MONDAY, September 5.— Approximately two million students across Cuba reported to class at all levels of education from early childhood to high school, in 10,900 educational centers where the conditions of buildings, school furniture and educational materials have been guaranteed, according to statements made to Granma by Cira Piñeiro, Deputy Minister of Education.
Some 1,547 schools received major or minor renovations and the optimal functioning of Physics, Chemistry and Biology laboratories has been ensured in 75% of the country's pre-university high schools, she reported
Projections indicate that 56.2% of students graduating from 9th grade will move on to technical and professional studies (ETP), with more than 18,000 young people preparing themselves to work in agriculture and 17,000 in construction.
Alexander Manso, national director of technical and professional studies, indicated that 192 comprehensive centers are functioning and that 4,500 workplace classrooms are being opened, with the support of 3,500 specialized instructors. Two new skilled work specialties have been launched at this level, beauty services and artisanry, solely in the province of Holguín for now.
The cohort of pre-university students has been reduced by 11,000, given the priority set on technical and professional studies. Maricel Rodríguez, pre-university national director, explained that more than 460 secondary schools of this type will be welcoming students nationally, while several new institutions are opening this fall around the country, such as the Kim Il Sum Pre-University, in the Havana municipality of Arroyo Naranjo, where the national celebration of the academic year's opening was celebrated.
The country's pedagogical universities are expanding with the registration of some 1,800 new students this year, while two new primary and special education normal schools are beginning their second year of operation.
Isel Parra, national director of teacher training, emphasized the positive experiences resulting from the new policy of having 12th Grade students attend classes at pedagogical universities and reported that some 185,000 professors nationally are giving classes, making efficient use of the forces available to address the country’s needs.
The availability of 18,000 spots in early childhood education centers for children of working mothers was announced, as was a reorganization of the elementary school calendar into three academic periods. The two traditional weeks of recess within the system nationally have therefore been set for the weeks of December 25 through January 2 and April 16-21.