Dear graduating students;
Parents and relatives;
Most honourable collective who have
made what we are celebrating today possible.
As everybody already knows, 345
pioneers who were in the 7th grade on 6 September 2002
when the Josť MartŪ Experimental Junior Secondary School was
inaugurated are graduating.
They are the first to finish ninth
grade in this school, educated using the new conception of a
general, all round teacher who works with 15 adolescents,
accompanies them from 7th to 9th grade and
who has been friend, counsellor and guide of each one of them.
This general, all round teacher has
studied and worked systematically with the parents ó Iím
trying to see where the parents are, up there, over there as well.
(He points). A special hello and congratulations to them
(Applause)ó I ask for their cooperation just as we asked for it
that night in the Payret cinema/theatre where we had to take
refuge, if I remember rightly, because a heavy downpour was on its
way, it was raining then and now itís raining again.
When we chose this school we had
already beaten the challenge of the first experiment in the
Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin EJSS where the teaching was done by the
first general all-round teachers: the Brave. We needed to extend
the experiment to an urban day school which did its teaching in
one of the most complex situations in the capital, the easiest
situation was not chosen. This was in the midst of the first
ardent, creative years of the Battle of Ideas.
The reflection which lead the
Revolution to make a special effort for seventh, eighth and ninth
grade, which in Cuba we call basic secondary education, are
contained in the following words which I had the opportunity to
use back then and which, in my opinion, still hold true today in a
"Basic secondary education is
a disaster, a generalised opinion to which even international
agencies that work in the educational field subscribe".
It was a traditional education
system inherited from the West and created for elite
I should like to know how many of
you belong to elite minorities or which of the parents do. We know
quite well that it is just the opposite.
"Under the current system ó
I said back thenó "which entails a teacher who specialises
in one subject attending to many groups whose numbers can reach
hundreds of student" ó this was pointed out by Mara when
she said that she was responsible for more than 200 ó "no
one has any particular responsibility, does not know, nor could
know each child, his or her general behaviour, his or her
character, temperament, personal problems, difficulties at home.
"A student passed through he
hands of 11, 12, even 13 teachers depending on the grade, and it
was difficult to know the name of all of the students and we
wondered if it was really possible to read and analyse in depth
the exams or the work handed in by more than 200
It was a method that had nothing to
do with education, a rudimentary, inefficient method difficult
teach with ó the teachers, of course, being in no way to blame,
they had inherited this from the last two centuriesó a method
where nobody harmonised his or her knowledge, culture, values.
Thereís no doubt, it was not the ideal way to educate a 12 year
adolescent, like the ones we graduated two days ago in CŠrdenas,
I remember; children who are just entering adolescence, who are
entering that stage which is decisive and irreversible for their
personalities and for their lives. We are talking about human
beings, not about machines, not about automatons and not about
people called irrational, from some other species.
And on top of all that, in our
country specifically, especially in the capital, there was a
shortage of teachers for many subjects, a nerve-wracking search
for help from university students to teach one or several hours of
classes a week, the use of students from the teacher training
institutes, the call to professionals for volunteers, the changes
in or arrangements of timetables which had to be constructed
around the teacher shortage. Schools found themselves obliged to
draw up timetables that were far from ideal in order to deal with
the specialist teacher shortage. Did any of you ever think about
In Havana specifically, when the
details of this kind of education were analysed, we found that the
number of classrooms was considerably below the number of student
groups at this level. The morning and afternoon (double) sitting
was not functioning nor could it function; not all students came
back in the afternoon; they were learning approximately 20 to 25%
of the subject matter for a given grade.
The difficulties were mostly
centred here in this city and because of that we, in the middle of
special period and the blockade, set out to try to fix the state
of basic secondary education. We said that then, when everything
was still to be seen.
What has been the result of the
three year since this experiment began? The main efficiency
indicators provided us with these data: 98.2% attendance, 98.5%
punctuality, 90.8% efficiency in secondary education...
Of 380 students who started seventh
grade, only 35 did not finish their secondary education at Josť
MartŪ; 27 of these did so in other secondary schools because
their families moved to other provinces, or in trade or
correctional schools in Havana and 8 students emigrated with their
The schoolís main achievements
include the consolidation of the teaching staff, the integration
of all of the schoolís organisations and the links established
with the families.
School organisation make an
impressive about-turn, today it is a school that has strict
discipline ó you can see it, feel it, breathe itó and it is
very pleasant that this is accompanied by ó and I have seen thisó
a thorough formal education in manners which was not seen any
where else and I donít know if it has ever been seen in our
country. Itís a pleasure to see the polite way in which they
address other people, in which they speak, express themselves. I
have not seen another school like it and I hope that one day, not
too far off, all schools will be like this.
The studentís opinions are
listened to in this school, the strategic concept of
micro-university is being put into practice, the healthy tradition
of national or patriotic anthems and songs has been reinstated or
created, sometimes both, here work is done systematically to
develop in the students an all-round familiarity with political
affairs, in order to overcome that worst, most awful thing,
ignorance about these matters which are so decisive for the life
of societies and the world; current national and international
topics too, without which we would be like blind people wandering
through the world with out even a walking stick: history, art,
economic and science topics. If we have no knowledge of these
subjects we will not know anything about anything.
Work with the families is enhanced
by the teachersí visits to the family home and by holding
parent-teacher meetings that have become veritable schools for
family education and these are reinforced with individual contact
when the situation so requires.
They can be no other way of working
as a teacher, of cooperating, and reaching the sacred and elevated
goals of school and of education.
The Josť MartŪ Pioneers
Organisation has taken on new and more efficient kinds of work.
This has meant students are playing
a more central role; becoming self-directed, thoroughgoing
analyses are made at student assemblies which improves their
quality and results in the necessary level of criticism and
The use of videoclasses,
teleclasses and the educational software which the education
system has and the role of the educator, the general, all-round
teacher have played a key part in training teachers, as has the
methodological work for each grade in order to meet the strategic
objective of these transformations and to increase the studentís
store of knowledge.
In this school no shift is wasted.
Academic performance [of the
students] has been as follows: in a very important subject like
mathematics results have gone from 29.2% correct answers in
October 2002, when the school was first tested, to 69.1% in an
inspection done this past May. Two students were winners in a
countrywide mathematics competition.
In Spanish from 59% of correct
answers in October 2002 when the school was first tested ó
things werenít as bad as in mathematicsó to 69% in the
inspection in May 2005.
In the fifth inspection, the
results of the Josť MartŪ experimental school were better than
the national average by 20.42 percentage points in mathematics and
by 4.83 percentage points in Spanish.
The results confirm the validity of
the new educational model based on the concept of a general,
all-round teacher and more individualised treatment for students
and their families, in spite of the fact that it is something
completely new and there is no previous experience [to go on].
Some opinions from parents of
students graduating today:
"Our children have changed the
way they think and act".
"Our children have been given
better vocational guidance".
"Our childrenís discipline
"They have gained maturity and
responsibility about the decisions they take".
"We are amazed at how our
children have changed their behaviour at home and their
"They are interested in
studying and in what they are going to do in the future".
"My son surprised me when he
decided to become a teacher".
"Mi sonís starting in this
experiment is the best thing that has happened to me".
"My son grew a lot as a human
being. Now he is more concerned about others".
"Today my son is thinking of
going on with his education; before all he could think of was
finishing ninth grade".
"Our childrenís teachers
have had a good influence on the decisions they take".
"We are grateful for the way
the school has headed in these three years"
"We have seen positive changes
both in learning and in educational things".
"This experiment has brought
about more communication between school and home".
"We think that our children
have become better educated through this experiment".
"Today my son does his
"As a mother, I fell proud
that my son was given his Union of Young Communists membership
The satisfaction, pride is really
We had heard people talk about it,
but we understand it much better this afternoon, at this ceremony
and with all of you assembled here, parents, teachers and
In September 2003, just two years
ago, these transformations in basic secondary schools were
extended to the whole country, they being a radical, profound
conception of an educational, training model.
It was a bold step based on the
experiences we had been observing in the experimental school and
we decided not to wait any longer nor even to draw up a three year
programme in order to do it. We judged that it was something that
was needed. Now, of course, they are several thousand young people
studying in the Salvador Allende school and in other
teacher-training schools across the country training to be
We didnít have a lot of human
resources. Not all teachers at this level and other levels were
convinced. I would say that not even half, possibly far fewer than
Havana, the home of educational
disasters, didnít even have enough teachers, and far from enough
eleventh and twelfth grade students to go to the schools where the
all-round teachers would be trained.
This was the name they were given,
just as those for primary schools were called emergency teachers
and everyone was amazed and thinking: "And what will these
people do"? What the devil will happen to secondary and
In 2002 óI think it was in
September, more or less around that timeó we had discovered that
we were running out of teachers in Havana; the average age of
teachers was going up, many were reaching retirement age but
thanks to their stoicism and their spirit of sacrifice they were
still teaching, some in those primary schools which were another
disaster area, since they had suffered the slings and arrows of
more than 10 years of special period. Some were lacking a window
here and there and which school wasnít stained, and donít
mention the toilets, the running water, the kitchen, etcetera,
etcetera, et-very-cetera. I said that because I saw many of them
and we were dismayed.
We also took the brave decision ó
it was braveó not only to train emergency teachers ó it was
inevitableó and to start a programmeó and this is why I think
it was in 2000ó to carry out major repairs on 769 primary and
secondary schools in the city, in two years.
The whole population threw
themselves into the job, as can only be done in a revolution,
working who knows how many hours night and day. I think that our
country has never made such an effort in such a short time and
with far fewer resources than today. And it had been said that
they had to be ready by September of that year; it was a
commitment and commitments must be met.
Everybody worked really hard, the
Party worked really hard, young people, grass-roots organisations,
agencies. What happened is everybody committed themselves to, fell
in love with this task, which was not that difficult because it
was fixing schools for children.
If the housing situation was
difficult and if there were all kinds of problems, at least those
children would have schools with no stains, with light bulbs, with
windows, with running water, with toilets, with kitchens that
worked, with refrigeration, with food that although it might not
be the best was improved with bigger amounts of some things like
the amount of grains, which doubled and other things. It was a
huge effort and our commitments were met to the letter.
There was more than a little
anxiety waiting for the time ósometimes it was raining hardó
when there were scarcely three weeks left; sometimes a roof that
had a problem in a support and it seemed impossible to solve the
The last school I think it was the
400th was opened towards the end of May and there were
still the rest to do, more than 360 and some were new; they had to
be built. They were just over two months left. Around 45,000
builders and residents were working every day.
It was really an amazing feat,
surrounded by that disgusting blockade and special period
bequeathed to us by other peopleís mistakes, to put it as
politely as possible. We were struggling, holding our own all
alone at a time when some believed, at the beginning of that
stage, that it was only a matter of days before the news rang out
that the Cuban Revolution has gone under. But what the Cuban
revolution did was to go upwards, although some silly fools donít
understand that and those idiots to the north of us understand it
even less because hate and bitter disappointments make they more
and more stupid because they have not been able to cow this
people; dedicating themselves to buying a handful of nobodies,
mercenaries, who speak nonsense and even defend the blockade.
There are thing to say about that when appropriate.
Now we canít waste a minute: if
there is a hurricane, we have to face up to that danger, and if itís
a different threat, well to that too; if there is a crisis with
electricity, the result of the wrong ideas of people who were
supposed to know who had, in their turn, copied other countries
ó almost all other countriesó who were supposed to know what
they were doing, this stemming from the period when a barrel of
oil cost twenty times less; they hadnít taken notice of the new
things that were going on in the world.
Yes, but conceptual errors which
were immediately attacked the minute they were discovered. I am
not going to say any more, letís wait.
This is another topic for another
time, but I want to tell you that we know what we are doing and itís
not just a few things. Now letís see what the blabber mouths the
ignorant and the fools say.
I am not calling those who are
suffering fools, I am not giving the name fools to those who are
suffering from the consequences of some of these shortage which
are increasing in the world because in modern society what didnít
exist before, what was previously solved with whale blubber
candles ó and the whales are running out tooó or candles made
of some other kind of grease or with lanterns like those the
literacy campaign workers took to the mountains where not even by
chance would you see a little village with a lights or a house
with electric light.
Today this energy and this system
is vital in a modern society and in a society that has brought
this service to more than 90% of the population, when really,
there was no service for 50% of the population on 1 January 1959
when the revolution triumphed and household consumption was just a
few little drops of electricity. Today it is vital, and even more
when hurricane like these arrive, but we have time to go into the
subject in depth, and not just once but more than once and to also
talk about what those barbarians, those savages, those mass
murderers did, the ones who invade nations to gain control over
the energy it will now be their turn to listen to the home truths
they need to hear. I only mention what we have done to remind you
that there is nothing that this revolutionary people cannot, no
matter what the conditions. (Applause)
I spoke of what was done in Havana,
but the work continues in the rest of the country and the works of
the Battle of Ideas are continuing, they are becoming stronger
every day and every day there are more primary, secondary,
technical schools in the rest of the country undergoing major
repairs although the schools in the rest of the country, even
those with a lot of problems were not in a situation anywhere like
those in Havana. And not just that, everything is organised so
that this situation does not arise again and although sometime
people trip over the same tree trunk three times we hope that the
number of trippings-over grows ever less.
I am giving youíre a preview of
some of the things that you are going to learn in life, which you
are already learning, and which you arrive at ó I am referring
to the life that lies ahead of youó with an incomparably better
education than the one we found on the day of our triumph or that
which was being learnt over dozens of years, and quite a few
things have been learnt, quite a few thousand, almost a million
university graduates, but that is nothing compared to those we
will have in the future, not even a distant future in terms of
trained intelligence which is the bearer not only of a long and
heroic tradition but also of very great knowledge.
As I was saying, we could not be
patient enough to wait to act in secondary education which was
worse, really much, much worse than primary. I reminded you of
that time when we began the experiment, or when we decided to
carry it out not just in the capital. Reflect and you will see how
much effort [was rewired]: teachers for not more than 20 students
in primary and no more than 15 in secondary; and to do that they
had to be all-round teachers.
All people should have this
all-roundness as the norm, because, well as the teacher said so
very honestly: "I didnít think it was possible". But,
for example, I donít think it is possible that each one of you
speaks at home every day and all the time about the same thing,
you talk about one thing in the morning, about something else at
noon, something else in the afternoon, and about yet another thing
at the evening meal or at night.
Life canít be reduced to just one
thing; knowledge must not be reduced to just one sphere. How I
regret that It wasnít my fate to go to a school that the one The
Brave went to or that school from which students graduated with
the degree of embryo general, all-round teachers to be what they
almost are I think that they are finishing a higher degree.
I have seen some of them around
here, I know them and I remember them very well. Look at all these
things, Brave ones, teachers who have been carrying out your noble
mission for many years, new graduates, a number that grows and
grows. How far? To infinity.
We must all try to be general,
all-round teachers. Imagine yourselves in the place of any one of
us having to know about everything without knowing anything,
having to talk about everything before we graduate as general,
all-round teachers, which we will never be.
We had to study law, almost, almost
without knowing why we were studying law. As I have said before,
some people used to say: "This young man is going to be a
lawyer, he talks a lot". And I sort of wonder what young man
doesnít talk a lot, and more and more.
They are quite a few of those who
are graduating her who want to be lawyers, well, I congratulate
them. Other told me they want to be doctors. I replied: What
mission do you want us to send you on?" And so on, very
interesting, just like what happened to me in CŠrdenas but now in
a more concrete way and with adolescent students and now with
almost more than adolescents, young people who only three years
ago were the same age as EliŠn and his friends. Look at how the
years fly by, how time goes by.
Today, and thanks to audaciousness,
the whole country, all the secondary school in the country are
working under this education system. For that reason and only two
years ago these transformations in basic secondary schools were
extended to the whole country, they being a radical, profound
conception within an educational and training model. This would
not have been possible without the help of the 30,758 teachers who
work at this level, 26, 328 of whom took steps to turn themselves
into general, all-round teachers.
And these teachers were being
joined by the force of 12,553 general, all-round teachers trained
in the emergency courses. The next school year will begin with
4,980 new general, all-round teachers who have recently graduated
which means that in the last four years of the Battle of Ideas
18,533 emergency general, all-round teachers have been trained for
basic secondary schools.
I remember that 19,324 29"
televisions sets have been installed. The decision was made in
July. We wanted to start in September, we had Pandas (TN. A
Chinese brand of television sets) but Pandas are smaller, For
various reasons, your very classrooms, which are in a building
which has big and small spaces, some had to be divided, other
couldnít be divided because this wonderful school is a part of
our National Heritage ótoday it is wonderful not just from an
historical and architectural point of view but rather because it
is the school from which you are graduating, the outcome of the
first experiment in the history of a system of this kind. It is a
pity that the sceptics couldnít peer through a crack and see
everything that we are seeing here today.
Moreover, those 29" television
sets on which things look better had to be bought, we just about
had to fly them in so that they would be here by September, But
even before a lot of work was done with a select group of teachers
and students who spent their summer preparing classes.
Also, on the other hand, machines
that can copy video tapes were installed and since there were more
than 2000 classes it seemed like that task would never end.
The televisions arrived and the
cassettes were made and the programmes and those class rooms that
had to be repaired were repaired all over the country, almost all
of them, So we could get started and not waste one nor two not
That is how the school year we are
talking about began two years ago and which now has the labour
force it needs, the resources it needs and the experience it need,
thatís the most important.
We also had the 21"
televisions, 1018 and about 15,989 videocassettes.
2,240 classes were taped for
mathematics, Spanish, history and English for all three grades and
physics for eighth and ninth grade, the classes were given by
prestigious teachers and 250 students from Havana.
Educational television a programme
that was also created in the battle of Ideas, of which we now have
three channels and we can have as many as we want, that all we
need to say, national, provincial and even municipal ones. Get
ready, teachers you are going to have your own TV stations in the
countryís municipalities! You will see, with all these resources
that we didnít have, and nothing like it, when we began.
Educational television broadcasts
21 programmes every week that cover the contents of the subjects
and the studentís general education. In addition, there classes
in mathematics and Spanish, two fundamental subjects are given
more frequently in all grades and history is in ninth grade.
We have 13,590 computers which
means we have a ratio of one computer to every 40 pioneers and in
Havana it is one for every 25. We shall have more in the future,
here and there and one day all schools will have the same amount,
those that need them
I could tell you, being indiscreet,
that there is a programme to buy 100,000 computers a year. Letís
see what happens.
At the secondary level, we have the
"navigator" programme which has 10 educational soft ware
packages and 29 complementary software packages.
We have managed to have just one
sitting in all the schools at this level, ó just one sitting
means a double sitting and it seems wrong but that is what it is
called; let each person call it by the name he or she prefersó
which begins at 7:30 in the morning and end at 4:30 in the
With this in mind schools were
built, divided or converted giving us 1545 new classrooms and
2,281 converted classrooms.
50,000 school desks and 100,000
chairs were allocated.
Of the 474,365 student at the basic
secondary level 469,093, that is 98.88% of the total enrolment at
this level are provided with free food in their schools, through
the school snacks for day schools programme.
Donít think it was easy, dear
comrades, this snack programme, the investment requires all over
the country for that 100 gram bread roll, which emerged, do you
know when? When we had that 769 schools plan, in the early hours
of the morning, this little, soft, special flour bread toll,
sometimes good, other times not so good... It was a matter of the
staff who made them, of the equipment they had, of discipline and
also of other things, and the soy yoghurt, which I wonít talk
about today, but it turns out to be ó I receive new information
about it every dayó a really excellent food source. What could
we do? There were hundreds of thousands of students, tens of
thousands of teachers and a large number of other people who work
in schools. I want you to know that millions and millions of
dollars are invested in these snacks.
All of this was going on at the
same time as the television sets were being bought and the other
things, the computers, the repairs, and the furniture; "find
the resources, save", demanding discipline. Letís see how
things start improving.
Yesterday we were watching TV, the
Round table, where they were talking about the state of the
bakeries. They have improved óthey had to improve. We know how
many calories, how much protein the snack has. Of course I know
all the stories off by heart, which flavour people like best,
strawberry or banana, or caramel. By heart, I assure you comrades,
we even know how much each item costs and how itís made, because
this is one of the areas where you need to be all-round. Suppose
someone suddenly says: we have to give them a snack and suppose
you donít know what snack they are talking about and you donít
know how much each thing costs, each input, and how much powdered
milk is needed and how many tons of texturised soya, it would be
the end and especially seeing as how much the kids like it. And as
well, you know what you know that there is not complete equality
in this world and that in this country, where there is more
equality that anywhere else, there are still a lot of
inequalities, you know how these things are. .
Time will pass and one day all of
you will have the educational level, the level of knowledge of all
sorts because you have been educated in this way, because your
parents have contributed so much to your education as they
educated themselves at the same time, because they learn too, ,
look at the advantages, see how important the role of parents in a
revolution like this one is, but the Empireís barbarians,
savages, mass murderers have come up with the slanderous
accusation that we are going to take children away form their
parents to send them to Russia and the Russians will send them
back as tinned meat. Just look at how unscrupulous those morons
are and how they take advantage of peopleís ignorance. Only
incredible ignorance could make it possible for anyone to imagine
that this might be true, and when they cooked up that lie those
criminal monsters led approximately 14,000 families to send their
children to the United States. Many families were separated for
Iíll tell you a storyÖ because
there are still liars who are just as bad or even worse but theyíve
run into the Himalayas this time, although some of them donít
know that. perhaps in the coming days Iíll talk about some of
these things that have to be talked about, and you will understand
a lot because of the excellent education you have received...
They made that up, and it was just
the opposite. The Revolution was calling parents every day,
inviting them to primary, secondary and other kinds of schools.
Education canít be conceived of without parents, thatís where
education begins and when you are parents you will be much better
educated and your children, when they are parents, will be better
educated than you because you will have educated them and it will
then be something very different from what has existed throughout
history because the hour has indeed arrived when the world has no
option but to change or to cease to exist.
I am not talking about the world as
geography, but about there being a human species. I say it being
completely convinced of it. What great satisfaction and
nourishment it gives us to think that we are educating the type of
men and women who could indeed save humanity.
I mentioned the number of those who
have food at school today; but there are still 5,272 students who
still donít get snacks, this happens in about 19 isolated
schools but by next year everyone will be included and they will
be no one left out. And how much time did it take to do all of
this? Two years. And how much time has gone by since that 9
September? Less than 3 years, itís not three years yet, there
are still two months to go.
I should mention that all libraries
were given collections of encyclopaedias, atlases, dictionaries;
that is to say, there stock of books was replenished. I should say
that we have some fantastic new printers and one whose actual
status I donít know about the last oneÖ (Alfonso tells Fidel
that all the technical equipment is going to be installed in
How long will that take? (Fidel is
told that the first print run should start in October).
And what is its production capacity
Alfonsy? (he tells Fidel it is 45 million books). And donít letís
even talk about that because we are not publicists. Deeds rather
than words, They is nothing more persistent and powerful than
deeds. Deeds that are born of ideas and new deeds give birth to
I must keep in mind that I am
talking to young comrades, 14 year old adolescents or who are just
finishing their adolescence, 14 and 15 years old they havenít
experienced those things. But then they didnít experience the
discovery of the Americas either or the history of the roman
empire or of what we call Greek civilisation a long time ago and
you know quite a bit about all that. They didnít live in the
period of the wars of independence in Cuba they did not live in
MartŪís time and you know a lot about him. That is learning,
that is studying, these are the fruits of education.
Not one of us would have been able
to attempt anything if we had not had the privilege of studying.
And how many? The overwhelming majority canít study and not even
10% of the citizens of this country were able to reach sixth
grade. When the Revolution triumphed I read ó Iím no too sure
about the accuracy of the statisticsó that there were, according
to a census or some to the investigation, about 400,000 sixth
For each sixth grade graduate back
then, today there are four university graduates and one day there
will be more people with university degrees in the sciences than
there were sixth grade graduates in 1959.
This, Mr imperialists, is a
revolution so donít go around being so stupid, open your eyes to
what it is and what it is, is indestructible. (Applause)
Satisfactory development in the
organisation of basic secondary education has been seen as has
[improved] student discipline, the links created with the families
through the home visits and the parentsí school, which more 97%
of families have attended.
An example of the discipline now
existing in this level of education was how many of Havanaís
pioneers took part in the impressive 17 May march when the
pioneers stood out because of their discipline and combativeness.
The new educational model and the
notion of the general, all-round teacher has meant that in our
schools, if all indications come true, not one class period is
lost. Previously we didnít know how many were lost, if there
were more lost periods than taught periods.
The main efficiency indicators,
when compared with the two previous years have gone up: 995 of
students attending classes ó in the whole countryó 99.98% of
students staying at school (109 drop outs, 343 less than in the
same time the previous year). Where, where are there figures like
these? Could it be in those paradises of freedom that the
barbarians have created? Could it be in those democracies where
only money counts and the truth is never told? In those
democracies where everything is bought or stolen, even the
presidency of the republic and that little fŁhrer who now governs
the United States did.
I used the words little fŁhrer I
donít know how much they have taught you about the history of
the Second World War, about fascism, Nazism and about a gentleman
called Adolf Hitler, but if they havenít go to the library
during these holidays and find out about him. Advice from an
apprentice general, all-round teacher. (Laughter)
Look, look at the figures. Where?
Go to Central America, go to all those countries. Where? How many
made it to sixth grade, how many to ninth?
Her more than 98% make it to that
level, there are only a few hundred who for one reason or another
do not continue with or who end their schooling, for reasons such
as early pregnancy, or some students who emigrate when their
parents emigrate. Of course, they are not illiterate, thatís
impossible. Many people have gone over there; we should ask them
how many illiterate Cubans have gone there. All of these children
arrive with an amazing education, they know much more than their
children because that educational system in the United States is a
disaster at the primary and secondary level and the worst thing of
all is that they do not teach them any values and some time these
children kill each other on school premises because in that
barbarous system everyone carries a gun like back in the days of
the Wild west. Those people have not found out they have not
emerged from the 18th century in many moral respects.
Now they wander through the world
torturing people and depriving the Us people of their elemental
rights, submitting them to all kinds of surveillance and all kinds
of restrictions and one day the citizens of the United States will
take it upon them to sweep these away, donít you forget it.
Alright, I should say a few more
things, although not too many.
In just two years, as I pointed
out, remarkable results have been achieved in discipline,
behaviour, safety and quality of life of our adolescents in the
school system where, what is more, all are included and those who
canít be go to special schools which are right for their
problems, they have not been forgotten. There are tens of
thousands of children who go to special schools ,not a single one,
not a single one has been forgotten and those who live in isolated
places, well the social workers go to them ówe now have 28,000
social workers in Cuba, you can find them almost more easily than
a needle in a haystack.
Recently they drew up a complete
list of the 40, 00 poorest households or those with most
difficulties in the country and we are attending to them, we are
providing them with help and from time to time a barbarian pops
up, or a little disciple of the barbarian who stuffed their heads
with some old lie and they say: Look here, you have provided this
child with, whatever, a television and he is a prisonerís
son". Look at the way some people still think, for if there
is anyone who really needs this more than anyone it is this child
who committed no crime but has the misfortune that for one reason
or another his father fell into crime.
I should tell you that those, in
the future , as education makes more progress, there will be less
and less people going to prison.
It is very hard for me to imagine
that any of these adolescents that we have before us here could
become a criminal, after all the values that you, their teachers,
their parents have taught them.
There might be a child, in some
corner of the country who doesnít even have a bed, or a foam
mattress. We find this out, believe it. I am very well aware of
what we are learning and I am very well aware of what we are
doing. This Revolution, which is socialist, and which is guided by
the principle of giving to each according to his work, has not
forgotten and cannot forget, or it wouldnít be the Revolution,
nor would it deserve the name if it intended to provide for a
handicapped person according to their work. No, that is why there
are those who work and those who can work, to provide for those
people who cannot. Everything has to be done for a child who isnít
even a month old; this child has to be given everything.
The country was willing to do
whatever was necessary for one little, we might almost say willing
to die, we would not accept the idea of abandoning him. That is
why you were given that broadsheet, The Truth is Invincible. That
battle was won with truth, with morality and with consciousness.
And it was won because our arguments won the heart and the
sympathy of the US people, we will never forget that and we are
very confident that one day, although today its oppresses,
although today its plunders and although today it forces others to
pay for genocidal wars, that same people will sweep all this
I was talking about some things
that are not doing very well, the situation of our adolescents. I
was saying that we have achieved remarkable results in many
But I should add that we are still
far from achieving all the academic results that we could and
should achieve. That , there is no doubt, will be our most complex
task, given the need for a total change in thousand year old
concepts and habits in societies deeply divided between rich and
poor, the super-privileged and the masses who suffer from the
complete absence of equality and justice,, this task will need
arduous tenacious work.
Factors which place obstacles in
the way of this task, according to the opinions of various
specialists: the need for teachers to be better trained to teach
all subjects, not being yet completely at home with the software,
shortcoming in the differential attention given to their 15
students, not giving sufficient guidance for the differential
tasks depending on each students level of competence, they are
teachers who do not watch the videoclasses as many times as is
There is a need to continue to
improve social work with their students and their families
You know better than anyone where
the difficulties lie, the obstacles, the problems, sometimes even
time. But there is absolutely no need to lose heart, they will be
more and more teachers, with more and more training. Watch out! We
Yes, all points of view must be
listened to and analysed, but, naturally on the basis of firm and
tenacious commitment and work. We cannot free ourselves from work
and efforts are made so much more decisively the more one loves
the cause for which we struggle and the goals we seek.
The pioneerís opinions:
94.36% of pioneers think that the
teachers want them to be better.
98.07% think that they provide an
example for them.
90.20% think that they give good
classes. óIím talking about the whole country, secondary
87.79% think that they get
attention when they need it.
87.12% think that their teachers
let them state their opinions, listen to them and respect them.
That seems to me to be satisfactory and what the teachers deserve.
Favourite subjects(in order) are:
mathematics, number one, wonderful, Spanish, very good, history,
good, computer classes, good, English, fifth place, but not only
English other languages must be learned too, what happens is that
it has become the universal language, one of the few good things
left behind by English colonialism and this imperialism which is
so close to us. Geography, six, OK, chemistry seven, no comment,
that was almost the only subject that I couldnít learn because
all that H2O and those positive and negative ions was
sort of hard for me. (Laughter) So I was a bad student.
Since we were talking about
general, all-round teachers I have to confess that I was the
general, all-round absentee. (Laughter) Donít think it was
because I wasnít there, I was in the classroom from grade one on
all through secondary school , the grades you are in and others, I
had the five year secondary school certificate, one more that they
added the year I started. I was there but I paid no attention to a
single class, I was thinking about other things, and not always
about girls, although it seems that some of the boys in this
schools did, because it surprised me, it really did, there was a
long list of outstanding graduates, girls, girls, girls (Laughter)
. I didnít see a single boy. They said, "Thereís one at
the end". And look, men everywhere giving orders, holding
responsibilities, directing and making decisions. And in Elianís
school, I think that out of 25 there were about four or five who
were given a diploma of excellence. But here I thought things were
getting better, but no, theyíre going from bas to worse.
(Laughter) I asked "and what did this boy do?"
"They are very good" But they canít compete.
I should add that I was very
pleased, because societies have been so unfair towards women, they
have discriminated against them so much, they have stupidly and
dimwittedly wasted womenís abilities, and so we should be
pleased at what we are seeing. I hope there are psychologists and
experts analysing this. But well, I say; "There wonít be a
single man left giving orders.
What a pity that it wasnít like
that in my time so I could have devoted myself to sports to
studying what I didnít study and to filling the gaps which I
have inherited from my habits of an inveterate autodidact. That
was when I was going to secondary school and was shut in there in
the classroom but my imagination flew all over the place, except
to the teacher and the blackboard. There was no computer science
nor were there any girls. Segregation was king in that school.
I remembered chemistry because it
was the only subject that gave me trouble, that damn chemistry.
That is why I donít want o say anything.
I really liked biology and I donít
know why, I had no opportunity to study biology.
Physical education, that I studied
a lot, there wasnít a hill around there that I didnít want to
climb and no sport that I didnít want to play. (Laughter)
I liked physics, the last on the
list, but this is not about what I did and didnít like but about
the differences that can be seen in these students who donít
even want to know about physics. (Laughter) But I liked it. I also
studied it on my own, when exams arrive, of course, things are
Geometry, mathematic even I studied
them, but I would have preferred to have had teachers like you.
Ah! Then, doubtlessly, this trade to which I dedicated my life
would have been much more useful.
Familiesí opinions. Look, listen
to their opinions, the parents.
"81.70% of the parents think
that their childrenís interest in their lesson is good and
15.545 think it is so-so. Thatís fine, so they (the parents) get
more interested and demand more. But to demand one has to
cooperate with the school and not just complain that the teacher
this and the teacher that. I am pleased about this but, well, the
percentage is high.
76.90% think that, generally
speaking, their childrenís learning is good and 19.58% think it
is so-so. I am talking about countrywide data, so donít think weíre
referring to parent sat this school.
Parentsí thoughts about their
childrenís moral qualities, also country wide.
When parents were surveyed they
said these were the good qualities their children had: in favour
of the Revolution, 96.42%, expressing solidarity, 94.56%; honest,
92.35%, respectful, 91.54% ó I expect that this number will go
up as the children learn the manners that we have seen hereó
responsible, 84.85%; disciplined 83.64%".
But consider something beautiful
about the studentsí parents at this experimental school, who are
from poor backgrounds, labourers, 65%, housewives or workers, or
other, 20%; professionals, 15%. Observe, as well, small number of
professional among the parents at this school, in this very poor
part of the capital where there are a lot of social problems, with
housing, with everything, perhaps itís one of the areas with the
highest amount of problems. Look at the letter they sent, that
they directed to the education department and to us.
The Parentsí Council at the Josť
MartŪ Experimental Basic Secondary School is sending this letter
to ask that special recognition be given to all the workers, the
teaching staff, the UJC leaders and the Party leaders and
especially to the management council at the Josť MartŪ school
for their work and for what they have achieved. The love,
dedication, care, tenderness and bravery with which they take on
their responsibility is impressive
"The students at this school,
like at other schools in the municipality, have complex and very
varied characteristics; nevertheless, they have accepted the
challenge and have obtained a high level of discipline, academic
achievement, class attendance and political training. Our children
have been given more personalised attention which is really
important at this age, which are also subject to change. All have
put into practice a well known educational principle: the
"All activities are carried
out with a level of discipline that should be brought to your
notice. There is excellent communication between parents and
teachers. They deserve sincere recognition, our affection and
respect. They are an example of struggle on how to face the
biggest challenge, the one we have been meeting with pride for
more than four decades; to give socialism historical continuity
under the empireís very nose.
This is but small homage to those
who, leaving heir own problems to one side, give of the best of
themselves in the classroom.
Thank you for your work, we are
indebted to you,
Thatís all, affectionate
Josť MartŪ Experimental School
We ask that this letter be read
publicly", which is what I have just done and with great
pleasure. That is an example too. It is a message to all parents
in the country, to all teachers, to all children, itís sort of
saying to you: much can be achieved. Which is why I was extremely
pleased when I saw this letter.
Itís coming up to the time when I
have to finish. I still have a few things to say, but I will save
them for next time, donít worry. We are going to see how much
progress you make next year.
There were many matters to talk
about, because we are making progress and we want to move ahead in
senior secondary education at top speed. A lot of work is being
done in programming and computer science. We are founding amazing
universities like the institution I am always talking about and to
which quite a few of these students will most certainly go, the
University of Information Sciences. Thereís another one as well,
the CUJAE has a wonderful faculty.
The professors who helped to
organise this university came from the CUJAE.
Thereís also the Latin American
School of medical Sciences which has almost 10,000 students.
Things are being done in the
country which were not even imaginable even a few years ago, and
human capital is what is being created. There is no substitute for
this capital, No country can be ahead of us, no one can catch us
now. We have a several lap advantage and now human capital is the
main source of the countryís resources and development.
A brilliant future lies ahead and
we are working for that future. Nothing can defeat us. They can
wipe our country off the map but they cannot wipe the Revolution
off the face of the country. There will be not people that
surrenders, no revolutionary who yields. We have not done so and
we will never do so.
I dare to think that these students
who we are graduating today will be much firmer, much more
revolutionary, much better prepared, much braver, because of the
values they defend, the ideas they raise like a banner, and they
will be much better educated.
Take good note, restless and brutal
lordling from the North, little fŁhrer, the empire can do nothing
against this generation, nor with the first, nor the second nor
Forget it, the US people will take
it upon themselves to put an end to barbarity, and to the danger
that you pose to humanity, and here you will have an ever more
rock solid bastion of just ideas, MartŪís ideas, BolŪvarís
ideas, Marx, Engel and Leninís ideas. We are certainly not
afraid to say so. (Applause) We are not afraid to speak of those
who opened our eyes and showed us the path we have followed for
decades, giving the world proof that they is no possible obstacle
that can stop a just cause, a trued revolution, no matter what
Now they want to attack and
threaten the Venezuelans. They donít learn, but they will learn.
Those who are here at this
graduation ceremony will agree with us, will have the same hope
that we place in you, the vanguard of hundreds of thousands who
are today following this same path, are going through this same
Today we can no longer talk of the
Josť MartŪ experimental school but of the Josť MartŪ
experimental national educational system. Let us today pay homage
to him who spoke so often of education. (Applause)
You perhaps do not yet see clearly
enough but I can assure you that you have just written a page in
the history books.
Patria o Muerte!