that time sixth grade
students still entered primary education teacher training schools.  They
studied 5 years to be able, with a degree and not much experience, to begin
their classes.  We struggled then with piles of problems -- this percent,
the struggle for retaining children in school, the struggle against
underdevelopment of education.  When we had finally made schools for a high
percentage of children who were in second grade, they should have been in
fourth grade.  Those in fourth grade should have been in sixth grade.

Then we have the struggle for promotion with quality, that long battle that
has lightened during all these years by virtue of which development of
education has greatly improved.  The children are now in their proper
grades, enormous struggle in which the education minister took the
brilliant action of giving the teachers degrees.

If in the 1970's we had 70 percent without a degree, or more than 70
percent, in a period not longer than 10 years (?we have) reached the goal
that all primary education teachers have degrees.  Because contingents of
new teachers graduated or because many of those students, men and women of
the people who offered themselves as teachers and continued receiving their
courses systematically, they preseverd until graduating as teachers, and we
are able to say one day, some years ago, that all primary education
teachers had degrees.

The efforts in this area can be appreciated in teacher-training institutes
of higher education, in the number of institutions, in the number of
students, in the number of graduates from those institutions.

Today we have taken a considerable jump; I mean, today, in the double sense
of the word, compared to 1979 and the indexes.  How different the indexes
are, how clear are the results.  We had about 21.3 percent illiteracy
between the ages of 0 and 40.  That index is now 1.9 percent.  In the
earlier ages, 20, 25, and 30, the rate is below 1 percent making the rate
higher for those 40, 45 years of age who are considered illiterate by
different criteria.  Previously those who could sign their names were
considered literate -- they knew how to sign their names, Simply knowing
how to sign one's name, no -- it is considered illiteracy -- an exact index
of 1.9 between those ages.  What a difference!

I did not mention among the things that did not exist in this country, the
peasant workers' education.  How many hundreds of thousands -- many
hundreds of thousands, it surely exceeds a million -- graduated in
education, through peasant-workers' education, which was the continuation
of the education campaign?  The middle levels of education rose

Today, I can ask a question: Is there any unemployed teacher in this
country?  Have any of you known that class of person that is called an
"unemployed teacher"? [audience responds: "No!"I And how many have we
graduated?  How many teachers and professors?  One day I was given the
figure.  It was more than 280,000 between teachers and professors.  But
around 120,000 primary education teachers have graduated.

Through the Institute of Educational Perfection 86,000 secondary education
teachers graduated.  Through the teacher training institutes of higher
education 80,000 teachers graduated.  That is a large figure, around
286,000.  I don't know.  The physical education and sports teachers are not
included in that figure; 18,000 of them graduated these past few years.  Of
inspectors, I don't know how many have graduated.  That category does not
-- well, enough now. [laughter] If we add all this, it should pass the
300,000 figure.

Naturally, some figures may be repeated.  Some may have graduated once,
from a pedolgogical detachment after completing the ninth grade.  They
would graduate after 4 or 5 years of study and then would graduate again,
this time with their bachelor's degree.  Some figures may be repeated.  We
are talking here about graduations and some 300,000 citizens of this
country have graduated as teachers and professors.  The teacher drainage
was possible because teachers were, are, and will continue to be highly
appreciated in our country.  Professors were lured away, as everyone
requested them -- the state, the party, the people's governments, the
enterprises -- they were seized.  How many did they take away?  However, we
withstood the drainage.  It hurt, but not as much, because we have trained
enough of those who have clear, precise, and total vocation.  Then of
course, among the latter group I must include those whom, out of discipline
-- because either the party or the mass organizations called on them --
felt their vocation was teaching, were the ones who remained.

At present we have about 256,000 teachers and professors in the Education
Ministry, and I understand this also includes professors of higher
education.  Today we have about 84,500 primary school teachers and we have
even more middle-level professors, about 97,300 of them.  This is
noteworthy.  I am not including here the professors charged with training
teachers, of which we have 7,500.  Nor does this figure include either the
technical-professional training area, where we have about 25,000, or the
special training area, where we have about 11,500.  In the universities we
have almost 18,000 professors.  The number of students in the centers of
higher education has grown from 15,000 before the revolution to 241,000 at
present.  Of these, more than one third of the higher level students belong
to this sphere, the educational sphere.  What a tremendous force, what

Now almost 100 percent of the children have schooling, but if a child has
no schooling it is because of some special reason: Either he is in a
hospital or he has some particular problem.  It is not because he lacks a
teacher or a school, as there are schools even in the most remote mountain
areas.  We know about a teacher whose salary is paid by the state who lives
in a remote rural area and teaches her five children.  She is her own
children's teacher.  Logically, in the rural areas there are times when a
teacher has to teach only 7, 8, 10, or 5 students.  It is not like in the
cities ' where he may have 15, 20, or 25 students.  However, there is no
lack of teachers in the remote areas.  There has never been a lack of
teachers because some estimate was made that it is not profitable to have a
teacher for five students and that, therefore, those children should remain
illiterate.  The revolution, our revolution, our socialist revolution
basically seeks to serve people, human beings.

It does not skimp or take everything into account trying to reduce budgets.
No, all these difficulties were faced, as families still live in remote
places and isolated homes in rural areas, but there has always been a
response and there has always been a teacher.

What is the situation now?  Almost 100 percent of the children between 6
and 12 years of age have schooling, as do 87 percent of those between 13
and 16 years of age, and over 93 percent of those between the ages of 6 and
16.  If there is any student between the ages of 13 and 16 who has had no
schooling, it is not due to a lack of schools or opportunities, but because
of irresponsibility on the part of his family or due to some other social
problem: Sometimes premature marriages and such factors have an effect on
the percentage of children, youths, or adolescents, however you may want to
call them, between the ages of 13 and 16, who have schooling.  But it is
not due to a lack of professors or educational institutions.

Today in the universities alone we have 51,000 students with scholarships.
There are almost 600,000 in the middle level education area, of which
almost 400,000 have scholarships.  This gives any young person or
adolescent who lives in a rural area, or remote or isolated place, or who
even living within a city would have to travel very long distances, or
whose family situation makes it necessary to help him with a scholarship
the chance to acquire a free education and receive all facilities -- books,
food, clothing, and money for recreation, sports, and transportation,

There are 444,000 semi-boarding students.  In other words, there are over 1
million boarding and semi-boarding students.  Compare this figure with the
one I mentioned earlier and see how different the enrollment composition

Before, out of the 89.1 percent of the primary school-aged children who
were expected to attend school, only 56.4 percent actually attended school.
Now, almost 100 percent, practically all children who can go to school,

However, the enrollment of primary schoolchildren represents only 45.1
percent of the total amount of children who attend school in the country.

Middle schoolchildren and high school students compose 54.9 percent of the
school population.  See what a difference?  It is possible that it may
increase a little, and then it may go down.  Because of population
fluctuations, the number of births have an impact.  As birth rate
decreases, there will be a time when there are more middle schoolchildren
than in primary school.  Later, there may be more children in primary
school than in middle school but when the birth rates are balanced we will
be more or less in the middle of the enrollment structure.

Today, one out of seven children between the ages of 1 and 5 attends day
care centers because parents work or relatives need them to attend these
centers.  Today, about 120,000 students attend preschool.  Approximately 85
percent of the students of that age are already in preschool.  Today, we
already have an enrollment of 44,500 children in special schools.  If we
used to say that there are 11,500 special education teachers, that means
that for every four children needing that kind of education, there is a

Today, hundreds of thousands of youths attend middle-high studies at
pedagogic schools, pre-university schools, at technical and professional
education centers...  There are 27,000 students in teacher training schools
or pedagogic schools.  We have 20 pedagogic schools in the entire country
and an enrollment of 27,000 students.

We have 12 higher level education institutes and over 70 CEDE's [expansion
unknown].  In September, the higher level pedagogic institutes will have 86
CEDE's, in small towns, remote areas.  Where there are many teachers, there
are higher level pedagogic institutes.  Teachers go there to teach,
teachers also attend to continue their higher education.

Otherwise, how would such a huge group as this one be graduating and even a
greater group will graduate with a bachelor degree in primary school

During the next 16 years 80,000 primary schoolteachers and 60,000 teachers
of middle level school will graduate.  We are not satisfied with the ones
we have.  We will continue to graduate more.  We need them.  We need them
because we have to replace those who retire, and not so much because of
retirement because our group of teachers is very young. [laughter] We have.
to replace the ones that are taken from us, we have to complement
education, for example we need more teachers for special schools, and we
need to build up a reserve to allow teachers to study.  Thanks to the small
reserve we have we can witness miracles like this one because we have
demand for teachers from friendly and brother countries.  We have to be in
condition to respond with quantities and quality to those demands.  We have
to continue improving, we need to continue studying.

I can point out more improvements, and of course I have not mentioned all
of them.

During the school term that has just concluded -- there were 5,000
registered in 1959, some 7,000 in 1965 -- the number of registered students
increased progressively and rapidly to 92,000 in the 1984-85 school term,
and will increase to 105,000 in next school term.  By September, the number
of registered students will be 105,000.

This is possible due to another gigantic and invisible effort but palpable
in its results of improving the educational system, improvement of
curriculum, programs, and school materials.  All this added to the many and
on-going superior courses in which those 256,000 professors and teachers
participate -- improvement which we could call on-going, constant at the
Improvement Institute, at the Pedagogic Institutes of Higher Education at
conferences, at seminars, at courses of education, an entire system.  The
institute of higher education have improvement courses.  Four of the
institutes of higher education have centers for improving professors of
those institutes themselves.

Nothing is missing in the system.  No one can miss the possibility of
improving and studying.  If before the revolution, in fact a few years
after the triumph, the idea that a primary education teacher could
undertake studies of higher education did not even exist.  During the
struggle, this battle, this effort, the idea emerged.  It is always
necessary that the idea emerge first, and the idea emerges when there is a
need, especially when there is a will to tackle the need.

We could have said that all primary education teachers had been certified,
that they could continue as such for the rest of their lives.  It is
magnificent to know that all children have schools, and all children have
teachers, and all teachers have certificates.  However, that did not
satisfy us, that did not satisfy the permanent demand of the revolution for
progress, the permanent need of a society that wants to advance.  We wanted
still more quality.

One day after 1970 the idea emerged.  Do not believe that it was
immediately successful.  The idea had to overcome great opposition,
difficulties.  There were no visible means to set it in motion, how to
carry it out, until the formula and solution were found and the first
primary education teachers registered in the primary education faculty.

Many things had to be done.  Tens of thousands of teachers graduated from
sixth grade.  Later we had sufficient numbers of students to register them
in ninth grade.  On day it became necessary to certify those having no
titles, another day it became necessary raise to the same level those who
had registered from sixth grade.

When this program of bachelor of primary education began, it was necessary
to put many through a preparatory course who had not registered from ninth
grade.  The preparatory course was created.  It is not a case of those who
registered from ninth grade and later studied 4 more years, that one had a
higher level of education than a graduate from high school, had more
experience in the field of education and was prepared for higher education.
However, many obstacles had to be overcome.

In the future it will be easier when there will be new groups of teachers
graduating from ninth grade.  The means for training those professors was
created, just as the means for improving the training of those who had
registered in teacher training institutes from 9th grade and 10 grade, not
12th grade.

The first from the pedagogic detachment registered from 10th grade.  It is
also necessary to raise them to the same level.  To study 2 more years
after that graduation was a burden.  Add them up and you will see all the

Now we are advancing faster and the idea of making bachelors the primary
education teachers will advance faster, because the idea is gaining
prestige and strength to the degree that it becomes a reality.

It is really a reward for perservering, hoping, and trusting in the future
that this idea, which appeared one day and made its own way step by step
with much difficulty, has today crystallized to this wonderful end.  Our
revolution and our country can say the first 2,700 teachers graduated as
bachelors in primary education today. [applause]

What does this mean and why do we talk about a new revolutionary era in
education?  There was a time when neither schools nor teachers existed.
Many teachers prior to the revolution did not have a degree.  Today, we
begin down a road where this effort has paid off.  First of all we graduate
them.  Then we send these youngsters from the sixth grade to the teachers
schools.  Later, we graduate them from the ninth grade, and even later we
promote them again and again.  Our teachers enter teachers school
graduating from the ninth grade, and they study for 4 years.

In this country, where not so long ago those things happened, 2,000
bachelors in primary education will in the future begin to teach classes in
primary school, in first grade, second grade, third, fourth, fifth, and
sixth.  I know that some will not go directly to school.  Unfortunately,
not all can go immediately.  Surely some of them will be busy at their
work, and the first have already begun to teach classes.  This is the
triumph of an idea.

If we now have what did not exist 15 years ago or what barely began to
exist as an idea, how can we doubt that during the next 15 years the great
majority, if not all, of our primary schoolteachers will have bachelors in
primary education? [applause] What a great step forward!

I ask: Has any other country jumped this high?  I don't remember any other
country that marches forward at the pace that we do.  I repeat, the idea
gathers strength.  Do you know something?  This idea showed up the year you
entered teachers' school.  This idea persisted.  Then came a year when
fewer of you entered school, but that idea persisted despite the

Today this movement is a giant.  In the schools, 24,000 teachers have
enrolled already.  Do you know how many will enroll next year?  About
16,000 primary education teachers will enroll in higher pedagogical
institutes to begin their studies toward a bachelor's degree in primary
education.  Sixteen thousand!  How many will graduate in 6 years on a date
like this?

There is no theater large enough to hold them.  There is no theater.
[laughter] If only two out of every three finish, we will need two theaters
for them.  If we add the students of the detachment plus the teachers that
graduate from the middle higher level, we will have to hold the ceremony in
the stadium [laughter] or a graduation in a big park standing up if there
are not enough chairs for everyone.

These are the prospects, but this enrollment shows the value of the idea,
the strength of the idea.  We have mentioned some characteristics of the
past and some facts of the present.  Nevertheless, can we say that
everything is resolved, that everything is wonderful, that we are satisfied
at last?  No one will ever be satisfied in this country and much less the
men and women involved in the education sector.  They will never be
satisfied. [applause]

Let me give you an example of the relativity of the advances.  We have
already achieved 100 percent of the primary schoolteachers with degrees.
We have already achieved almost 100 percent of the secondary education
professors with degrees because many of the detachment had graduated and
many primary schoolteachers had also become secondary school professors.
Almost 100 percent already have degrees.  Of course, they have degrees and
are teaching.  However, we have taken a step backward.  How have we taken a
step backward?  How is it possible that with so much effort we have taken a
step backward?  Yes, we have taken a step backward.  Why?  Because the
rules of the game have changed.  There is now talk of duly-certified
degrees (titulo idoneo).  In other words, the eternal dissatisfaction
emerges and although they have degrees, they need more degrees. [laughter]
As a result, in basic secondary education, only 36.5 percent have the
duly-certified degrees.  This is a new term, a new concept that corresponds
to the new age, let us say, the new revolutionary era in education.  We now
want that little companero who teaches school and who entered from the
tenth grade and who did no enter from the pre-university level in the
pedagogic institute to have a bachelor's degree in middle education.
Therefore, let us graduate more and study more in order to reach 100
percent.  It is greater at the pre-university level, almost 74 percent
already have duly-certified degrees.  In technical and professional
education, approximately 70 percent have them.  In special education,
approximately 86 percent have them.  This implies an effort.  The need to
advance in quality involves new efforts to again reach 100 percent.  But I
warn you that in view of the relativity of all the successes and advances,
it is clear that in 10 years or in 12 years, I don't know, there will be
talk about how in primary education just a certain percentage of those who
have bachelor's degree in primary education have duly-certified degrees.
[laughter, applause]

It will emerge as a necessity of life.  It is demanded by progress.  If you
ask what will come afterward, I will say I don't know.  However, I am sure
that new things will emerge, and perhaps you will seek a doctorate in
pedagogic sciences. [laughter, prolonged applause] There will always be
something new as long as there is the spirit that is essential in every
revolution and human society: that of eternal dissatisfaction.  Thanks to
eternal dissatisfaction, we have all been evolving.  At one time, it was
the dissatisfaction of nature that did not like us to be a specific shape.
Life evolved.  Human forms began to develop and we have become what we are.
Of course, we are far from being perfect.  However, since nature cannot
change us very much, we have no alternative but to change ourselves.
[laughter] If we cannot change ourselves very much on the outside by
becoming a little heavier or a little thinner [laughter], we can change
ourselves on the inside -- in the mind and heart.  We must continue to
change ourselves because when the conscience emerged from primitive man to
now, what we call human progress was begun.  It is so long, so slow, so
full of horrible stories the appropriation of natural resources, the means
of production, very, thousands of years of slavery and exploitation.  After
slavery came feudalism and then came capitalism.  A large part of humankind
must still liberate itself from capitalism.  Therefore, you can see that
man still needs to change himself and to stop being pro-slavery, a thief,
and an exploiter.  He must stop being a thief, pro-slavery, an exploiter, a
plunderer, and all of those things. [applause]

Human society must progress.  It must continue to change, It must continue
to better itself.  In countries like ours we have had the privilege of
taking a great leap forward in history.  We have to be less conformist than
anyone else.  Therefore, we not only help ourselves with our effort, but
with our example and our experience we can also help others.

Next year there will be a well-attended international pedagogic congress in
which these educational issues will be analyzed and in which there will be
an exchange of experiences.  It is true that we will convey our experience
with great pleasure to other countries, to other educators, and to other
teachers, especially to the Latin American educators -- many of whom still
see the situation that existed in our country and that is even worse in
some of those countries than it was in our country.  They have more
illiteracy and more problems than we have.  The problems are not only
economic, social, and political; they also have moral problems.  They are
educators who must see societies corrupted by gambling, prostitution, and
drugs.  None of these affect us today.  They are educators who do not see
organized children, scientific interest clubs, Pioneer palaces, Pioneer
camps, Explorer camps, or any of what we see every day.  They do not see
the children with opportunities or the scientific and cultural
possibilities that we see every day.  There are countries that do not have
a single Pioneer recreation center.  In our country we have many.  Some are
so large that they house almost 20,000 children at the same time.  What can
they say?  One hundred percent of our children, those between 13 and 16
years of age, are in school, and all of the percentages that we have given
here.  I am sure that all those who have the souls of educators know that
the possibility of doing what we have done is marvelous.  It is only
possible through a revolution.  I have had the opportunity to see how many
of these men with great hearts and minds are astonished and amazed not only
by the [Unreadable text] of the revolution, but also by the smoke screen,
the deluge of mud, lies, and slander with which imperialism fearful of the
truth and of this example and these successes, tries to prevent the Latin
American peoples from opening their eyes.

Our example will be a stimulus for the liberation struggle of other peoples
and their desire to one day do what we have done and even better than we
have done.  This struggle is not only for us, but also for others.  We must
continue struggling and improving.  We are saying that there are many
things to be done.  No one doubts this.  We speak of giving degrees in
accordance with the new rules to those who do not have them or of seeking
duly-certified degrees.  In other words, to give duly-certified degrees to
those who do not have them in secondary education.  For example, we must
continue in the area of special education even though we have an enrollment
of 44,500 which is increasing for the next term.  It is estimated that
approximately 3 percent of the children need special education if we want
to give optimum treatment to optimum education.  According to this index
and the percentage that need it, we only have half of the enrollment that
we need in those special schools.  In many provinces, the percentage of
double sessions is low.  A material and organizational struggle must be
waged to increase the percentage of double sessions until we reach 100
percent in all cities and the maximum percent in the rural areas.
Fortunately, in the city of Havana and in some other areas we have reached
90 percent or more of the double sessions.

We must continue to promote new things because new ideas emerge.  One day
the vocational schools emerged.  They are great, excellent schools.  Today
their enrollment is approximately 25,000 students.  Previously, these
schools included secondary and pre-university education.  Then, the exact
sciences pre-university education emerged and the first pre-university
school of exact sciences was created where students attended as a result of
rigorous competition and where teaching was concentrated on math OMB
physics, chemistry, and biology.  After the first school was built, we
decided to build other in the center of the country and another in the
country's east.  Next year we will have three pre-university schools of
exact sciences where youths can earn a position based on their merits and
the capacity of the school.  Those schools are marvelous.  The teaching
equipment and the computers in the pre-university schools of exact sciences
are impressive.

We realized that we have excellent installations at the vocational schools
and that above all they trained youths who, due to their experience and
merits, were called to later undertake university studies.  Using the
experience of the pre-university school of exact sciences, we asked
ourselves: Why don't we turn all of the vocational schools into university
schools and why don't we have students enter from ninth grade rather than
sixth grade and not only based on their record but also on a competition
equitably distributed among all the municipalities and provinces in the
country?  As a result of this, for the past year students have entered from
sixth grade.  Well, the last ones entered this year after the idea emerged
in order not to remove expectations or affect hopes based on the previous
system.  However, in the next two years students will not enter from
secondary school.  Those in the eighth and ninth grades will continue
studying but those entering will have passed the ninth grade -- in an
outstanding manner of course.

Instead of 100,000 pre-university students in the vocational pre-university
schools we will have 25,000 students based on their records and
competition.  Then, we will be able to do almost exactly what we are doing
in the pre-university schools of exact sciences: provide them with the
necessary equipment so that they will have approximately the same level of
education with a greater emphasis on physics, chemistry, mathematics --
which we must not forget, and biology.

We are improving.  We are gaining greater benefits and use from all of
these institutions on more rational, beneficial basis for our country's
development, We also have a weak point that we are overcoming.  We do not
have enough physics, chemistry, and mathematics professors at the
intermediate educational level.  We have had to make plans and programs
that are already being carried out.  There are a few thousand primary
schoolteachers who have scholarships with wages and who have been freed
from work for 2 years in order to begin studies to become professors of
physics, chemistry, mathematics, and other subjects.  They are fundamental
to fulfilling the shortages.  We have shortages we have not filled, Why can
we do this?  We can do this because we have a small reserve of primary
schoolteachers.  How do you like this?  You can see that it is good to have
a reserve.  How can 16,000 enter?  Here is the answer.  Why do we have
those primary school teachers studying physics, chemistry, and mathematics?
Why can we do this?  Because of this reserve.  We have a reserve of
approximately 12,000 primary schoolteachers.  Thanks to this reserve, next
year 11,292 primary schoolteachers will be in the higher pedagogic
institutes studying full time with wages.  Look at this experience.  Won't
these possibilities be interesting to other countries?  All of the
professors and primary school teachers who are studying to receive their
bachelor's degrees can do so full time at the higher institutes with wages
in their last year. [applause] The same number studied full time with wages
for 1 year at the preparatory school.

In the future, we will understand better why it is advisable to continue
graduating and not close the teachers schools.  Perhaps in the future they
can be paid for 2 years.  That is a variation, a possibility, not a
promise.  We are coming up with ideas.  Perhaps, when everyone has
graduated with bachelor's degrees and 100 percent of the intermediate level
education teachers have duly-certified degrees, then we will give them the
opportunity to study again, to refresh, to improve themselves.  If we have
a reserve of teachers and professors, every 6 or 7 years we could also give
them 1 year full-time with wages.  In some select universities this is what
is called a sabbatical year.  We could give those with bachelor's degrees
and professors a sabbatical year so they can refresh themselves and study.
[applause] Now do you understand why it is not absurd or foolish to
graduate 80,000 future primary schoolteachers and 60,000 profess
professors?  Do you understand this?

On previous occasions we said: No one will be left without a job.  It is
taken for granted that if society increases its production and its
productivity each year, all of the feminine potential we have will be
employed 100 percent and all of the human potential will be yielding high

Instead of having people doing something that does not render a practical
benefit instead of having an excessive number of people working in offices
or somewhere it is better to turn them into doctors, teachers, engineers,
architects, and so on.  Whenever there is a reserve, capitalism lays them
off; we think that socialism can employ them at something so useful,
important, and decisive by creating the time and opportunity so that after
a certain number of years all of the technicians, professionals, doctors,
teachers, nurses, and so on who are currently working may have time to
refresh, improve themselves, learn more, and become more efficient workers.

Companeros, we can tell you that we have mediated on these topics and
analyzed new ideas that are arising for the first time in the history of
our political and revolutionary process.  We can also say -- without
seeking to praise our revolution since we all have the duty to think,
meditate, create, and contribute in this context to the creation of
reserves so that we may usefully employ each citizen in the country -- that
these new ideas will be highly beneficial.  This concept really arose given
our need for education.  Some think that doctors should also create their
reserves.  The doctor, regardless of how good be may be, cannot work in a
hospital for 25 consecutive years with a period of rest per year pressured
by the daily work and service to the people -- and the better the doctor
the more he will have -- without the opportunity to complete a year reading
books, doing some research in the libraries, gathering more experience, and
studying.  Anyone can understand that our society would benefit greatly.
That is why once we have 20,000 doctors working in the communities as
family doctors, plus 30,000 more in the hospitals, and 5,000 ignore in
schools and factories -- under the context that the citizen must receive
medical attention wherever he is, at home, in the factory, or at school, we
will also need doctors to fulfill our international solidarity duties.  We
will still need another doctors reserve to do the same for the doctors.

We expect the same to progressively apply to other professions.  There is
no need to close the university.  This possibility is offered to us by the
technology, the sciences, and the higher productivity of work, which will
permit us to liberate human resources.  Socialism cannot conceive an idle
man or woman without using such human resources.  It would not be
socialism, nor would anyone who admits this be truly a socialist.  Let us
not forget that we are irreconcilable enemies of excessive personnel and of
bureaucracy, precisely because we believe in the very best utilization of
every human being in work highly beneficial and useful to the entire

On a day like today, we can think about things of this nature.  We can
appeal to the efforts of our teachers, in the knowledge that they are the
vanguard of our intellectual workers, to strive even more to raise the
equality and efficiency of their work.  I am not going to discuss technical
matters; we leave that to the higher pedagogical institutes and to the
experts in that field.  I analyze this problem from the social, political,
and revolutionary viewpoint.  It is up to our distinguished teachers to
determine the best method and the importance of the example.  Any
revolutionary can vouch for that.  Here we spoke of the tremendous
importance of the example and of all the factors and circumstances that
make the constant improvement of quality and efficiency possible- However,
we cannot forget what we have said at other times to the effect that the
vast majority of our teachers and professors are young, very young.  They
have many years ahead of them; they have many services to render.

Their experience will become richer every year.  Their wealth of knowledge
will become [Unreadable text] When the average years of experience of our
teachers is not 7 or 8 years -- I do not know exactly what the average is
but I imagine that their average is not very great but when it has reached
10, 15, or 20 years how rich our teaching knowledge and experience will be!
You must contribute to that; you must contribute with your revolutionary
ideas as much as possible.  You must create all possibilities.  The
teachers and professors will do the best they can because they are more
efficient and will be more useful to their country.

They will do the best they can to provide a better education that will
benefit all; they will transfer their knowledge and, above all, teach their
students to think, create, and learn from the revolution, which has created
many things.  In this regard, we must make every child, every adolescent,
and every youth a revolutionary, not only a political one -- not only a
good Marxist-Leninist or a good patriot -- but a great thinker and a great
creator.  He must be an intelligent, creative individual who will make
great miracles -- the miracles that a man can make through his efforts,
courage, and tenacity with noble feelings of solidarity.

On a day like today, it is worthwhile and justified to point out the
magnificent spirit of our teachers and professors: their revolutionary
spirit, their patriotic spirit, their internationalist spirit, and their
vanguard spirit within our society.  I only want to add my congratulations
to this sector of our workers.  I only want to voice the highest
appreciation of our party, government, revolution, and of our people for
the noble and extremely important work that they are carrying out.  I want
to congratulate the Education Ministry companeros for their great success
and to especially congratulate a companero whose merits, capabilities, and
tenacity have had much to do with this success: Companero Jose Ramon
Fernandez. [prolonged applause]

I congratulate all of you: First, the graduates, and especially those who
graduate today for the first time in our country -- the 2,700 bachelors in
primary education. [applause] I want to convey to you our deepest gratitude
for being the pioneers in this idea. [applause] I remind you that you have
a duty to fulfill as pioneers and spokesmen of new, revolutionary ideas.
Your work and the devotion to your duties and tasks will be very important
in determining if one day we will have 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, 50,000,
80,000 and many more dozens of thousands of bachelors in primary education
who we may need [applause] to work in our fatherland, and to work in any
corner the world, [applause] wherever it may be necessary to fulfill our
sacred internationalist duties and wherever our experience and example may
be needed.  Free fatherland or death, we will win! [applause]