Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19870113
-YEAR-
1987
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
SPEECH
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
THIRD FEU STUDENT CONGRESS
-PLACE-
FAR UNIVERSAL HALL
-SOURCE-
HAVANA TELE-REBELDE
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19870121
-TEXT-
CASTRO ADDRESSES THIRD FEU STUDENT CONGRESS

FL171200 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 0132 GMT 13 Jan 87

[Speech by President Fidel Castro closing Third Congress of the Federation
of University Students (FEU) at the FAR Universal Hall on 10 Jan --
recorded]

[Text] [Indistinct chanting] Family members of the student and
revolutionary martyrs and heroes, comrades:

We have reached the end, the conclusion, or the hour of the conclusion of
the FEU Congress.

I was thinking about the long hours during which we exchanged opinions,
analyzed, and participated in this congress. I think that perhaps, at
certain times my words, my criticisms, may have seemed at bit harsh.
Nevertheless, I hope that you will understand that the idea of being unjust
is far from my mind, much less the intention of hurting anyone. I think
that if I express myself like this to you it is, among other reasons,
because of the high regard I have for university students. I have a very
high opinion of the role played by university students throughout our
history and their decisive role in the revolutionary process, their
exemplary role since 10 March [not further explained], their conduct, and
their exemplary support of the revolution at all times during the struggle,
after the struggle, and throughout all these years.

We should say that the revolution never again had a problem with university
students, not even when there were initially thousands of students, not
when classes were reopened, even though our students were not generally
from the working class. Our students were fundamentally of the
petit-bourgeois class because there were few children of the working class
who had the opportunity to become linked [Vincularse] to higher education.

If I spoke about or discussed being able or not being able to meet the
stipend the students receive or 15 or 20 pesos during the third year and 30
pesos in the third [as heard] year in addition to accomodations, education,
enrollment, the books for those students who previously did not have the
opportunity to purchase them and if now we can speak about all the
securities and all the opportunities available to any youth in our country
to study at the university and during that time, when 1 peso was worth more
than it is now...[does not finish sentence). Certain things could be
purchased at a price lower than their present price. One hundred pesos, not
even 100 pesos monthly, was enough to sustain a student who traveled from
his town to the only university that existed at that time.

Later, another university was founded in Santiago. There were two.
Actually, there were two university centers before the triumph of the
revolution. It was truly very difficult for children from the more modest
town families to study.

Nevertheless, those students, supported the revolution en masse. The
students were always on the side of the revolution. Even in the most
difficult struggles, the class struggles, which were more difficult, they
did not hesitate. They gave great proof of their purity as students who
did...[changes thought] many of them would overcome their own origins of
social class.

Over the years, the students were transformed. They no longer were part of
a segment of society, of a class in society. They became part of another
class in society, part of the working class and part of the peasant class.

The social composition of students kept improving yearly and in this way,
year by year, they maintained the total and decisive support of the
students of the revolution as was logical. The students have been present
in all the fundamental battles of the revolution and they are also present
in the vanguard, in the battles we are carrying out now.

In no way do I ignore all the students' success, all the achievements, and
I also do not ignore that each year our organization, this student
university organization is more efficient.

The main report all of you read reflects the successes achieved in numerous
fields, some have been achieved in fundamental areas such as the country's
defense. These things have been achieved by students in the last few years
since the third...[corrects himself] the second congress was held.

However, we are far from being demagogic, from saying beautiful things to
simply flatter students. We are at a time of acute and strong criticism. We
are at a time of rectifying mistakes, of struggling against negative
tendencies. We are at a time of a historic turning point of the revolution.
This concept of historic turning point means that we were moving away from
the right path, we were dangerously moving away and we have been able to
rectify and be back on the right track. When I speak of historic turning
point I do not simply refer to a change in direction. I am also referring
to the idea of a historic leap. This is why we can say that in addition to
being a turning point, it is a time when the revolution is taking a
historic qualitative leap. I can say this because we had never felt so sure
that we were doing the right thing as we are today. The years of
inexperience have been left behind, a great deal of knowledge and
experiences were accumulated during these years. We have taken one path and
another and today we are taking a new path with all that accumulated
experience. It would not be right in circumstances such as this one to be
too satisfied, if we were happy just by talking about the successes
achieved.

We have many great achievements. Who could compare this student movement,
this force, this mass, these levels, this number of university students,
this number of higher university centers...[corrects himself] higher
education centers. Who could compare, how could we compare it with what we
had at the time of the triumph of the revolution or during the first years
of the revolution with what we have today?

We did not even have teachers. The vast majority of medical school
professors left. The United States took them and left us without physicians
and without professors to train physicians. What a challenge that was!

However, now we can speak of 17,000 higher education professors. In general
they are young professors selected from the best students. For many years
we have been leaving the best students in the universities, the aids, the
monitors, the most outstanding so that they become professors. Of course,
this is not the ideal formula. The ideal thing would have been that the
best students become professors. It was not the best formula, it was not
the ideal formula but it was the only one under those circumstances. The
revolution has had to implement bold formulas but they have solved problems
as the shortage of middle level teachers was solved.

They were not professors with a degree, graduates, but ninth grade students
who joined the education detachment. The education detachment fulfilled the
great historic mission of filling the teachers' vacuum that was created
when the enormous mass of primary school children -- as a result of the
universalization of primary education which was taken to all corners of the
country -- got to the intermediate level. Schools were built -- it is true
that at that time schools were built incredibly fast. In I year alone, over
100 intermediate level schools were built. Those brigades built schools in
4 months or in 5, 6, 7 months. Schools such as the Lenin School with room
for 4,500 students were built in approximately 2 years. I explain this
because some of our visitors could ask themselves how could we have solved
the problem with the disaster we have now in the construction sector in
which projects are never completed. There was a time when construction
projects were completed and we will build like that again. We are convinced
of that because the mistakes made and the inadequate ideas that have
regulated planning, investments, and construction in the last few years
will be rectified and are already being rectified.

But we had teachers even though they were students. We could not have
university professors with many years of experience as professors because
they were young. There were not many professors with experience in
production because a mass also was arriving at higher education centers and
professors were needed.

I liked Comrade Vecino's [minister of higher education] words when he --
with great dignity and in a categorical way -- praised teachers and, above
all, hailed the moral attitude of higher education faculty members, and
when he emphatically asserted that university professors do not cheat. Also
the fact that there is no buddy system and there will never exist in the
system that grants scholarships at the university. Undoubtedly, we have
taken a great step or great steps during these years.

We have 300,000 university level students enrolled in higher education
programs. Of course, we could even get frightened of having so many
university students if it was not considered that a great number of those
university or higher education level students are workers already
fulfilling their social tasks, they are already working and serving the
country. Many of them already have a job. Many study to improve their
education. These are very important subjects which perhaps we will refer to
later.

We have an enormous mass. Their education centers improve every year, their
education levels improve every year. That is undisputable. We have made
progress on this as in many other areas. It would not be right to
congratulate ourselves with what we have done, of the good things we have
done. What all of us need to do is to think about and analyze the things we
are not doing in the best possible way, we have to examine them thoroughly
and improve our work. If not, we would not be following that beautiful idea
of Julio Antonio Mella when he said that the expression "all past
experience is better" has to be replaced with the concept that all future
time has to be better. Undoubtedly, all future time should be better.

We said in different words that we always have to be unsatisfied, and if we
thought the work was good we have to attempt to make it better. If the day
comes when the work appears to be perfect ...[rephrases] no work will ever
be perfect enough for a communist. [applause]

Precisely, this is the essence of the revolutionary's quintessence if you
will. This is why we thought this congress had to be critical, very
critical. I hope -- I say it with all humility and all sincerity -- that no
fellow delegate is hurt by this historic meeting.

I know that the agronomy students [laughter] were a bit sad because of some
analysis I made on some ideas I expressed. I even quizzed a comrade. I
could not contemplate the idea of showing off or bragging about certain
knowledge, and all of those who know me well know that I do not normally do
such things. But I was strongly defending the idea that the excessive use
of profiles was a mistake, the excessive use of the rightfully so-called
narrow profiles because I believe they respond to an excessively limited
concept. I vehemently defended it. I wanted to defend the idea of having
professionals with a sound scientific foundation. This could mean that in
some way I may be underestimating or undervaluing the comrades of that
university center or university branch or that I am placing on them some
responsibility for that. On the contrary, we assume all the responsibility.
If we have made a mistake, the victims are you, the victim is the country,
the victim is the revolution. I am too much of an optimist to underestimate
the capabilities of those comrades of becoming excellent professionals.

Because if they are revolutionaries, they are persistent and if they study
-- that is the essential requirement for becoming a first-rate specialist
-- if they study constantly, persistently, and permanently any of them --
even though they have been submitted to the narrow profile mistake because
it is too limited -- they can become excellent specialists in that subject.
I truly believe this, you need to study and always study. Because in the
long run, when we leave, [corrects himself] when you have the universities
or the higher education centers, you will have to study as much as you do
now. You will have to study even harder than you do now. You will study
with more responsibility, with more maturity, with a better sense of the
value of study than now. You need to continue studying for the rest of your
lives. As you honored me by giving me the gold diploma, I was thinking and
was trying to compare myself with you. Yesterday a comrade was talking
about various comrades of our generation who in a way were self-taught. It
has merit to be self-taught but how grateful we would have been if we had
had many tutors to help us study during those years. But as a student I
compare myself with you and I honestly and with all fairness I say that
you, any one of you who are present here, are much better students than
what I used to be. I am sure of that. We are greatly pleased by that. It is
great to know that you are much better students than us and that you have
much better conditions to study than we had and that you have many more
tutors than we had because we really did not have any. You have a very
complete and thorough revolutionary theory. It is the most fair, the most
revolutionary theory. Our youth did not have any goals, our youth was not
offered any theory. During those years, our university youth did not have a
theory, and above all did not have a revolutionary theory. It was
rebellious as youth has always been. It admired the past, our country's
heroic history, the comrades who fought and fell in the various stages.
Beginning with the students who were executed in 1871, who were the first
martyrs of independence and freedom of our students and were also martyrs
of our people. I believe this certificate is an act of generosity of your
part. In any case, I do not take it as an award to the good student in me
but as an award to a student who knew how to be persistent, persistent with
the ideas and goals, who knew how to be persistent with the assurance of
the need to study, of being persistent in the desire to learn and of having
been persistent and being faithful to the revolutionary ideals. [applause]

We are greatly satisfied that you have more facilities, more possibilities,
more conditions to be good students, good specialists, and good
revolutionaries.

Today I spoke about some comrades who are not placed, but it is really a
privilege of our society that the vast majority, almost 100 percent of the
university graduates are immediately placed in jobs and part of them are
more than placed, they are re-placed. That is precisely the tragedy of
students in the capitalist world. Their job placement is not guaranteed.
They have to desperately struggle for life, everyone is on his own and the
buddy system, social status, private property, and all other mechanisms
operate to an extreme degree.

We are concerned and we do very well in being concerned.

We do very well in being concerned because there are more than 170 or
approximately 200 who have not been placed. This is with a few
imperfections and a few incorrect things and some occasional negative
influences. Nevertheless, we do not consider the question of work of
university graduates to be a problem and we should try to make sure that
this mechanism works better each time.

There is one particular thing about this congress. I was not just speaking
about student matters or studies. We have been speaking about strategic
matters of the revolution and we have been speaking with total frankness
and with harsh words, on some occassions very harsh, on our own work, on
the work of the cadres leading the revolution. We have spoken harshly about
errors committed, about failures, and we have spoken frankly. We have
spoken with complete liberty.

For this reason, this congress, its content, transcends the material solely
related to students. We have come here to examine student problems and the
problems of the higher education centers from a political point of view,
from a revolutionary point of view and it has been very useful.

No one can imagine that those who have certain responsibilities acquire an
awareness, an idea of the problem, because there is a perfect mechanism
that, through several conduits, supplies a cadre of leaders with precise,
detailed, and exact information on the problems.

There are times when even a good article in the press makes us aware of a
problem and we find the reason for the problem.

But at these meetings, at this assembly at these congresses one acquires a
great deal of information and awareness of the problems. That awareness is
acquired with much precision.

We have been analyzing different types of problems here. We have been
seeing the negative consequences of the incompletions and delays in
construction. We have seen this everywhere. We have become aware of
incorrect methods of planning and investment, the excessive periods of time
required to finish projects. That is a problem experienced by the
teacher-training institutes, the medical sciences and other centers.

We have discussed the damage that this causes us, the inconveniences they
cause us. We have discussed this, but not to cry, not to feel sorry for
ourselves, simply to criticize and state the need and simply seek the
method of solving those problems. We are confident that we will solve these
problems.

Today, Comrade Fernandez [no further identification provided] was speaking
with the Granma party secretary. We have one of the worst crises in their
higher teacher-training center and the party comrades there are seeking a
method to complete that task in the shortest possible time.

We have discussed here questions related to textbooks, difficulties. We
have been able to appreciate the advances. For example, 4 or 5 years ago
books for medical science students were very scarce. Many studied with
notebooks because many times they did not have textbooks or lectures. We
were very concerned about this. Many measures were taken then in relation
to this very important career of medicine. Without a doubt, it is the
scientific area, the professional area in which our country was most
advanced, not in the areas of engineering, architecture, or agriculture.
Medicine was truly the most advanced area. Our country was most advanced in
that area. Nevertheless, we had many problems. Many of the students did not
have books.

There was a very bad selection of students. There were many. Out of 2,000
students who would enroll, 1,000 would graduate. There was no selection.
There was a self-selection. There was no preselection but, instead, there
was a self-selection over the length of the career. Those who tested in
anatomy, biochemistry, or one of those very difficult subjects, those who
passed that initial period, were the ones who generally remained in school
in the future years.

A plan of selection was developed. We moved away from the use of computers
for this. The assembly process was utilized for evaluation to make sure
that they were of the best possible quality.

That is one of the tasks the FEEM [Federation of Mid-Level School Students]
have, the matters regarding school records, matters regarding vocation.
Above all we included with all this the political-moral assessment the
group made of the student. An important step was made in selection which
can be improved. We had an old program which had not been seriously
revised. Many criteria have not been seriously reviewed. There was the
linear internship, the superspecialization tendency. There were many
problems.

There were not enough textbooks. Anyone who took the biochemistry course
never saw a biochemistry book again. I believe that the ideal thing would
be for a student who studied biochemistry or anatomy to be able to
underline, take notes, and keep his book for later reference. For the first
time we suggested that problem be solved so that students could get books.
In the area of medicine we had to discuss this at the National Assembly,
the constitutional aspect of the matter because we were talking about free
books. But since the free books were actually books on loan we decided that
the Constitution was referring to that kind of book.

We wanted students to buy them not because of mercantilist reasons. The
state does not make a profit with any of those books. We just have a small
margin of profit that is used for distribution. Those books are 10 or 15 or
20 times cheaper than what they cost in capitalist systems. It was so that
students appreciate books a little bit more because unfortunately, many
times what is free for some reason is not appreciated as much. If a small
sacrifice is made to obtain the books they are cared for better. That was
the reason why books were sold. The state spends much more than that in
teaching, in education. We saw today that many of the medical sciences
students have their own books. There has been progress in that program
during these 4 or 5 years. We have kept many types of molds, many printed
books.

There have also been some distribution problems. I found that problem in
Granma. They had not distributed books well. That is what also happened in
technical science schools. But this medical students textbooks were made.
They have adapted to a new program. A good method was followed for the new
program. Groups were sent to the most advanced countries in medicine and to
the best universities. It was not to copy from them but to see what they
were doing and how they were dealing with various problems. With all that
information the new program was created. Success always rewards
perseverance. That started 5 years ago and now we have two classes using
the new program. The medical sciences problems discussed here do not impugn
the quality of the program. Everyone acknowledges the quality of that
program. They refer to the transition mechanism of adapting the curriculum
of the students of third to sixth year to the new program. If one remembers
all that one can see the progress made.

All medical sciences specialities are being studied one by one. Programs
are being developed or they are being created and some of the development
programs of 35 clinical-surgical specialties are being already applied in
part. They are paving the way to make us a medical power. There is no doubt
about that.

I have cited matters regarding medicine not because I have or could have
the right of siding with one field. I appreciate greatly the field of
medicine, not because of medicine itself but because of the people. Because
I appreciate a lot everything that is related to the people, the needs and
concerns of the people. We not only have worked in support of all these
programs and initiatives but we have worked hard in the last few years in
the improvement of medical services and the introduction of new techniques
and services. The comrades know, the fellow comrades who work with me know
that I said before that if we wanted to have good medical and educational
services we have to have a considerable scientific-technical development. I
asked them to explore the situation of the technical sciences. We tried to
apply in technical sciences the experiences that had been gathered in the
field of medical sciences. This is how it was created. Some 2 and 1/2 years
later after all these programs were started or these ideas were developed
in the field of medicine, I requested that we pay special attention to the
technical sciences and that we solve the problems that field could have. To
give a boost to technical sciences the same way we had given it to
medicine. I thought it was fundamental.

This resulted in the meeting we had with the technical science students. I
am not talking about the efforts that had been made in education years
before from the literacy campaign which has just marked its 25th
anniversary up to the pedagogical detachment, which was the first one
created in the centers for higher studies.

The country's first effort was actually in education. How did it do it in
the higher centers when at one time there were not even high school
graduates to enroll in the university? Now we are graduating tens of
thousands. If we had not made the first effort in the educational field, we
would not be able to speak today of the progress made in higher education.
We would not be able to talk about what we have today. We would not be able
to even talk of the problems we have today. These problems did not exist in
the past, simply because this development in higher education did not
exist.

That is how we began our efforts. That is how the idea of the medical
sciences detachment arose. That is how the idea came about to solve the
problem of textbooks for the medical sciences students. That is how the
discussion of these problems came about at the meeting 2 years ago. The
decision came about of assigning resources, for books to be printed, to the
printing centers of the Higher Education Ministry and to the centers
themselves, such as the CUJAE [Jose Antonio Echeverria University Center].
I was asking today if we have enough...[changes thought] Comrade Almeida
was explaining to us that they needed a composition or recomposition -- I
don't know exactly what it's called -- machine. It was indispensable,
because they had one and with another they would multiply their capacity to
print books. But there is no doubt that if you view it dispassionately,
progress has been made.. This can be seen in the list of 1,042 titles and
how many are now available. You can see that the Culture Ministry is
publishing more than 200. You can see how many the Higher Education
Ministry's printing centers are producing, and how many the CUJAE itself.
This was clearly seen here, that difficulties arose over the simplest
things. It was not over the acquisition and installation of the machinery,
the writing and publishing of the books. The problems stemmed basically
from the distribution. But I am convinced that we are moving to solve that
very important problem of the books in these branches and for the branches.

This is a must. How? The same way we have been solving problems in medical
and technical sciences. Just look at the number of titles. Along with the
mistake of superspecialization comes the super-amount of titles and books
that we need. No less than 5,000. Billions of titles. That is, more than 2
million books or textbooks or volumes of 5,000 titles. It's the devil's
work [es la tarea del indio]. Although we really have to make the effort
and we have to know how to solve the devil's work.

These phenomena are linked. You examined here with the most thoroughness
possible the cases of students who have not been placed, students from
certain areas, especially the humanities. We have heard here lucid and
precise explanation -- I would say brilliant -- of the comrade from the
State Committee for Labor, telling us the problems there are in relation to
the placement of certain specialties. It was said here, with a good deal of
frankness, or clarity, that there are some cadres who stop more qualified
personnel from coming in because they fear that this personnel might be
better trained. It could be seen here that coordination is lacking among
the state committee for labor, the higher education centers and graduating
students, and the enrollment and graduation plans, among those in charge of
placing them. In some cases it is not this or that national organ such as
the Sugar, Agriculture, or Basic Industry Ministries. It is the people's
governments. There is no coordination office in any of the people's
government organs. So, I believe that everyone, the party in the first
place, the state committee, the higher education center, should explore,
find out where those humanities cadres are needed. How many are needed and
what coordination and mechanisms are required. Because it is true that at
the museums, the cultural modules, everywhere, we need to raise the level
and qualifications of our cadres.

This is something that should not happen. Nor do I believe that it is very
difficult to resolve.

Some worrisome problems were discussed here, such as the fact that there
are students who are at the bottom of the pile and do not have the best
records, and thus end up in certain careers for which they have no interest
at all.

This give rise to waste of time, waste of important resources. This
promises poor prospects to that branch where this kind of specialist ends
up or works. Among other things, the problem of superspecialization was
clearly seen here. I believe that it is one of the issues that we should be
concerned about.

We have made progress in reducing the colossal number... [changes thought]
we met here with some laughable examples. A specialist in the construction
of airports is not wanted or placed. I think he was called airport
construction engineer. Imagine. As if we were bigger than Brazil, which
needs hundreds of airports. We are a very small country, long and wide [as
heard], where the number of necessary airports is very limited. Why did we
have to commit that folly? Why train an engineer specializing in the
construction of airports? That is why I was saying that if we decided to
build a small pyramid here for cultural or achitectural reasons, I have no
doubt that there would be a pyramid engineering major. [applause]

That just complicates the situation. There are only 30 left in the CUJAE
and they seem a lot. They will have to be cut, although I do not deny the
need for specialties or deny that needs may arise around the specialties,
the development of technology, science, society. But there is something
that worries me a great deal, and I say it frankly. This is not something
that I just thought of. When I made an incursion into the area of medicine,
I argued a lot, and it was necessary to persuade many. And since they were
really honest people, honest teachers, they were not only persuaded but
also worked enthusiastically in the correct direction.

At the time, there was no rotating internship [internado rotatorio]. There
was -- what is it called? -- a vertical [vertical] internship. All of this
has a name: vertical. This one only for children and he knows nothing else.
This one was a pediatrician and he did not know other things. They were
underdeveloped doctors. Very fragmentary knowledge in the area of health.
And I said many times: When will the rotating internship end? When will the
rotating intership end? [repeats himself] There was a need for specialists
and this need brought this about. But as soon as the situation eased, we
took out the internship...[corrects himself) that is, there was a need for
the vertical internship because of shortages in some specialties. But as
soon as we could, we took out the vertical internship and we established
the rotating internship for all doctors. Did we keep some in direct
[directa] specialties? Yes, because some specialties require special manual
abilities: ophtalmology, surgery. We said that once we have a doctor with a
good grounding, 6 years of study, we then will have direct specialization.
Not only in surgery. In some others we still do direct specialization. The
student leaves the university and starts studying pediatrics, for example.
But why? Because the polyclinics, which have also become teaching centers,
need specialists to attend to family doctors and help to train them. Ah!
Because it is an important concept that shows, let's say, adherence to the
principle of the importance of basic education.

We brought it up. We proposed something that might have seemed a bit
strange. We proposed the specialists in integral general medicine. Because
I asked: who are the generalists here? And they called generalists those
who graduated from the university and never again studied anything else. Or
he did not study any specialty. The other, the one who studied 3 years, who
did his internship, was called specialist in this or that area. And the
other was called a generalist.

So I said: general medicine must be turned into a specialty. Yes, I have
also contributed with a specialty. Specifically, the specialty of integral
general medicine. It seemed a bit hard to understand. [applause] Well, our
country is the only one that has that specialty. I have given so much
importance to general medicine, that I proposed turning it into a
specialty. And it seemed hard to understand. The idea had to be developed,
the program drafted. That, of course, was going to give the generalist or
the integral doctor a ranking among doctors. This would make it possible
for all the country's doctors in the future to have the rank of specalist.
That is, the one who studied at least 3 years, who studied systematically
for 3 years, after the 6 years of training. So the program was drafted.

It was almost the same thing I told the agronomy comrades. When any country
asked us for a doctor -- and they ask for many, there are around 1,500 or
more working overseas -- what kind of doctor were we going to send?

Did we send an anesthesiologist? A radiologist? A surgeon? An orthopedist?
What? Sometimes these specialists are needed, but when they ask you for a
doctor for a town that has women, children, old people, men, all kinds of
disease, what kind of doctor do we send? That doctor who never went back to
school, perhaps? I said: They need a doctor who can help them. He must be
able to treat a child, as well as a woman, an old person as well as a man,
a pregnant woman as well as an adult woman in any other circumstances.
Someone who could, plainly speaking, treat the whole population. Otherwise
we would have to send three or four. The pediatrician, the obstetrician,
and the internist.

No, sir; when a sound program was prepared, what should an integral
generalist know? He must be strong in pediatrics, obstetrics, internal
medicine, hygiene, have some knowledge of psychiatry, of health
organization, a man who can be sent to Africa as well as to Latin America,
Nicaragua or Guyana, or to an island in the Pacific, wherever we have
doctors, and who can alone confront all health problems Of course, the
other needs might arise later. A surgeon might be needed. And when a
surgeon is needed, an anesthesiologist is needed. That is one of the
so-called anemic specialties, because it does not attract too many. The
number of anesthesiologists is usually low. Everywhere in the world.
There's a shortage all over the world. He's the most in demand.

If specialists are needed you can send five specialists. And you can send
10 doctors who are experts in integral general medicine who can attend to
the whole population. Well, the decision was made to create this specialty.
Eminent professors drafted the program, and they drafted an excellent and
strong program, which requires six textbooks. Almost all the textbooks have
been written and published. We have a large number of family doctors
studying the integral general medicine already.

After the first -- notice this -- after the first year, he graduates, 6
years of study, 1 year of work, the first year for those who are in the
city, after 1 year they begin to study their speciality of integral general
medicine at the polyclinic, in the same polyclinic where they are working,
the one in their area. There they have an obstetrician for every 15 or 20
family doctors, an internist, a pediatrician, and this way the polyclinics
have become excellent teaching centers. Because the family doctors go to
learn there. Each one of the subjects. The first specialists in integral
general medicine have already graduated. Those did not even start out as
family doctors. We sent them to the polyclinics to see how the program
worked, what the quality of the program was. Well, next year we will have
more than 2,000 enrolled in that specialty, and 1,500 more will enroll each
year. In 1988, we will have 2,000 more, who will enroll as doctors and be
studying by 1989. In the future, all the obstetricians, pediatricians,
cardiologists, internists, in short, the majority of the clinical
specialties will come from the specialist in integral general medicine as a
second specialty.

And who will be a better doctor? The one who did vertical pediatrics? In
the sixth year? Or one who graduated with a broad base? And he is going to
work I year among the population, during which he will learn not only the
health problems of the individual, but also the social problems, where they
live, their conditions, everything. Then in 3 more years they become
specialists in integral general medicine, working there with the children
every day, and with the women, the elderly, the adults, and following a
course of study under the direction of specialists. Then in the future, he
goes back to school, does another residency and emerges as a pediatrician.
He is going to be much better than the one who was in the vertical
internship. Pediatrics only in the 6th year. From there to a residency.
From there, to see children. He cannot in any way be a specialist of the
standards of the one we are going to have when that pediatrician is a man
with 11 years of systematic study -- the 6 of the course, the 3 of integral
general medicine, and the 2 of pediatrics, when he will probably already
have a strong background. Eleven years to become a pediatrician. I believe
that no one who knows this can doubt that a much more qualified specialist
will emerge from this program.

I have been defending these views. It has not been just here, at this
congress, that my vehemence has surfaced in favor of the idea of a
professional with a broad background. That is what I would like as a rule
in agronomy, in many of the engineering specialists, in architecture.

We discussed the urban planner here. With all due respect for the urban
planners. I respect them and I consider them necessary, but we learned that
there was a demand for 422 urban planners, who, if needed some day for a
construction project, would not know how to manage a construction project.
All they know is how to draw projections for cities. We would like to have
a good architect with a broad and deep basic education. Someone whom the
corresponding organization will later develop, train as an urban planner,
the same way that a polyclinic, even a polyclinic, can today train a
resident in pediatrics or obstetrics or internal medicine.

The curious thing is that the comrades who were members of the physical
planning group were all architects. None of them studied urban planning.
They became urban planners later. They now want an urban planner of narrow
profile.

A individual who, when he has no cities to draw plans for -- and some of
the 422 may not be needed -- cannot be used to draw the projections for a
building, a house, a school, a child care center. He cannot be used to lead
a construction brigade, or stand next to the brigade leader keeping an eye
on quality and helping with the organization of all the work.

To me this is very clear. I would have liked at least two basic specialties
in agriculture. Two. Two [repeats himself] with broad knowledge that will
allow for flexibility, for transfer from one area to another and then we
train them. I know comrades who did not have the privilege of attending
university, and yet it is amazing how much they know of cattle ranching,
the handling of cattle, feeding of cattle, genetics, by simply working with
them. There are some who are brilliant. They have been working for the same
enterprise for more than 20 years. Attempts have been made to promote them
to every kind of position. And I have asked: please don't touch him. That
comrade has a lot of experience, has done a great job. Those are
enterprises admired by visitors to our country. Work as there is no other
in the rest of the world as far as cattle ranching is concerned. And they
did not even have the privilege of attending university. That is why I say
that any of the graduates, even with that kind of profile, can, with study
and experience, acquire a very high level in his field.

I would argue in favor of the principle that we have applied with great
results in medicine for all university careers. Let the specialists be
given a basic and broad education. Let there be a system of post-graduate
development. Of systematic post-graduate development. This one in this
area, the other in that area. In production, the same way that medical
specialists are trained in hospitals. Of course, because the higher
education ministry was so obliging with the organs, which asked and and
asked and demanded, the organs now can afford to not even cooperate with
the higher education ministry, not even cooperate with the higher education
centers. Because they have everything and have been able to say: hey, train
me a specialist in airport construction, or naval transportation, or
railroad transportation, or road transportation, or mule and horse
transportation. [laughter] Engineers. [applause] If it wants, the
production organ can later make him a mule specialist. [laughter] In the
mountains, picking coffee. In short, doing something. It's up to the organ
and to the engineer, if he is willing to accept it. Because if I were that
engineer, I would simply not accept it.

So it has a man with a broad background. And I want to say the following:
Those who carried out the most marvelous construction work, gothic
cathedrals and such, edifices famous all over the world, and great
engineering feats all over the world, from the Egyptian pyramids on, those
were not specialists of narrow profile. No specialists of narrow profile,
simply narrow profile, would have been able to build those marvels in
architecture, engineering, industry. No man of narrow profile can build
those wondersa. Only a specialist of broad profile, who has experience,
know-how, is capable of that in this branch or the other. In fact, the
great achievements of today are a result of a combination of men, teams of
diverse talents. That is the idea that I am defending. And no one should
feel alluded to.

Of course, as Aesop said [laughter], create interests and you will have a
hard time getting rid of them. [laughter, applause; someone says: "Habit,
habit"] wasn't it that? Habit? OK, create habits. Yes. [applause] Aesop, as
the comrade told us, used the word habit. I wanted to say afterward, create
interests. Of course, if we have a school -- not a school, a university
center, and it has 10 schools, we have 10 comrades -- and they are good
comrades -- who have the title of dean.

A profusion of titles of nobility! [laughter] Mr Dean. Well, if we are
going to fix things now and we replace three or four, have three or four
less deans, we are affecting interests. Professors of this or that. They
themselves will have to be reclassified, so they can teach another subject.
The bad thing is that they might have narrow profiles [laughter] because if
the only thing that they know how to teach is about truck wheels and the
course on truck wheels is cancelled, I don't know what the man will be good
for. Let no one be offended. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I want
to hurt the narrow concept of the narrow profile. [laughter] It's the only
thing I want to hurt and we must learn to rectify it.

We are among revolutionaries and I do not presuppose a man in love with a
title, a position, no university professor...[changes thought] because we
do things wrong. Now that inflates the staffs like balloons, the staffs and
the balloons.

We tell the world: We have a super center with 10 schools! [laughter] Watch
out. And look at the organization chart, rah, rah, rah, rah, rah. It shows
the rector, the rector's secretary, the rector's executive, the rector's
assistant, and others. [laughter, applause] Later, it shows the dean, vice
dean, the assistant, the other, the secretary, the rest, and the chart
continues. Sirs, we have not asked ourselves here how much bureaucracy
exists in the CUJAE.

It is now called something else, Elis? [laughter] How do you say it? ISPJAE
[Jose Antonio Echeverria Higher Polytechnical Institute]. Yes, but I prefer
to continue calling it CUJAE because I am already familiar with that name.
Yes, it has given us quite a headache because it has been under
construction for more years than those of Methuselah. More time.
[interrupted by laughter, applause] The 800 [as heard] years, the 800 years
[repeats himself] of Methuselah seem short compared to the time taken by
that CUJAE or JAE, or whatever it will be called within the next hundred
years [laughter] the combined, superspecialized center of
technical-scientific specialties [laughter] with 500 specialities.

That is the truth. We have not asked how much bureaucracy exists there
because it surely is stuffed. [laughter] There is not enough for the dining
room, for transportation, there is not enough for anything. A good meal
will never be available in the dining room. I have stated that in those
centers which function properly, a restaurant-quality meal can be provided.
We have some. They are in centers that have dedicated people. We have some
experience.

If you have 350 or 400 people where you normally have 2,000 -- imagine
2,000, I do not exaggerate -- then you can serve a good meal. You can find
homes. Many problems can be solved. You can solve problems with 400 that
you cannot solve with 2,000.

I am sure that when we see the reasons for the lack of cost-effectiveness
of some of these installations we'll find the under-utilization of the work
day, disorganization, and excess personnel. That is what caught my
attention when Argiuanabo was mentioned. It seemed unusual to me that they
had a maximum number of workers and directors of production. It seemed
strange to me that they still had losses. This has been greatly reduced but
it has losses. That is the work of an economist. That is is the work of an
economist [repeats himself] because it is not profitable. A mechanism has
to be applied as a measure of efficiency but it has to be efficient in
reducing staff, rationalizing work, organizing it well, and having
multi-positions [el multi-oficio]. many times one person cleans the walls,
someone else cleans the windows, and someone else cleans the floors, three
workers. They were specialists. We needed 3 or 4 workers because they were
specialized. This also applied to sweeping the floor and cleaning windows.
They began with the windows and so forth. That is so. It is that way in
those centers.

I think an example...[changes thought] I was asking... [changes thought] It
turned out that the cook got sick. There were 5 people in the kitchen for
400, not 50, like it is many times, and the principal cook got sick. And do
you know who replaced him? The driver of two vehicles replaced him.
[laughter] The driver of two vehicles replaced him [repeats himself]. He
drove a truck and a bus. I wanted to meet him one day because of this and I
asked him where he learned to cook. Well, when I was in the service he
said, I was a cook there. I asked him, when you were in the kitchen, who
was driving? I did, he said. When I finished cooking and the shift ended,
he said, I drove them.

Because they name him the bus driver, and the bus might go out once or
twice a day, the rest of the time the bus is idle, which pleases me, and so
is the driver, which does not please me. The truck, the driver [as heard].
If the truck is not needed the driver is seated there. Why can he not do
something else, work in the garden or fix something, clean, or help in the
kitchen? In that center, several workers help in the kitchen, in anything.
The result is that you have a truck driver driving around even when he's
not needed, because the man get bored sitting there. He sometimes even goes
to see his girlfriend with the truck or the bus.

It is not known how much these things cost, and that mania for staffs and
inflated staffs is in everything, not just CUJAE, one can bet everything on
it. Everything one has can be used to bet that there is a large amount of
bureaucracy. One can wager that anywhere. and not lose. That is the safest
wager one can make in one's life but I would not advise it because gambling
is prohibited and, in addition, the bet would be robbery. [applause]
Interests emerge and resistance to organizations emerges. I would take them
to a table, not of negotiation, but of serious discussion, and I think the
party is the one which should direct that process of calm discussion --
that does not mean that tomorrow everyone starts running, or that there
should be insecurity, fear, or (word indistinct], no, nothing of that sort.
[laughter]

We cannot do anything in a hurry, rashly, or suddenly because everything
has to be done with time, as we have done before in some things, such as
medicine and the technical sciences, where we have been doing things
slowly, not suddenly, and we are advancing slowly and resolving problems.

There is no doubt that during this congress, even your laughter reflected
the fact that some of the things we have done are ridiculous. But, above
all, we are demanding more and more from the concept of professionals with
a deep and broad knowledge, specializing on the job, at the production
center.

Well, physicians have to wait. A neurosurgeon has to study 10 years: 6 of
medical training and 4 of specialization. It has been shown that
specializations demand more years of training. There are many years. Any of
these doctors have 1 extra year of training and later have 1 year of
practical experience. Those who work in the mountains have 2 years. Simply
because physicians are too widely scattered and they cannot continue their
speciality training program. They are too far away. They would have to
travel long distances every week or several times a week and this is not
possible, this is not logical. So, they remain there for 2 years. They lose
1 year compared to others but after 2 years they come to the city and they
begin their specialized residency as family physicians at the corresponding
polyclinic.

Just today I received reports from fellow comrades who work with me and are
visiting physicians in Guantanamo. There are some 150 physicians from
Havana in the mountains of Guantanamo. There was no hesitation. To the
contrary, there are 153 because over 150 have been chosen to have some as
backup and when the program began, the ones who were considered backup
showed up and said they could not be left out of the program. We had to
transfer some people from Guantanamo to other jobs and give them the
position. They are among the ones with the best records at Havana's School
of Medicine. The comrades' reports are very good. The work those physicians
are doing and their behavior are very encouraging. They are true residents
of Havana. It is possible that some of them have never seen a mountain
before. But their morale is as high as the palm trees.

It is one of the things I have to mention, that we really have to mention,
because we have to acknowledge positive things, and the positive attitude
university graduates have. It has been shown in many ways. No post was ever
left vacant when they were needed as physicians, engineers, for any mission
in the Armed Forces or as farmers, or agricultural experts.

I used an almost cruel, strong irony when I spoke to the comrade when he
was saying a very good, noble thing. He said, we are willing and we want to
be assigned to internationalist missions. I responded that the bad thing is
that instead of helping we could take the country to bankruptcy. That is
what I said that could have been considered an almost cruel irony as a
response to that noble willingness. But I wanted something else. I wanted
that internationalist spirit to be linked to a broader, more extensive, and
more adequate training of our farmers, to give internationalism the quality
of a profession so that an internationalist mission could be accomplished
with the maximum efficiency. The world needs agricultural experts, the
world needs farmers. But it will need farmers with an ample training
because there are endless problems. All good farmers should have knowledge
about the soil, fertilizers, plant diseases, irrigation, show know many
things. He has to be a specialist in general comprehensive agriculture.
[laughter] I consider veterinary separately. Let's not get involved in that
sacrosanct field of animal health. Well, students have always had that
willingness for everything. I am also pleased to tell you about the news we
have received from the easternmost province.

I honestly believe that the idea I have been referring to is one of the
lessons of this congress. We have to dwell on it and find out how to apply.
I repeat, I insist that in my opinion, the most important thing about this
idea is the matter of an extensive and broad training. It is not
self-contradiction. With a thorough specialization later on -- which we
should somehow systematize, with some systematic studies. If someone wants
to specialize in railroads, the program should be like that of the
physicians, to work and study with the railroads. If he is going to
specialize in something else, he should also have his program.

What have we done here? We have also copied, always copied. Medical school
graduates complete 5 years of training -- well if we choose graduates, lets
call them graduates. The next day after they graduate from the university
they have no experience, no work. They are graduates of what, of whatever
they like. They talk about being graduates on the job. Really, that became
popular. If they were asked what they did, they called themselves doctors,
they called themselves doctors. [repeats himself] That is why I changed the
title. Traditionally physicians were called doctors. Later they were going
to be called "licenciado" [college graduate] and I opposed that. I said, do
not call them "licenciado," call them doctor and later refer to them
according to their specialty. Somewhat superficially, these institutions
have copied things and have wanted to apply them. I know that because we
assigned some research centers to universities. I say with some sadness
that some of those important centers -- because at one time we gave some of
the best centers to the universities -- instead of solving the problems of
the country and keeping an eye on what was going on in agriculture,
stockbreeding, etc., basically concentrated on training medical school
graduates, training doctors.

That is very good, I am happy about that, and I respect their degrees. But
I believe that there should have been more requirements to grant degrees to
graduates. There should have been more requirements. Some studied and
conducted serious work but others did not do work of much value. In
addition, they went to some countries and obtained their degree there and
nobody tested them here. I believe that we should give our own degrees here
with strict requirements.

I believe it would have been healthier to think about these kinds of
things. To conduct systematic specialized training. Finally, I can even
accept that they give the title of doctorate graduate and even doctorate
degree in the specialty of railroads. Great, it is alright. In other words,
we have not planned very well. Of course, this could not have been done
from the first day.

Since there was a need to train a specialist quickly, as was the case of
pediatricians, we had to use the narrow profile. It could have happened
with some of these other specialities. But now that we have a large mass of
trained people, since it is not that urgent, we can begin to have a more
ambitious program to train these specialists, as we did in medicine, so
that they have basic training -- not only 3 years but at least 5 years with
more general courses during that time. It is something that needs to be
studied. It cannot be improvised in just a few minutes.

Well, I am thinking about an idea which could also be basic as a result of
the discussions. We believe that the higher education centers, in regard to
the normal students, of the regular courses, should start forgetting,
getting away from the idea of quantity to embrace the idea of quality.
[applause]

I am not saying that there is no quality. There is quality, increasing
quality as Comrade Vecino was saying. There has been quality within the
massive training. Now we have to think each time less in terms of quantity
and more and more in terms of quality. The fellow comrade from agronomy was
saying that in a poll, 54 percent of the graduates had no idea of the
objectives of the profession and had no interest in the profession. They
simply chose it because they could not study any other thing because of
their grade point average. It is something that should make us think.

What need do we have to train 54 percent with no vocation? What are we
doing? What are we gaining with that? It is better to let half of them go
and give better training, more time in the laboratories, everything to the
rest. We gain in every sense by letting go half of them and keeping the
ones who are really interested and have a calling for that profession. This
was made evident here in the pedagogic detachment because of the number of
those who joined because they did not make the grade for anything else. It
clearly shows us that instead of admitting 7,000 we should admit 6,000, or
5,000, or 4,000, or 3,300 -- whatever -- but admit only those who have a
real vocation and who love to teach. I believe we should do that in every
field. We should not admit anyone who does not have a vocation, interest,
true interest. We are in the position of doing that because we have more
graduates.

There will be a time when we are going to have a surplus of professionals.
We have even thought of creating a reserve of professionals, reserves. We
are going to do the same thing in medicine. Unfortunately, we will do this
in the year 2000. In the year 2000, maybe before, if we begin to graduate
4,000 students a year. We will need 10,000 more doctors after we have
65,000 to be able to grant the sabbatical year. We are ahead of teachers in
that concept. We are thinking of applying it to teachers. It is possible
that this may be a good idea to apply to all university-level professions
within a system of continuous education, which is what we should aspire to
Professionals could have their reserves and we could graduate a greater
number than we need. But we need quality. We could have more economists,
engineers, architects. I do not know, lets say if we had 1,400 we could
have 200 more so that every 7 years architects could have 1 year off to
study the specialty in urban planning or whatever, after he has worked as
an architect, when he knows how to build buildings or plan them. The idea
of a reserve could be a good idea as a way to use our human resources. Many
times I have said that to have an individual in an office doing nothing,
without producing anything... [changes thought] if it is a job that can be
done by others or with the help of computers, we could train him as a
physician. He could be part of the reserve of physicians, engineers,
architects, economists, teachers, or professors. That is possible. It would
be a rational way of using resources within socialism. Because socialism is
that. Do not think that socialism is the frivolous mercantilism some have
invented with individuals making a profit by stealing and hiding the
inflated payrolls, etc.

No, socialism is something else. It is above all that. It can entail the
idea of reserves as a way of utilizing human resources. We now have...
[changes thought] the idea of the reserves can wait. If we're going to have
90 percent excess, better to have 95. Let fewer enroll. But let's have the
better qualified enroll, those who have not only intellectual, but
political-moral qualifications, and who are interested in and have a
calling for the career. It can be clearly seen now that we have to reduce
enrollment in some instances so that those who are truly interested can
enroll. They don't have to be 90,000. The number of university students can
be 85,000 or 80,000 or 75,000 or 70,000. We don't have to rush it.

This is what I was referring to when I said I would speak about the matter
later. There are some ideas that must be very clear. It was confirmed here,
and it is evident, that the state is under the obligation to place the
young people who are enrolling in the higher education centers as regular
students. It could be seen here. It is logical. We are surprised that the
poor man who specialized in airports is not employed. We'll have to invent
at least a rice field and a landing strip on the rice field. Something will
have to be done to find him employment.

It can be inferred that the state has the moral obligation to find
employment for that young man whom it had studying 5 or 6 years. That is
clear. Now, it is also clear that there are no problems with the tens of
thousands of elementary school teachers who are studying for a degree in
elementary education. They go to the elementary schools as graduates, with
a much higher level of education. There is no problem. Whoever wants to can
study that, whatever the number, through workers courses. Economists.
People in production and services.

Now, those are supposed to be workers; they are working. This should not
lead to the belief that once he has a degree the state has the obligation
to place him in the same work center, in a position in keeping with his
degree. As I have said other times, if a tractor operator wants to be a
mechanical engineer, that's wonderful. Mechanical engineer. And if by
taking courses he can become a mechanical engineer, the operator of a
machine of some sort, then it should be so. We must give him facilities. We
should not do away with workers' courses. But, it should be made very clear
that it is impossible for society to guarantee the hundreds of thousands
who want to take advantage of that possibility, positions as college
professors or as planners [proyectistas]. It could be that he is very
intelligent and one day he is sent there, but it should be clear that
society cannot guarantee that worker a position come what may. Society must
give priority -- and it must give them priority because they will be better
educated -- to the young people, the regular students. That is as far as
the state's obligation should go.

It does not have the same problem, I repeat, with the teacher, because he
is already working and is studying to keep working there. I believe that a
great number of the workers attending courses will be studying to remain in
their positions, although some may be assigned certain tasks in accordance
with their abilities and training.

There were distortions in all this, because as I have often said, even the
best ideas are distorted; they often dengenerate. What was the situation in
medicine? I was amazed. There were 40-year-olds enrolling in medical
school. It seems to me that a man is rather grown at 40 to begin studying
medicine. That was one of the first things that had to be straightened out.
So we put a limit of 25 years for enrollment in the medical school. I will
explain to you later why. There was something else that was incredible. The
health worker had a feudal privilege in relations to medicine. If he worked
in a stock room -- see how things are interpreted -- he attended the
directed courses [cursos dirigidos] or the worker-peasant schools and had
the right to study medicine, because he was working in the stock room of a
hospital. They were 30, 35, and 40. What sense does that make? So we had to
categorical: No one older than 25 enrolls. As for those who were already
studying, we respected their rights. Those who already had 1 or 2 years of
study, taking the last examinations. And we gave them more exams. Then, no
older than 25.

Why the exception? It was established that health technicians could study
as workers -- nurses, laboratory personnel, people who were working in the
health sector. This was a way for those cases which had very good records,
since no exceptions were ever made, not even in cases of hundredths of a
point. I know cases of young men and women who had a strong calling and
were unable to enroll because of a hundredth of a point. This way they had
a chance.

They could enroll and study to become health technicians. As high school
graduates, they could study health technology, and after they became health
technicians, they had the right, by taking an exam, to enroll in a medical
school. I know a few cases of people with a strong calling, young people
who did just that. They went that course. But only intermediate medical
technicians.

That is how things started to straighten up. But what does this have to do
with the prospects of the revolution, which opened the doors of the
university to workers many years ago? This was a great thing. It should be
kept, first in a time of need, and later in the interest of
self-improvement. I believe that these ideas should be clear, because it
would be utopian to have hundreds of thousands of students and then have to
find positions in accordance with their profiles, which, in addition, could
be narrow profiles. This does not have any logic. That is why it is
important to make this idea clear. The university will remain open to
workers, but the obligation for placement in specific specialties, should
be with the regular students. This does not mean that a factory can't take
a worker who became an engineer and had a brilliant record and place him as
an engineer.

This does not exclude that possibility. The possibility will exist. First,
the possibility of self-improvement. A tractor operator-engineer must be a
wonder. An engineer driving a harvester. Wonderful. Fixing it, checking
what problems it had even further developing the harvester. If he wants to
be an engineer, let him become an engineer and keep driving the harvester.
Or if he is so brilliant, they can send him to fix sugar mills. He will
have the chance to improve himself. And there might be a chance that he
will be used in something connected to his studies. But the priority, the
moral obligation and even institutional obligation, we could say, is with
the regular students.

So, it appears to us that we should start reducing the mass. We should go
in search of quality. This is what the new stage is. Quality should become
the focus of the Higher Education Ministry. We have made progress in this.
There was a time when it was very linked to the work centers, and students
worked regularly in the industries. We then decided to combine work and
study in intermediate education, and have students in higher education get
involved in activities related to their careers and as part of their
training, their professional training. That step was taken. We assigned
many more hours to study and we have made progress. Our teachers have
gained experience, our institutions are developing. But we have to make
quality the center of attention of the Higher Education Ministry and cut
down on everything that in an irrational manner is hurting quality, is
harming the country's resources, and is harming the future of the country,
which is what we do when we graduate young people who are not interested in
what they are doing, nor have the best records to do it. We will have to
examine each career, wherever this phenomenon occurs which the comrades of
the pedagogical detachment and the agricultural-livestock sciences were
explaining to us.

It should not allow that in any university career. The time has come to
make quality the fundamental objective, because the development achieved,
the availability of cadres and technicians allows us this privilege, of
concerning ourselves with the quality and not quantity of university
graduates. There's nothing in saying, look, 30,000 or 40,000; tell me how
many have graduated through directed courses, through workers courses, and
through regular courses.

Let us eschew the mystique of numbers and consider it a success in the
future when they begin to tell us that the number of regular graduates is
going down because that is what is in keeping with the concept of quality.
Fortunately, we are able to aspire to that concept. Quality has to be the
watchword of education, and it is becoming the watchword in all this
process of rectification. There were mistakes. There were even mistakes in
the self-improvement plan. It was shown that the self-improvement plan was
not perfect, and that even what is perfect or aspires to perfection can be
imperfect. There were mistakes. There was copying of certain concepts which
are becoming antiquated today.

Of course, the concept perfectioning itself entailed the perfectioning of
the perfected. And to perfect the perfected could imply rectifying the
mistakes made in the perfectioning, or rectifying conceptual errors. That
is the task of the perfectioning system. Self-perfectioning.
Self-improvement.

In education, the battle in which the party and the country are engaged is
for more quality in intermediate education. We have made progress, without
a doubt. But we cannot feel satisfaction. There must be more quality. This
cannot be achieved from one year to the next. This was demonstrated when
there was a super-exigency that did not tally with the quality of the
classes taught. That is why the second congress came up with adjustment
[adecuacion]. Adjustment does not wean loosening up. It means to demand
more but to adjust exigency to the quality of the teaching. Demand more
from the student, demand more from the teacher. That cannot be accomplished
in a single year. That is going to take 5 years. We must proceed step by
step. What we had was going to become a disaster. Meetings are being held
with methodologists, department heads, intermediate school directors. The
ministry will soon have a full meeting with all these sectors.

We went from one extreme to the other. From the legitimate, healthy, and
correct effort to teach the student, give him good classes, ask him to
study, review the material with him if necessary, attend to him, to
complete neglect of the student. A review is not cheating as long as the
entire material is reviewed. If the teacher reviews 10 topics, the student
gets the impression that the teacher wants to have a high passing rate, and
is insinuating something very difficult to prove, but easy to deduce, that
he is telling the student what the subject matter is.

Of course, there are new methods, the provincial exams or the exams
centrally prepared by the ministry. We can guarantee both things. Increased
exigency, the adjustment of that exigency to classes whose quality should
also be demanded. That is the task at the intermediate level today. The
intermediate level is very important; it precedes, it is the breeding
ground for future students in the higher education centers. There is no
doubt that the quality of the breeding ground is going to rise.

We already have the pre-university vocational schools of exact sciences.
They are excellent institutions, excellent. I have had the opportunity to
see how rigorous the program those students have to follow is. It is hard.
I should tell you that they have 6 subjects in the morning alone, in 5
hours. In the afternoon they start at 1400 and finish at almost 1800, with
a number of other classes. The exact sciences' students have one of the
hardest programs I have ever seen. I thought it was an excellent group.
They are not there as a privilege, it was never a privilege. All vocational
schools are very strict in their requirements and demands. Those kids are
admitted by considering their records and are also given an entrance
examination. A large group of students is being trained with good quality.
They can specialize in subjects such as physics, chemistry, electronics,
mathematics, or biology. The program trains students for science-related
professions. The biology majors will go to the school of biology or mainly
to the school of medicine. But there is something that is very important.
Each one of those students gets 90 hours a year of computer training. All
of them, without exception. They will be admitted to the higher education
centers with 270 hours of computer training. Notice what leap in quality.

This program is extended to the pre-university level of the technological
schools. The students of all the pre-university schools in the country --
there is a program underway, the equipment is being obtained for them --
will have between 60 to 70 hours of computer training a year. They will
graduate with a high school degree with close to 200 hours of computer
training while they are in high school.

But there is more. Computer training will be introduced in basic secondary
schools. This program will be completed in 1989. The necessary expenditures
have been made for half of the equipment and in 1987 and 1988 the necessary
investments will be made. All the necessary personnel is being trained for
these programs in secondary schools.

In the past few years millions of dollars have been invested in computer
sciences for higher education and this is already being applied. The
program had already started when the meeting was held. The program is under
way, personnel is being trained. The program will be completely implemented
in 1990.

All technical sciences students will have between 60 and 70 hours of
computer training. All the other fields, economy, etc., will also have
computer training. Technical sciences' students will have approximately 300
hours of computer classes at the end of their training. If you add it to
the courses they will take as students of exact sciences or secondary
pre-university school, at the end the university graduates in the
scientific or technical professions will have had over 500 hours of
computer training. I think this will be a great leap in quality. They will
master computers. This is essential in today's world and we will not fall
too far behind. We could say that by struggling to achieve these goals,
struggling to achieve a better selection, better prepared classes, better
prepared professors, better use of the resources we have, we will be among
the first in the world in the training of our professionals.

We can set very ambitious goals today. We are going to have excellent
sources of material for the higher education centers. I believe this is
very promising, really promising. One can see this in this congress. It is
something worthy of the 28 years of revolution.

It is something worthy of a country that began fighting illiteracy by
teaching 1 million people to read and write. We have just marked the 23th
anniversary of this drive.

To speak of these things, to speak of these possibilities, to speak of this
familiarization with the most modern techniques, of these concepts, of
these ideas, is something very encouraging after 25 years of the literacy
campaign and after 28 years of the triumph of the revolution.

The young lady reminded us when she was presenting the esteemed award that
the revolution is 28 years old, it is 28 years and 10 days old.
Twenty-eight years and 2 days ago we arrived in the capital. The problems
were different then. We could not even dream about these encouraging things
we are talking about today. We are also marking, I believe, 58 years from
the death of Julio Antonio Mella. [applause] What better homage can we pay
to Mella, to Jose Antonio Echeverria, to all the martyrs, to all those who
struggled during those bitter and difficult days for the university
reforms, for the revolution. What better homage than these ideas, these
plans?

I believe this is a worthy tribute to those forerunners, those patriots.
That tribute from now on is called quality, depth. Of course, the work of
students is decisive. It will not only be the work of professors but it
will have to be a shared effort between teachers and students.

I am not going to talk about few internal matters. You talked quite a bit
about that, about what you have done, about what you are planning to do, of
the weak points, of what needs to be improved. Of course, this also
includes another concept within the integral training of the student. Study
needs to be the center, the priority task. It is fine to try to include
sports, culture, and everything else. But the center of the evaluation of a
student should be his studies. Of course we have to avoid having students
overburdened with excessive tasks that can be a detriment to their studies.
It is true that when one is young many things can be done, miracles can be
performed, and ambitious plans can be fulfilled. I agree with that. But
study must be at the center of those ambitious plans.

Perhaps we should think about how we are going to modify the mechanisms for
admission to the university.

Medical science has provided good experience. That is one thing in which we
have to move away from the computers, from the numbers. We should develop
criteria for admission. There should be a certain selection determined by
knowledge. So far, the record has been the basis, but, of course, we have
that the exact sciences students have a very hard program. To get a 97, 96,
or 95 there is not easy. I could be that their average is lower but they
know more. The relatives, of course, take the wrong tack. Not always, but
almost always. They wanted a bonus. We asked: bonus? That is not correct.
It smacks of privilege, of an easy thing. But it could occur that a young
man with 270 hours of computer training who knows about electronics might
not be able to enter the electronics school. That would hurt us. So, we
must find criteria that are just, that do not imply privilege, but that are
really accurate in the selection process.

We could combine, as they do in the exact sciences school, the record and
the entrance examination. A certain number of points for the record, which
could be 50 or 40 or less -- we'll have to do our addition right -- and a
certain number of points for the exam, which could be 50, 55, 60 or more,
whatever is decided. That way everyone will have a chance, even the high
school graduates even if not exact sciences students. That would be much
more fair, much more reasonable. If a student has a better record because
the school is not strict enough, if he has a 95, and the other student has
a 93, and they take a rigorous exam, the one who has 93 but knows more, if
given a number of points for what he knows, could also get up to a 95 or
96. We must find a solution to the problem so that in the search for
quality we select the best students, the more capable, while at the same
time affording the opportunity of university admission to all, whether they
come from an urban pre-university school or a rural pre-university school.

I think we will have to start getting away from the computers or using them
as an auxiliary instrument to do the figuring, so the computer does not
have the final say, because the computer only works with numbers and the
numbers often don't reflect reality. Nor do all places have the same level
of education, nor do all the centers have the same exigency. So, in order
to ensure the possibility of studying within an adequate selection, we have
to find fair, reasonable, and equitable formulas that will allow us to
achieve these purposes.

In the future, beginning with this year, the number of male students' who
enter the university without doing military service will be less each year.
This is a result of two things: The need of the country, the need of the
universities, and the suitability of stimulating [estimular] the students'
records. We should not give up on this. We can stimulate the record, it
won't be 8,000 this year, it will be 7,000. But those 1,000 will be on a
list so that they can do 1 year of service. The stimulus in this case will
be that they will be away from their studies for only 1 year. In 1986
[corrects himself] in 1988, we'll have 1,000 less, and so on. We will
reduce the number in accordance with the situation and the needs. There
could be a number left over at the end, a minimal number. A very fair
formula has already been introduced. That formula is one that involves the
students, the so-called pre-military students, in which students who come
out of the service will get another chance to study when they come back.
When they are more mature, more studious. The record is not always the
proof of intellectual capacity, because there are young people who are
capable but who have no study habits, no discipline for study.

It was very fair to give those young people who did their duty by the
fatherland the opportunity to enter university. Some of them are doing
outstanding work. There are some of them right here, among yourselves, and
they have spoken. I believe that the pre-military students are one of the
fairest things we have done. But of course, we will still consider the
average and the prerrogatives of those who have good records. If one day
4,000 enter directly, there will be 4,000 who will do a single year. It is
possible that for some careers, the country's convenience will dictate
doing the service at the end. Admit the young person and allow him to do
the service later for a certain amount of time. But the majority will do it
before. Down to I year, for those 8,000 who today are entering the
university directly without having done their service. This will be done
slowly so we won't leave a school bereft of males. But we can do it more
and more as the ones returning from service enter university.

After 2 years, 2 and 1/2 years, or after 1 year when the young man is
entitled on the basis of his record to certain prerogatives he will be a
young man preassigned to enter university. He won the right, but he went to
do 1 year of military service. it is time to rectify what could be or is an
apparent injustice or a privilege. Some were doing 3 years of service and
others did not do a single month. I believe that this topic will be
discussed at the Congress of the Union of Young Communists in April.
[applause]

Comrades, we expect great results from this congress. We expect that this
congress will also be a historic turning point and a historic leap for the
higher education centers. What am I basing my optimism on? On your human
and revolutionary quality, on the human and revolutionary quality of our
teachers. I base my optimism on the conviction that we will have ever
higher standards in the centers, ever higher standards in the young people
enrolling in these centers, increasing political knowledge, increasing
political awareness, increasingly better programs, increasingly rational
structure, and a more rational organization of our universities. I base my
optimism on the fact that we will have an increasingly better youth. That
is where success lies, we measure the achievements of the revolution when
we see you. You will also measure the achievements of the revolution this
way in the future when you observe the generations of students that come
after you. We do not work for ourselves, we work for you. That is why we
have the right to make demands. That is why we have the right to expect the
best from you. We work for a world for you and if you are conscious that
there are things that are wrong -- many -- we hope that in the future the
problems will be different, not these, not these that we are rectifying and
overcoming now. We hope that the problems of future generations are not the
same. We'll have the books, the best matrixes and the best books, the
laboratories, the computers, the buildings finished, and more buildings
with less students. They will have more room. We will finish even the
famous agronomy school. It has a new name now. The one in San Jose. That
one. Yes, I assure you, I swear it, we will finish it one day. And we'll
see the pedagogic school [applause]. We'll see the pedagogic school in
Manzanillo. We'll see the swimming pool and the sports fields of the higher
institute...[interrupted by applause] we will see the sports fields and the
medical sciences schools all finished. [applause] We will see it all. We'll
have better buildings. We will see the necessary arrangements made there
where the construction was not carried out with the required quality. We
will follow them closely. We will see them as were overcome these problems.
We hope that we will see much of this progress at the new congress, the
fourth congress, many of these problems solved, many of these ideas
applied, many of these concepts applied.

If in the future we have much better higher education centers, they will be
the higher education centers headed by you. In your country, in your era,
so that when you become specialists, broad based specialists of deep
profiles, for your industries, your services, your society [changes
thought) that is what we are working for. I want to tell you that this must
be your task, you must feel responsibility for these tasks. We will all
continue to work. The next generation will do the utmost to try do it as
well as possible. This generation began with a closed university. This
generation began when the doctors, engineers, the university professors had
fled. All of them. This generation bad to struggle under difficult
conditions. Today it has 25,000 doctors, and 40,000 more in sight. A large
number of them already in the medical sciences schools. Now we have
hundreds of thousands, now we can speak about these things. Imagine, when
you have these hundreds of thousands university cadres with even higher
educational levels, better institutions of every kind.

We have no doubt that it will be a world worth fighting for, worth
shouldering the responsibility for.

I don't have to appeal to your emotions. I don't have to appeal to your
revolutionary feelings, because my optimism, based on many things, is
fundamentally based on that, on your revolutionary spirit. My optimism is
based on the attitude shown here, the courage, the frankness, the words,
the eloquence with which most of you have spoken here. We are all greatly
impressed. All of us who have had the privilege of participating in the
congress, all who have sat up here will take with us a great impression. I
say this with much conviction. I hope, too, that no one will leave hurt and
that we will all leave with a profound optimism in the future, with
profound commitment to this great battle of rectification of errors, of
struggle against negative tendencies. A historic turning point, a historic
leap in the revolution. Fatherland or death, we shall win! [applause]
-END-


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