September 10, 2021


  The history of the Cuban education system goes back to the time of the revolution. After Fidel Castro took power in 1959, he took care of the impoverished population with the “literacy campaign” and free education. In doing so, he legitimized the socialist government and created the myth of the colossal educational system. But […]
  The history of the Cuban education system goes back to the time of the revolution. After Fidel Castro took power in 1959, he took care of the impoverished population with the “literacy campaign” and free education. In doing so, he legitimized the socialist government and created the myth of the colossal educational system. But with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, a turning point and a period of great economic difficulties began. At that time, academics left their positions to enter the tourism industry. The low prospects for the future meant that young Cubans no longer went to the universities. Many today have several jobs, working as teachers during the day and taxi drivers at night. Teachers earn an average of around 22 euros a month. What used to be a lot of money is no longer even enough to survive after the economic crisis, cuts in food subsidies and higher prices. This not only affects the quality of life, but also the quality of schooling.  
Publishers comment: The author of this article did not work with quote notes. The last pages provide the reader with a list of sources on which this article refers.


    The Cuban education system is centrally controlled by the state and shaped by the basic structure of the constitution (Constitución de la República 1976). The Ministerio de Educación, MINED is responsible for all educational tasks in primary, secondary and vocational training. The higher education is assigned to the Ministerio de Educación Superior. Structure of the educational levels
Basic education:
The general compulsory schooling is 9 school years and consists of the six years of basic education (Educación Primaria) and the three years of the first level of secondary education (Educación Media Básica). The lower secondary level follows on from the general basic education.
Initial vocational training:
The initial vocational training can be completed at vocational schools (Escuelas de Oficios) or workshop schools (Escuela-taller) instead of the general lower secondary level. This training concludes with a certificate as a qualified worker (Diploma de „Obrero Calificado“) and opens up the possibility of continuing further education in the field of vocational training (upper secondary level) as well as adult education. The upper secondary level (Educación Media Superior) is divided into pre-university education (Educación Preuniversitaria) and vocational training. The Educación Preuniversitaria lasts three years and ends with the acquisition of the „Bachiller“. In vocational training (Educación Técnica y Profesional) at polytechnic institutes (Institutos Politécnicos) or at vocational schools (Escuelas de Oficios, it is possible to obtain a professional title as “Técnico Medio” or “Obrero Calificado” or a professional qualification (Diploma o Bachiller en la Especialidad Técnica or similar) Profesional de Nivel Medio Superior) The completed vocational training enables access to further professional development and entitles the holder to study at a university.
Higher education:
In higher education, the tertiary sector, students in universities can acquire the titles “Ingeniero”, “Licenciado”, “Arquitecto” and “Doctor en Medicina” after 5-6 years. After 2-5 years it is possible to obtain a “Doctorado”, “Maestría” or “Posgrado”. There are also short certified postgraduate courses (Certificados de Diplomado) of 6-18 months. Illiteracy In the first half of the 20th century, 22% of Cubans over the age of 15 were illiterate and 60% of the country were semi-literate, as many in rural areas had no access to education. After 1959, the Castro regime nationalized all educational institutions and created a system based on Marxist ideological principles. After the country was restructured, the government launched a literacy campaign. Literacy centers were set up, and youth and other volunteers were sent to the countryside to teach others to read. In a short period of time, the new Cuban government has fundamentally changed the education system, and by 2000, 97% of Cubans between the ages of 15 and 24 could read and write. Literacy gave poor uneducated Cubans a better standing in the country and in the world. Through the education program, all children, regardless of financial means, were given access to education. Nevertheless, there are always increases in the number of children who do not go to school. Between 2010 and 2015, this increased from 7,000 to a total of 44,344 children and then fell again to 5,703 by 2019. The number of girls who do not go to school is on average higher than that of boys. School education in numbers Participation in primary education decreased from 101.46% to 99.13% between 2010 and 2015 and rose again to 102.87% in 2019. The proportions of boys and girls were mostly the same. In secondary education, participation fell minimally between 2010 and 2019, from 88.2% to 83.4%, with girls attending school on average 1-2% more than boys. Participation in university education has fallen sharply in recent years. From 2010 to 2018 it fell by around half from 94.9% to 41.4%, with a low of 34% in 2016. Women study with a share of 50% in contrast to men with a share of 30% more at universities and are more represented in the tertiary sector. The large gap could be attributed to the country‘s economic situation. For many, it is not worthwhile to study, as it does not bring any financial benefits and other jobs that do not require an academic degree bring in more money.


    „Cuba es un ajiaco” Fernando Ortiz According to Fernando Ortiz, Cuban culture is like Ajiaco (typical Cuban soup). It consists of many ingredients that varied in each era according to the human substances that were put into the pot by the hands of the cook. The indigenous people of Cuba (Guanajatabeyes, Siboney and Taíno), the Spaniards, the Africans, the Asians are an important part of the mix. The real story of Cuba is the story of its very complicated transcultures. Transculturation is an uninterrupted process, it is about assimilating without losing one‘s roots. First, the transculturation of the Paleolithic into Neolithic Indians and the disappearance of the last because they could not adapt to the effects of the new Spanish culture. In the first centuries of the conquest, groups from the Kingdom of Castile, especially from the south of Spain, predominated. Other very important groups from the Canary Islands, Galicia and Catalonia also joined.


    Cuban music is the music that originated on the island of Cuba, the roots of which can be found in Spanish and African songs. The rhythm, basically drums, has African origins, the instrument - the guitar and its variants, Spanish origins. A certain Asian influence can also be seen in the use of the Chinese cornet in the carnival. Cuban music has been associated with dancing from the very beginning, in its original form it was present at rituals, festivals in elementary form and at events, elegant celebrations in elaborate form. Any classification of Cuban music will depend on the extent to which Spanish and African influences are discovered in it, because in reality it is the rich and complex creative result of these two sources, to which historically the influence of various cultures and musical tendencies has been added is. Although the main roots of Cuban music come from Spain, Africa and France, the US and Jamaica have had many influences on Cuba as well. Cuban music has influenced jazz, salsa, Argentine tango, Ghanaian high life, West African afro beat and the Spanish flamenco nuevo, among others. The traditional Cuban music styles include, among others, Contradanza, Danzón, Guaracha, Son cubano, Bolero, Mambo, Chachachá, Rumba, Guaguancó and Timba. Many danceable rhythms became popular during the 20th century, including danzón, guaracha, mambo, and chachachá.


    Gabriel Veyre began his cinematographic adventure in Cuba, right after the Lumière brothers invented the cinematograph. On January 24, 1897, he brought the first film camera from Mexico to Havana. The first films were financed by the directors‘ savings and received no public funding. The earliest important Cuban directors include Enrique Díaz Quesada and Ramón Peón. In 1923 all previous Cuban film classics were destroyed by a fire in the film warehouse and for this reason you can no longer watch them today. After the triumph of the revolution, Cuba entered the period known as the „golden age of Cuban cinema“. In 1959 the Cuban Film Institute Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC) was founded by Alfredo Guevara. ICAIC was financed by the Cuban government, which on the one hand led to a large and rapid development of cinematography on the island, on the other hand the films had to match and reflect the ideological standpoint of the political system. Some directors, such as Nicolás Guillén Landrién, Eduardo Manet, Fausto Canel, made critical films despite the political pressure; these works of art were then mostly censored or banned. In 2017, around 3000 Cuban film posters were included in the UNESCO World Document Heritage. Film festivals in Cuba: Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano de La Habana, Festival de Cine Europeo en Cuba. Directors (selection): Enrique Díaz Quesada, Ramón Peón, Ernesto Caparróz, Manuel “Manolo” Alonso, Nicolás Guillén Landrién, Eduardo Manet, Fausto Canel, Roberto Fandiño, Alberto Roldán, Orlando Jimenéz Leal, Sara Gómez. Films (selection): Casta de roble (1954), A Girlfriend for David (Una novia para David, 1985), Remembrance of Underdevelopment (Memorias del subdesarrollo, 1968), The Death of a Bureaucrat (La muerte de un burócrata, 1966) , One Day in November (Un día de noviembre, 1976), The Last Supper (La última cena, 1976), Strawberry and Chocolate (Fresa y chocolate, 1993), La bella del Alhambra (1989), Se permuta (1985), Siete muertes a plazo fijo (1950), Lucía (1968), Papeles secundarios (1989), Madagascar (1995), The first battle with the machete (La primera carga al machete, 1969), In some ways (De cierta manera, 1977 ), El hombre de Maisinicú (1973), Cecilia (1982), La virgen de la Caridad (1930), Retrato de Teresa (1979).Spanish-language literature in Cuba began with the Spanish conquest and colonization. The conquerors brought with them chroniclers who wrote and described important events, albeit with a Spanish point of view and for a Spanish reading audience.   The first literary work written on the island dates back to the 17th century: Silvestre de Balboa y Troya de Quesada (1563-1647), published 1608 Espejo de Paciencia, an epic-historical poem in royal octaves depicting the kidnapping portrayed by the bishop Fray Juan de las Cabezas Altamirano by the pirate Gilberto Girón. Selection of well-known Cuban writers: Reinaldo Arenas (1943–1990), Barnet (* 1940), Guillermo Cabrera Infante (1929–2005), Onelio Jorge Cardoso (1914–1986), Alejo Carpentier (1904–1980), Jesús Díaz (1941– 2002), Pedro Juan Gutiérrez (* 1950), Nicolás Guillén (1902–1989), José Lezama Lima (1910–1976), José Martí (1853–1895), Padura (* 1955), Zoé Valdés (* 1959), Cirilo Villaverde (1812-1894).



Cuban painting became more important at the beginning of the 20th century. The first plastic arts school in Cuba was Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro, founded in 1818 and still in existence. Among the most important painters are Wilfredo Lam, whose works are exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and in the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid, Guillermo Collazo, Armando Menocal, Mariano Tobeñas, Fidelio Ponce de León, Mariano Rodríguez, René Portocarrero, Amelia Peláez , Víctor Manuel and Carlos Enríquez.

In Cuba there is the Cuban Craftsmen Association (ACAA), an organization that gathers the best craftspeople in Cuba. These artisans work in their own workshops and are supported by the country‘s political and economic leadership.


    Cuban cuisine is a mix of Tain, Spanish, African and Caribbean cuisine. Typical dishes: Lechón asado, Yuca con mojo, Arroz congrí, Chatinos o Tostones, Picadillo a la criolla, Carne con papas, Ajiaco, Congrí oriental, Sándwich cubano, Caldosa, Ropa vieja con vegetales (soup meat with tomato sauce, black beans, yellow rice , Plantains and fried yuca), Rabo encendido, Gaceñiga Typical cocktails: Daiquirí (rum, lemon, sugar, maraschino liqueur and ice), Mojito cubano (rum, mint leaves, lime, sugar, sparkling water and ice), Cubalibre (rum, Coca Cola, lemon and ice), Malecón, Ron Collins or rum colins (rum, lemon, sugar, sparkling water and ice), El Presidente (rum, orange curacao, vermouth and grenadine), Telegrama (rum, mint liqueur and ice).


Sport and politics
Since the Castro regime in 1959, sports culture has been shaped primarily by the following motives: ideology, military, gender and racial justice, general health and international prestige. Due to historical relationships with the United States, many Cubans participate in many sports popular in North America rather than sports traditionally promoted in other Latin American countries. Baseball and boxing are the most popular sports, followed by volleyball, wrestling, basketball, sailing and trekking. In athletics there are many successful teams and athletes both nationally and internationally. There is also national enthusiasm in football, but there is a lack of resources and professional talent development. Cuba had numerous successful victories in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, as well as titles in baseball, basketball, boxing, weightlifting, and volleyball. In keeping with these successes, the joke of the three great successes of the revolution prevailed. These are: education, medicine and sport; the three defects of the revolution are breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sport, health and fitness
  In Cuba there are many opportunities to do sports in cities. Fitness parks, soccer fields, basketball fields, baseball fields and fitness studios are numerous. People orientate themselves towards the trends and ideals of the capitalist countries, for example go to fitness studios to improve their external appearance. A healthy diet largely fails due to the existing economic blockade and the daily need for calories is often only consumed through fats and sugar, as it is impossible to plan a healthy and conscious diet. The rationing of food (Libreta de Abastecimiento) by the Cuban government is intended to counteract this and ensure the minimum supply of food for every inhabitant, regardless of social or economic status. Cuban staple foods such as rice, beans, eggs and bananas are distributed and sold there.



    EDUCATION AND SPORT 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.Chomsky, Aviva (2015): A History of the Cuban Revolution, Wiley Blackwell, S. 42 7. 8.Joseph L. Arbena and David G. LaFrance (2002): Sport in Latin America and the Caribbean, S. 145 9. 10. CULTURE 1. 2.„Los factores humanos de la cubanidad“, 1940, Fernando Ortiz 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8., Historia Cultural de Cuba, Episodio 61 - La ideología política de Cuba, Dr. Mercedes Cross Sandoval MUSIC 1. (Leo Brauwer, La música, lo cubano y la innovación) 2. („Alles in meinem Dasein ist Musik…“ Eßer Fröhlicher) 3. 4. 5. 6. FILM 1. 2.Der kubanische Film im Kontext der Kulturpolitik, Schumann, Peter B. 3. 4. 5. 6., Historia Cultural de Cuba, Episodio 33 - El cine cubano LITERATURE 1. 2. 3. 4. ART 1. CUISINE 1. 2. 3.