Cuban Children Return to the Classroom, Happy and Eager for another School Year

Cuba has dawned beautifully these past two days the weather was good and more than one million children of all ages have returned to the classroom. With the first light of day, they can be seen walking down the avenues on their way to school, many hand in hand with their parents or grandparents, and in a feast of white, red, yellow, and blue, all colors of their uniforms.

photo: Abel Padrón Padilla

Proud parents flood the social networks with photos of their children being dropped off. It is good to see the happiness on their faces, for the reunion with old and new friends and teachers, and for their eagerness for the learning to come. “Every effort is rewarding and worth it,” wrote a close friend of mine on his Facebook profile, after sharing a photo of his 6-year-old daughter, who started preschool this Monday.

Cuba is going through difficult times, but the children do not perceive it. The effort of an entire nation has made sure that their happiness remains intact, but in particular the thanks go to the efforts of their parents, who juggle day after day to get school snacks, backpacks, and shoes and more.

Nor do the children perceive the efforts of the government, which, despite the shortages, the silent creeping blockade, and the onslaught of increasingly fierce natural disasters, prioritizes education over other sectors of the economy, because the future of the country depends on it. This is how it has been since our revolution

photo: Juvenal Balán

“Today, more than 1,622,000 students are returning to the classrooms of more than 10,800 educational institutions throughout the country, thanks to a collective effort,” Education Minister Naima Trujillo Barreto highlighted during the opening ceremony of the new school year, held at the Manuel Martínez Prieto Elementary School of Marianao, Havana.

“The General Education System opens its doors to welcome children, adolescents, and young people with similar dreams and aspirations, and, above all, equal guarantees for their realization,” Trujillo said.

Unlike many countries who have private schools available for those who can pay, Cuba only has quality public schools open to all, free for all.

For the minister, the political will and the determined action of the Government, together with the people, have made it possible to ensure the necessary resources for the beginning of the school year, despite the complex international reality, the internal challenges, the international economic crisis, and the tightening of the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba.

Authorities still have many pending issues to solve, such as improving school infrastructure, food, transportation, the stability of the teaching force and their methodological work. “And this will only be possible with our joint forces,” the Minister commented.

photo: Enrique González Enro

However, ensuring that all Cuban children, without exception, have a classroom to go to every September is one of Cuba’s greatest and most admirable achievements. All children matter, from the most remote mountain community to the busiest of cities. And that fact fills us with pride. Every September, Cuba proves that nothing is impossible because no child or person eager to learn will be left behind.

By Alejandra Garcia on September 5, 2023 from Havana

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – English