ON September 5, all of the country's classrooms, at different levels of schooling, will open to receive thousands of children, adolescents and youth who will be experiencing for the first time, or reliving, the greetings and ruckus of a schoolyard before a morning or evening start.
On this first Monday of the new academic year, all students will find the material resources needed for their studies in place, as well as facilities and teaching staff ready.
Despite economic difficulties, the country has been preparing for some time to ensure basic conditions and a quality educational program in its almost 10,000 schools.
Education Minister Ena Elsa Velázquez Cobiella cited the 16 million text books produced for the 2011-2012 year and the laboratory equipment for Chemistry, Physics and Biology high school classes procured from China, at a cost of four million dollars.
Touring several provinces at the end of August, the Minister noted that although the shortage of teachers has been addressed, there are still teaching positions which remain unfilled.
As a temporary solution, students in their fourth and fifth years of teaching certification studies, as well as contracted individuals and social workers, will be stepping in.
Although the situation has improved, a permanent solution to this problem which has been developing in the country for some years remains a priority, according to Velázquez Cobiella, who emphasized the need to train teachers and eliminate the persistent shortage of staff in the country.
Concrete steps taken in this endeavor include a new School of Pedagogy in the eastern province of Granma, which will open with 740 students studying Elementary and Pre-school Education, as well as the renovation and expansion of a similar institution in Sancti Spíritus province.
From the very beginning of the year, progress will be carefully monitored in middle schools and vocational-technical centers since, given the needs of the economy, 60% of students completing 9th Grade will move on to train as skilled workers.
One of the specific measures being taken to improve academics is the specialization of middle school teachers through post-graduate courses in two related subjects.
Although the country is sparing no resource in the effort to guarantee a quality education, as the Minister indicated, materials must be utilized efficiently given the costs incurred in their manufacture and acquisition abroad.