Published on Thursday, October 25, 2007
HAVANA, Cuba (Reuters): Cuba said on Wednesday its public education
system, one of the pillars of its socialist system, is suffering from an
"exodus" of teachers due to low wages, poor housing and even lack of
Education Minister Luis Ignacio Gomez detailed the loss of teachers at a
hearing of a committee of the National Assembly, Cuba's legislature.
"He recognized that the causes of the exodus include insufficient pay,
not in accordance with the intensity and responsibility of the work
teachers do," the ruling Communist Party newspaper Granma reported.
Among the various "material problems" faced by Cuban teachers, the
minister cited "lack of housing, transport and clothing," Granma said.
He also said teacher were dissatisfied with the "low recognition" they
received for their work.
Cuba takes pride in its free education system, which along with
universal health care, is one of the main achievement of the socialist
society built after the revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1959.
But the economic crisis that hit Cuba after the Soviet Union collapsed
in 1991 has taken its toll. Many teachers left to work in better-paid
jobs in tourism and the state has had to resort to young teachers to
improve teacher/student ratios.
Cuba has the highest rate of teachers per population, one for every 36.8
inhabitants, Granma said. But the newspaper acknowledged that 50 percent
of the teachers are young Cubans who have not finished their teacher
Some parents complain that the teaching resorts excessively to
audiovisual courses and includes too much politics.