Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19870409
-YEAR-
1987
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
MEETING
-AUTHOR-
F. CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
FIFTH UJC CONGRESS
-PLACE-
PALACE OF CONVENTIONS
-SOURCE-
HAVANA TV
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19870420
-TEXT-
HIGHLIGHTS FROM UJC FIFTH CONGRESS, PART 3

FL170252 Havana Television Cubana Network in Spanish 0100 GMT 9 Apr 87

[Part three of "highlights" of the Fifth UJC [Union of Young Communists]
Congress held at Havana's Palace of Conventions 1-5 April; all delegates
identified by caption]

[Excerpts] [Passage omitted] [Neyda Borrego, Havana teacher] We teachers
are engaged in the rectification process. For years we had been clamoring,
demanding that fraud be eliminated, that teachers eschew facile solutions.
Certain demands were made of us. We participated in this, but that was
because the higher-ups were asking us to pass students. [applause] [passage
omitted]

[Ileana Garcia, from Ciego de Avila] I believe that a single wheel cannot
move a train. No matter how good a job the ministers do, no matter how good
a job Fidel does, no matter how good a job many of us want to do, if the
others don't do likewise, we cannot accomplish anything. And we cannot get
results by keeping our mouths shut. [passage omitted] The problem is with
the municipal education departments. They are not complying with
established norms. [passage omitted] Before concluding, I would like to ask
the commander in chief: Do you think that it is politically immature for a
young communist to analyze problems the way I do? I have been judged
politically immature. I have been told by high ranking leaders that I am
politically immature, but I feel that I cannot just say education minister
or Central Committee; I have to name names or else I don't solve a thing.
That is why I have had a lot of problems. That is a wound I carry deep in
my heart. I have said it: The only person that can convince me that I am
politically immature is you. If I am, you tell me.

[President- Fidel Castro] In principle, I believe that to speak clearly, to
speak openly, to speak honestly, to tell the truth is not political
immaturity. [applause] That is what I can say. [passage omitted]

[Fernando Rojas, from Havana] [Passage omitted] I believe that if there is
no true awareness in the overall educational process, from the beginning of
the course, of who learns and who doesn't, even if we tell all those who
flunked after the first evaluation test, after the first semester's tests,
that they should review, the problem will not be solved. The slogan
[preceding word in English] is that we have to start from day one. To do
this, there must be a teacher-student relationship, which from the
pedagogical viewpoint is so necessary. But it will not be achieved if the
mathematics teacher speaks to his students only about mathematics, if the
geography teacher talks only of geography, and if the physics teacher talks
only of physics. There must be a certain identification between the teacher
and the student because the student is a teenager, a young man who's
learning, a young man who, like so many repeaters, has problems at home, in
his relations in the neighborhood, has other educational problems carried
over from previous years. If we do not give individual attention to that
young man from the very beginning, we will not solve the problem.

I wanted to bring up another thing, considering that we are discussing
these problems. We are going to have problems with the curricula. We have
observed in particular certain deficiencies in the history curriculum.this
year. History is being added to other courses that students find the most
difficult in our province. That is, it is being added to physics,
chemistry, mathematics, and English. [passage omitted] Our opinion is that
the history program does not allow for a realistic teaching of history. I
think that to take some subjects into the basic secondary school which in
my view are not so much historical but political, of universal history...

[Castro, interrupting] You mean that they are too young to analyze these
issues with the required depth.

[Rojas] Exactly. I feel that this should be taught in the pre-university. I
am speaking to you as a teacher.

[Castro] What is your opinion of Fernando's comments on the subject matter
for young people at that age? You had talked about history too.

[Ofelia Liptak, Havana City teacher] Yes. In the case of elementary school,
Cuban history courses are taught in the fourth grade in a superficial,
general way. Ancient history is taught in the fifth and sixth grades.
What's the matter with this? There is simply no solid foundation in Cuban
history for elementary students.

I believe that this is an essential element. But this does not only happen
in elementary school; it also occurs in secondary school, although Cuban
history is taught in the eight and ninth grades. We have learned from
discussion groups with Education Ministry comrades that Cuban history will
be taught in fifth and sixth grade this coming term. We are concerned
because, for example. I have been enrolled in the bachelor's degree in
elementary education. Cuban history was not taught there although I had not
taken Cuban history for I don't know how many years. I believe it is an
important element.

[Castro] Isn't it taught for a bachelor's degree?

[Liptak] No, not until the fourth year. We have been concerned, and a 72
hour history program should be introduced this coming term. We are
concerned about a group of young people who never took it, who have already
graduated. We would have to study how to get this element to them. I
believe we have to convey to our students part of our own foundation, our
own education.

[Castro] Of course. The report notes this concern.

[Liptak] Of course.

[Castro] Concerning the teaching of history.

[Liptak] Of course.

[Castro] And will the children be able to learn this subject matter, which
Fernando was talking about, in the eighth grade?

[Liptak] I think that history must be taught, especially our history, which
is fundamental.

[Castro] Yes, yes, but aside from all that, what about elementary school?

[Liptak] You have to adapt it to the level of the student. I believe it
should be taught in elementary school. This is essential. Of course, in
accordance with the students level. [passage omitted] You have to adapt it
to the level of the student. I believe it should be taught in elementary
school. This is essential. Of course, in accordance with the students
level. [passage omitted]

[Ileana Soter, from Havana] [Passage omitted] I can tell you why students
don't want to study. First, because the course work has little to do with
real life. In addition, they do not want to study because the only thing
people worried about were problems at school. The FEEM [Federation of
Mid-Level School Students] had lost freshness and dynamism. The only thing
we did was to hold meetings. We did not get together socially, we did not
ask them if they had personal or family problems that prevented them from
studying. [passage omitted] Vocational orientation is very poor. One of the
methods is the interest club. It has often been said that, in theory, 10th
grade students should receive good orientation because that is the reason
why so many people flunk during the first and second year of study and why
there are so many drop outs. [passage omitted] There are no interest clubs
in the pre-university schools, and since we cannot go to the Pioneer
palaces, we have even less information.

[Castro] Which one is your pre-university school?

[Soter] Saul Delgado Pre-University School in El Vedado.

[Castro] (?Its a big one). There are 2,800 students there.

[Soter] Yes, 2,800 students.

[Castro] How does that big center work, in your opinion?

[Soter] In my opinion, so-so. The UJC's political work is quite weak. We
have tried to reduce meetings by at least 50 percent and to get more
involved in work, man to man. That is, ask the student what his concerns
and interests are. We have achieved good results with this in the "March to
the Year 2000" assemblies and in open assemblies with the students. Aside
from that, we have not done anything else.

[Castro] Can a big center like that function properly? Isn't it too big?

[Soter] No, the problem is that the average enrollment in pre-university
schools has been around that figure every year. We have a big teaching
staff. I feel that the school functions adequately as regards the passing
rate, but there are difficulties because some teachers are not very good
and there are students...

[Castro, interrupting] Do you have problems with laboratories?

[Soter] We have biology, chemistry, and physics laboratories.

[Castro] So you have all the equipment you need.

[Soter] No. Well, we need some in the chemistry lab.

[Castro] It seems there is a shortage of equipment.

[Soter] That's right. [passage omitted]

[Geisa Martinez, from Villa Clara] [Passage omitted] We have heard much
talk in these sessions about many kinds of cheating. Cheating is to cheat
others or yourself in any one sphere of life. Let's take academic cheating
in particular. I am bringing this subject up at the request of a UJC
committee that believes in Fidel as much as we all do. One student cheated
by copying a test from another student who had already taken it. In other
words, a test that had already been graded. The grade was erased and the
test copied. With that, the student would make the 70 points. It is said
that cheating is not subject to social rejection. That is what the report
states. But in this case, it's completely the opposite. The 710 students of
that pre-university school and the 124 UJC members strongly reject this
cheating. They have taken their protest as far as they can go and they have
received no answer, no solution.

When the student's father asked that the test be graded again, the teachers
bravely stated that when they opened the sealed envelope they found the
tests had been altered and they were not going to look at them. Despite the
insistence of some Education Ministry officials that the test could be
graded because it could not be shown that fraud had taken place, the
teachers refused to do so. They went to the National Revolutionary Police
in Caibarien Municipality and were told the police would not take the case
because it would be very difficult for them. Nevertheless, they convinced
the police to take the case. This was on 19 July. On 23 July the case was
returned because the police said they were incapable of proving which of
four people who had keys to the building -- it had not been broken into --
lent the keys to allow the student to copy the test. On 23 July, the
teachers received a negative response from the municipality regarding this
case of cheating. What happened then?

On 24 July, they went to the provincial education department. Three
comrades -- a education inspector, a teacher, and the municipal teaching
and methodology chief -- decided to put the case into the hands of the
Interior Ministry. This was on 24 July 1986. It was only in October that
the first interviews were conducted. The worst thing was that people were
interviewed, but as of 25 January, when the Caibarien Municipal UJC
Assembly was held, no response had been received. The UJC committee brought
it up again at the municipal assembly with great courage. We thought there
would be an answer. This was not so. It was not settled. When it was taken
to the provincial level, people started coming out of the woodwork. That is
why I identified so much with my fellow delegate. When things are mentioned
that are not supposed to be mentioned, people start to get anxious and then
on you have people saying, oh, no, I didn't know, I just found out about
it. It seemed a solution would be reached that day, but it wasn't. The
assembly met 22 February and so far the committee has not had an answer. We
know this is not the place we will be told who committed fraud because no
one here has a magic wand, although I know a lot of people want to solve
this problem. We know we are not going to be told, let's go to Caibarien
tomorrow. We don't want that, although it would be an honor for our town if
those people we are talking about -- and you know who they are -- would go
to Caibarien. We know it is not going to happen. What we want is for
someone to tell us if, because one ministry has no proof and the other has
no measures to take, when a collective denounces fraud of this kind, we
should just twiddle our thumbs. Is it not immoral that this young man, who
today is sweeping out a sugar mill but who could have been attending
university had it not been for the courage of those teachers who refused to
regrade that test, was led astray by a teacher? That is what happened at
this school. It was an Education Ministry official -- I can't say if it was
one, two, or three -- who allowed him to enter the school office and copy
the test. [passage omitted] All we want to ask is: Why should we stand here
with our arms folded when we know that cheating took place? We have no
legal evidence to say this one goes to jail and so does the other one. That
Education Ministry official will not commit this kind of fraud; he will do
it again but in a more subtle way. He won't be as clumsy next time.
[passage omitted] Behind this case of fraud there are not only comrades who
want this to be solved; there are other people, who are not as
revolutionary, waiting for a bad end to this case so they can say, look how
much attention they paid to the UJC. Why did the party take it up? Behind
all this are the others who don't care whether our students learn or not,
but who are interested in discrediting the revolution. That is what we
cannot allow. We cannot allow it. [applause]

[Castro] While the comrade was speaking, Robaina [UJC First Secretary
Roberto Robaina], who knew of the case, was explaining it to me. I was also
talking to Machadito [Politburo member Jose Ramon Machado Ventura] about
what the party should do. We should carry out an exhaustive investigation
of this problem to find out who's responsible. [applause] [passage omitted]

[Johanna Tablada, from Havana] This moment, when Cuban youth has been asked
to build socialism, is a time when Fidel has made us understand that the
building of socialism is a process that cannot be accomplished by having a
mentality solely motivated by material incentives. We must rescue
attributes such as the honor and morality of man. These are fundamental
things. Now, where is the essence? These attributes are not formed in a
single day; they do not arise spontaneously in youth when they begin to
engage in productive work. That is why we attach so much importance to the
ideological education of youth. [passage omitted] Our question is whether
ideological education is being undertaken everywhere by people who should
and the way it should. Are the methods we are using to propagate ideology
in an authentic and thorough manner -- which is what young people need --
ideal? I believe they are not because we do not always obtain the results
we want. [passage omitted]

Where are schematic and bureaucratic mechanisms that we ourselves employ
that prevent young people from speaking out. They are afraid, perhaps they
feel insecure, and they say nothing. [passage omitted] We live in a
socialist country. We live better than millions of children and young
people in the rest of the world. We must do for the revolution tomorrow
what the revolution is doing for us today. These things have to be repeated
daily, as often as possible, until we feel and understand it and make it
our own. Otherwise... [applause]

[Castro] The young lady speaks well.

[Tablada] Pardon me, allow me to speak, I feel I am taking too much time.
Otherwise... [pauses]

[Castro] Otherwise what?

[Tablada] I'm getting there. I had a lot to talk about. I have said the
material 10 times over to see how short I could make it. We did not want to
leave the congress without speaking about it. We're going on. Let me
finish, commander.

[Castro] Are you going to tell us 10 things?

[Tablada] No, no, no. Wait. [crowd laughs]

[Castro] You have to leave room for other people. You are speaking very
well but if you talk about 10 things it could be that you lose quality and
people will get impatient.

[Tablada] No, sorry, allow me. I will say it briefly.

[Castro] Right. [crowd laughs] Let's see.

[Tablada] Where was I? Oh yes, I said those things. All I need now is to
give an example. [passage omitted] We should not lean only on the example
set by the martyrs. I don't know if I am making myself clear. It's not that
I don't respect martyrs. It's just that sometimes you need martyrs of flesh
and blood standing next to you. If I am a kid in school, my teacher has to
be better than I, because to teach you have to be taught; otherwise, you
are conveying distortions. [applause]

[Castro] Let's stand up. [Tablada receives standing ovation; murmurs at
presiding table]

[Tablada] Excuse me, or I'll take too much time and then you'll blame me.
(Someone says, "don't worry"] Wait, I haven't finished yet. [crowd laughs]
No, no, don't laugh. I want this to be taken as seriously as possible.
Really. Don't laugh. [passage omitted] To convince you, you have to be
convinced yourself. All those whose job is to convince, whether a teacher,
a parent, or a school director, must be convinced, and not just say so. As
happens, perhaps not here, but with many UJC members and many UJC cadres,
people just say it, and then pressure the young by saying "you are a
communist." I believe you have to be convinced. Not just in word, but in
action. [passage omitted] When I was in the eighth grade -- I shouldn't be
saying this, but there are comrades here, a girl who knows about this -- I
said there were problems with teachers -- I named no names. I was told that
at my age it was bad to talk so much. These were comrades in the municipal
office. What can a 13-year-old feel when told that? I was crying...

[Castro, interrupting] You were told at a municipal office?

[Tablada] Yes, a municipal office.

[Castro] They told you this?

[Tablada] They told me, look, kid...

[Castro, interrupting] Who told you?

[Tablada] I don't remember the name. All I know is that the municipal
directors name was Triana. I don't know where he is now. [passage omitted]
I am sure there are many cadres that are no good. At all levels. Please, I
don't want this to be seen as a lack of respect. I feel this must be looked
into if we have reached this stage because there were people in the UJC who
were not doing what they had to do. In many places... [interrupted by
applause]

[Castro] That's good, that's good.

[Tablada] Many comrades engaged in formulism, schematism, and
bureaucratism. Those same comrades cannot implement rectification. We have
to look for people who were at a lower level; who were seeing all this with
indignation; who are capable of accomplishing rectification. Commander, I
don't want you to get mad. This was said yesterday. It has a lot to do with
examples. I will give an example. All those who teach must ask themselves a
question. We, in this country, have the best example in the world. I tell
all those who teach ideology to ask themselves: Why do Cuban youth believe
so much in Fidel? When something cannot be resolved anywhere, they say: Ah,
if Fidel only knew. [applause] Why? I am going to answer that question.
[applause]

[Castro, chuckling] She's not through.

[Tablada] Wait, no, no, no. Allow me to answer that question.

[Castro] She hasn't finished.

[Tablada] I haven't finished. I asked a question and I can answer it. Why
is it every time there is a problem anywhere -- and we know some people are
hiding the fact -- we say, ah, comrades, if only Fidel knew. Poor Fidel. If
he only knew. We continue to believe in him. Why? Ask that question and try
to answer it. Try to be like him. We believe a great deal in Fidel. Young
Cubans believe in Fidel because, first of all, Fidel listens to us. Second,
he understands us. Third, he criticizes and praises us when he has to, and
he believes deeply in the young. Lastly, and I believe this is the most
important thing, he educates us with the truth. The truth, which is what we
have to start looking for right now. The truth of his example, the truth of
this revolution. [applause; crowd chants "Fidel, Fidel")
-END-


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