This is a new work that I recently sended to the Ideas for Cuba contest. The main topic is how to fight Cuban poverty.
3- Revitalize access to university education to form human capital outside of poverty in the new economic system
It could be thought that Cuba is a country that does not suffer damage in its educational system. But the latest trends reverse this idea.
In 1985 Cuba had 13 845 schools at all levels of education and by 2015 (thirty years later) the figure dropped to 9 433. Teachers in 2011 were 316 118, but in 2015 it fell to 245 242. Particularly in primary education was reduced from 115,494 to 107,694; In the average, from 102 091 to 88 176 and in the upper one, from 65 489 to 43 491 during these four years.
The phenomenon is more worrisome for higher education than for any other. In 2007 the university enrollment was 743 979 students. The following year this figure dropped to 710 978. In 2009 it fell to 606 863. For 2010 it would again decline, this time to 473 309. In 2011 it fell to 351 116. For 2012 it would fall once again to 261 468. In In 2013, the indicator was 207 237, lower than the previous year. The following year was reduced to 173 298. For the year 2015 would decline to 165 926. The trend is quite evident, since in general terms during the nine years analyzed, university enrollment fell by 77.7%.
University enrollment in technical sciences, elementary to provide the previous proposal, was reduced from 42 741 in 2008 to 29 557 in 2015. In the case of university enrollment in agricultural sciences, with the importance of boosting agriculture, was reduced from 16 034 in 2008 to 5 149 in 2015. The economic sciences, with the importance of managing economic and accounting processes, had a university enrollment that fell from 93 162 in 2007 to 11 997 in 2015. The university tuition in pedagogy fell exponentially from 128 062 in 2007 to 19 841 in 2015, which explains in part the reduction of the teaching staff in the levels of education. Finally, university enrollments in medical sciences dropped from 189,069 in 2009 to 69,734 in 2015, which indicates that not only are the pillars of education collapsing, but the pillars of health are the next to fall.
The fall in these indicators reflects the fact that in 2012 89,560 university graduates graduated, while in 2015 they did 36 261. A fall of 59.5% in just three years.
The most palpable evidence is that Cuba is moving further away from the overarching principle of extending the reach of education to the whole society. Something really sad is that the official mass media does not show this phenomenon. In fact, many individuals would not be aware of what is truly happening with education in the country until they observe statistical data.
It is important to reverse this discouraging trend. Thanks to the previous proposals, productivity and capital would be greatly expanded. Given this condition, the resources of the government would increase when nourishing itself of the improvement of the economic activity. These resources should focus on strengthening the reach and quality of the depressed public sector of education in the first instance. It is useful to present the reason.
Education is a human right, an indispensable tool to achieve the goals of equality and development must be addressed as such to enable greater investment.
In the field of education, the shift to a more comprehensive view of poverty is a positive step towards recognizing the multiple potential roles of education, not only as a form of moral subjects or as an instrument for Work, but also strengthens a person’s self-esteem.
Although education must be seen as an end in itself, being a human right; It should also be a means to reduce poverty and analyze how its impact can be maximized through a useful framework for analyzing the interrelated relationships between education and poverty reduction.
Education, or the educational system itself represents a costly activity, however, in the long run it contributes to the increase in the number of economically active population that generates public revenue through the payment of taxes, which is administered by the State.
If we can begin to understand issues such as these, we can also begin to move beyond the impasse of merely pointing out the shortcomings of participating in a discussion of alternatives for poverty alleviation that, as always, affects the most vulnerable groups and which Beyond the structural and historical reasons, such as context, lack of income, risk factors, among others, are related to the lack of development policies oriented to education. A painful situation that crosses our country.
Human development has to be seen as a process of expanding people’s capacities. Real poverty can be identified with sensitivity in terms of capacity deprivation; The deprivations that are intrinsically important, as opposed to low incomes that are only instrumentally significant. Relative deprivation in terms of income can yield absolute deprivation in terms of capabilities. Thus, income poverty and capacity poverty are distinguished, resulting in a lack of opportunities, choices and rights, and reverting to income poverty in the modern economic order.
Human capacities thus have an intrinsic value for the well-being of individuals and an indirect function to influence social change and economic production. In a modern economy as formulated in previous proposals, an educated person has a higher level of income than a less educated person.
All these aspects of poverty and education are closely related to income poverty. Poverty in education is the main factor responsible for income poverty in today’s world.
It also follows that improved education will lead to poverty reduction, which in turn will result in increased demand for education. Although there may be several other factors, this relationship appears to be direct, as it reinforces each other.
We can talk about equal opportunities when all students have the same educational possibilities, both formally and legally. When these possibilities become accessible to all students, overcoming forms of access and selection covert, the most precise term is equal access.
Despite the democratic assertions about equal opportunities for access to education in our country, many obstacles still block the way of young people to higher education in the face of a significant reduction in enrollments.
However, this is not a paradigm that can not be broken. While the relationship between education and income poverty is complex, with a multitude of interactions between various factors, it is increasingly clear that lack of access to education and consequently low levels of participation in education is the factor More important in the long term responsible for the poverty of the masses in modern societies. Our country has to fight against this phenomenon by increasing university enrollments as an elementary expenditure in the public budget.
If this priority is not given priority, combating poverty will remain a constant even in the attempt to implement a better education system, since educational reforms, curriculum or curricular changes are not enough, not even teachers will have the Expected effect on students if the factor of extending the reach of education for all is not taken into account, taking the higher level as the referent and the goal.
A high level of education is equally decisive in reducing the inequality of the next generations, since it facilitates insertion in the labor market and reduces the wage gap, generating a positive virtuous circle. A home with greater cultural capital positively conditions the educational achievement of the next generation, reducing the educational gap between people.
A society with a high level of education is more competitive and productive and can benefit early from technical progress and innovation. At the individual level, the results obtained by the people derived from the education obtained, not only translate into economic benefit, but also provides linguistic and discursive tools necessary to intervene in political decisions and claim their rights in circumstances that harm them. Being able to interpret and disaggregate a particular information, is key to the performance of any activity or life project, favoring the social inclusion of human beings in the context that is realized. Faced with an unequal economic resource, equal knowledge gives people balance in access to employment and pay salary, which prevents in the long term that the situation of inequality and poverty of the previous generation is repeated.
The role of education in Cuba must serve as what it is: the most effective and beautiful way to reduce inequality and thereby combat all expressions of poverty.
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