14ymedio, Havana, 10 October 2023 — With a deficit of about 634 teachers in all openings, the General Directorate of Education (DGE) of Ciego de Ávila, Cuba, has decided to interrupt the study cycle of hundreds of pedagogy students to incorporate them into schools. However, the 394 who have been recruited to date will barely be able to fill half of the vacant positions.
Days before the start of the 2023-2024 academic year, in August, the official newspaper Invasor reported on the terrible situation of teachers in the province. Of 7,116 positions, only 6,482 were covered. To alleviate the deficit, the DGE has incorporated 113 students from the top of the class at Raúl Corrales Fornos pedagogical school, and 141 from the Rafael Morales González school in Morón, two of the municipalities most affected by the absence of teachers.
Gilmé Sánchez, a member of the DGE, announced that 140 young people who have already graduated from teaching and are currently completing their Compulsory Military Service would also be added.
The students who, as the newspaper headlines, “are already in the classrooms,” are in their fourth year and will work mainly with primary and secondary education, which has the greatest deficit of teachers. They will also be exempted from their own studies from Monday through Thursday, and only on Fridays will they have to attend classes.
According to the DGE, the subjects that will be given the most coverage are Chemistry and Mathematics
According to the DGE, the subjects that will be given the most coverage are Chemistry and Mathematics. On the contrary, those who study to be English teachers will not have to teach classes and will be able to dedicate themselves to their career.
The authorities did not specify what type of remuneration will be given to young people and whether it will be less than or equal to that of the rest of the teachers in the schools, but they did clarify that, due to the situation with empty teaching places, they are expected to contonue to teach in the same schools once they graduate.
As the official press itself has pointed out, the measure is “no more than a respite” because, in addition to the fact that they will not be able to cover all the places, the real problem lies in why the teachers leave.
Data offered by Invasor reveal that this year 97% of the 562 pedagogical careers offered in the province were covered, something that the authorities did not delay in celebrating. However, more important than this figure is the number that ends up really graduating without abandoning their career or leaving the country.
According to the statistics of the province for the previous year, the retention of students for the first year was only 80.8%, and for the entire career, 60%. It is worth clarifying that these numbers do not include the percentage of graduates who don’t work as teachers or who, after a few years, leave the sector in search of better salaries.
The DGE says that in Ciego de Ávila, as in the rest of the Island, measures have been implemented to retain teachers such as the payment of wages per hour of work
The DGE says that in Ciego de Ávila, as in the rest of the Island, measures have been implemented to retain teachers such as the payment of wages per hour of work. However, the “improvements” have not had much effect. Currently, the territories most affected by the lack of teachers are Havana, Artemisa, Mayabeque, Sancti Spíritus, Camagüey and Ciego de Ávila itself.
The provincial directorates of Education have also begun to make use of the Educando por Amor [Educating for Love] contingent, composed of more than 6,000 university students from all over the Island. The measure has been made effective in Las Tunas (where 700 teachers were missing), in Villa Clara, with the incorporation of 384 university students in the schools, and in Sancti Spíritus with 50 and Holguín with 52, among others.
So far, the authorities, busy praising the loyalty to the Revolution of these young people, do not seem to worry about the impact that this deviation of study time can have on university students, about the quality of the education provided by students who havenot graduated, or about the fact that some do not even pursue a pedagogical career.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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