University reform

He started walking in 1962, in the midst of the transformation of the country, but it was an outstanding debt from the time of Mella. He had to respond to the demands of the present and focus on tomorrow. For this reason, preparatory work began at the same time as the Campaign for the Eradication of Illiteracy. When the feat of teaching the inhabitants of the most remote places to read and write was completed, the literacy teachers asked Fidel what else they had to do. The commander answered decisively: study.

Fidel defined the strategic concept of the project, recognizing the decisive role of education in all spheres of society. It was led by Armando Hart, a very young Minister of Education, who had a wide range of staff on board. Among them were highly trained educators, politicians with a deep knowledge of social sciences and culture, hardened in dealing with Marxist ideas, specialists trained in prestigious foreign universities, and leaders of the recently renovated FEU.

To achieve the final result, they took into account the analysis of programs and the creation of new careers.

From this point of view, at the University of Havana, the Faculty of Economics replaced the Faculty of Public Accountancy, designed to serve the interests of the capitalist company. The Faculty of Psychology arose and the foundations were laid for the birth of the non-existent Faculty of Biology, to which we owe so much today.

From the encyclopedic faculty of philosophy and literature, the faculties of history, geography and literature arose, within which the current faculty of foreign languages ​​sprouted.

The democratization process focuses on two fundamental aspects. It was necessary to open access to the university for the always marginalized. In the Cuban case, the biggest obstacle was not tuition fees, as the institution was supported by the national budget. The biggest problem was to support the young man during his studies. Those who did not live in the capital needed funds to live in guest houses, many of which were in appalling conditions. The creation of a scholarship system paved the way for the vast majority to enter higher education institutions.

On the other hand, the university reform defined the department as the basic unit of the system. Based on general guidelines, a group of professors specializing in each subject were responsible for formulating teaching and research, adjusting programs and methods in accordance with the results of daily practice, and identifying, taking into account specific circumstances, ways to retrain and improve. every teacher.

I experienced this transformational process intensely. He started teaching at a very young age. I was entrusted with the leadership of the Department of Non-Spanish Languages ​​and Literature. These were years of hectic work.

Vicentina Antunya, director of the School of Literature, shared this responsibility with the president of the National Council for Culture. I had to send at night. We had to prepare on the fly, when students were sitting in the classroom, courses that had no precedent in our academic tradition. I had to take on a huge administrative burden, as we had to provide language teaching services to the vast university of that time, which included the Faculty of Medical Sciences, the current Kujae, and the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, located on the Aleida farm, in the vicinity of Guines. Through failure and torment, we managed to do this.

However, the transformation process did not end there. Unforgettable Chomi Miyar has just settled in the university administration. Suddenly, without warning, he appeared at the Literary School. With his characteristic good nature, he sat down to talk. He began by hinting at the painful impact that he made his debut in office attending the funeral of Elias Entralgo, historian, first dean of the Faculty of Humanities, a man of impeccable ethical conduct obsessed with sowing values. this would counteract some of our ills, such as lack of rigor, laziness, and gambling.

But in fact, Chomi was instructed to implement a project conceived by Fidel. It consisted of carrying out social and cultural work in different parts of the island, and this idea was received with enthusiasm. We proposed to prepare literary presentations, slide shows of the classics of our fine arts and develop a linguistic review of the vocabulary of each locality. Groups of students of literature, arts and journalism, under the guidance of their teachers, spread throughout the country, from Minas de Matahambre, passing through Ciénaga de Zapata, to Punta de Maisi.

We were inspired by a genius missionary spirit, inspired by the desire to work to eliminate illiteracy in the field of culture, based on our knowledge of history and artistic manifestations. Our goal was to teach. But in fact – we realized this later – we discovered the deep reality of the country. We are touching with our hands the tragic consequences of colonial heritage and economic dependence, the gulf that exists between the minority, ready for dialogue on an equal footing with their peers in the first world, and the majority, alienated from their rights and fruits. of his work..

We have begun to significantly modify our understanding of culture. Mission accomplished, on the way back to Havana several students met Fidel in Santiago. In high spirits, they talked about their experiences and reported problems they observed. The commander listened carefully. “They just discovered underdevelopment,” he replied at the end of the conversation.

Fidel knew this. The struggle to build a new society requires simultaneous actions at the military level to ensure the defense of the Motherland in the event of aggression, to solve the most acute economic problems, to develop education and science and to form an unalienated consciousness, because people united by a common goal will have to become real creators stories.

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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