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Miguel Arias Sánchez: I was born in Regla in 1949. That’s where I went to elementary and high school. Afterwards I took courses to be a teacher and did that for several years. I did my military service and as soon as I got out I studied formally to be a teacher graduating at the University of Havana. I taught in classrooms for nearly 20 years. I had the opportunity to travel and see another reality. I returned and am currently doing different self-employed activities.

Formal Education in Today’s Cuban Society

June 11, 2017 | Print Print |

Miguel Arias Sanchez

Every day lines in Cuba. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — Formal education plays a determining role in any society in the world. When I was younger, it was called Civic Education and its main objective was to create values and positive behaviors in individuals.

Today, the government is trying to form and rescue lost values via formal education which had been set aside in schools, which leave a lot to be desired. There are many examples; I only have to mention 2 or 3 for us to realize just how much has been lost in this regard in our country.

I have witnessed how a disabled person stops in front of the seat of another person who doesn’t have any motor problems, on the bus, and this other person not moving in spite of the seat being intended for people with special needs. When somebody brings this to their attention, they argue first and then they either get up complaining or don’t move.

Another example, somebody sits next to you with a radio blasting loudly without caring if this bothers you, you look at them to make them aware that it is and the music keeps on blaring in response.

The person who throws an empty can out of the bus window onto the street or the person who throws a candy wrapper out of the basket even if they do this in a public space. All of this indicates the extent to which basic values have been lost, the basic values which need to exist within any society.

This is why it is so important that this education is deepened and emphasized at home and at school.

There is no point in being an educated people if we aren’t a cultured people too. Saying good morning, sorry, thank you, giving up your seat to a person with problems or a child, helping a blind or old person to cross the street, makes us better people, it makes us more human and stronger as a result.

After Fidel Castro’s death, a lot of emphasis has been given to his “Concept of the Revolution”, where he pointed out in the year 2000: “Treat and be treated like human beings.”

All of the people who are the key players in the examples which I gave at the beginning of this article, need to internalize this part of Fidel’s “concept” very well so that they can rectify such deplorable behavior which doesn’t only go against our most sacred values as human beings but against the principals and ethics of our own country.


What's your opinion?

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    Indifference is a creeping form of behaviour. One of the purposes of Communism is to eradicate individuality and to form a malleable mass – the proleteriat. People cease to care about others..
    Conversation with Cuban schoolteachers is interesting. Without exception in my experience – and I have had conversation with many of them, behavioural standards amongst their students have markedly deteriorated. Apparently the parents are leaving their children to their own devices rather than instilling good manners and concern for others.
    Perhaps that parental indifference is understandable, when the law prohibits parents teaching their children anything that is contrary to Communism with a penalty for doing so of up to three years in jail.

    • Rich Haney

      Extreme anti-Revolutionary bias that counter-revolutionaries have preached for decades, as Carlyle doe here, insists that everything in Cuba has “deteriorated” into “a malleable mass” since the Mother Teresa-type sweethearts, meaning the Batistianos and the Mafiosi, were chased off the island to live {mostly} luxuriously, for over two generations now, while hiding behind the skirts of the world’s economic and military superpower. If Carlyle’s vitriol against Revolutionary Cuba was correct, of course, the Batistianos and the Mafiosi, or something like them, would have regained control of the island decades ago.

      Sure, the embargo and other Batistiano-driven assaults would have surely brought much larger and richer nations to their knees decades ago, but somehow the Revolution has out-lived Fidel Castro, who lived nine decades before incredibly dying of old age, and apparently the Revolution might even out-live Trump and Posada. That scenario, even as a possibility, tells me that there remain on the island enough everyday Cubans who remember the Batista-Mafia rule from 1952 till 1959. In fact, considering the current make-up of the U. S. Congress and the White House, capturing the U. S. might be EASIER for the mostly unchecked counter-revolutionaries than RE-capturing Cuba because, at least, POOR LITTLE CUBA, always perceived as helpless, will likely resist a bit more desperately than other more complacent and much stronger, and richer, nations.

      So, Carlyle, you can preach to the choir about how many “years in jail” any Cuban on the island is subjected to for any or no reason at all, but that’s only because counter-revolutionary propagandists assume that, after all these decades of mostly getting away with it, ANYTHING THEY SAY is the absolute gospel truth. With my prime concerns always being America and democracy, that anti-American and anti-democracy residue on U. S. soil from 1959 till today, spawned and created by the victorious Cuban Revolution, has, I believe, harmed the worldwide reputation of America more than anything else. For example, I believe only the subject of Cuba could get America a 191-to-0 denunciation in the very diverse United Nations, a vote that included ALL OF AMERICA’S BEST INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS. If that is not so, perhaps Carlyle can convince all of us that he is not just engaged strictly in counter-revolutionary propaganda and might ONE DAY admit that there are two-sides to a two-sided story.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        Oh Rich, you are excelling yourself! The same old stuff that opposition to the Castro communist dictatorship that you so exalt means approval of the Batista dictatorship is so much bunkum and I will credit you with sufficient intelligence to know it!
        There are those of us Rich Haney, who actually wish to see liberty and freedom in Cuba rather than political oppression. Do you?
        You endeavor to put labels upon those who are opposed to communism, whilst describing yourself as an American republican – now there is a bad joke!
        Yes, there are two sides to the Cuban story, both bad! First Batista and then Castro dictatorship, both evil.
        Get it through your skull, that Batista is long since dead! He is now an irrelevance as are all dead dictators. Yet you persistantly drag him in as a dead cat.
        My interest is in Cuba, Cubans and their future, which I hope will enable them to live in liberty and freedom.

  • Rich Haney

    This is an excellent article that offers a fair and unbiased appraisal of the island from someone on the island concerned with the island. HT is the best at providing such discourse.