English remains a priority for the next academic year, according to Dr. Zoe La Red Iturria, national director of Secondary Education, speaking at a press conference. Efforts at this level to continue consolidating changes applied across the Cuban education system since the 2014-2015 academic year, as well as improve the comprehensive training of every student, are scheduled to continue.
Other key priorities for the 2016-2017 academic year include meeting teacher training and coverage targets, strengthening values, as well as improving the quality of technical-vocational education. “We have made progress in regards to students’ education, however there are still shortcomings in regards to what we want to achieve, therefore we must put more effort into making the most of time for teachers’ methodological preparation in order to raise the quality of classes,” highlighted the official.
In an analysis of the results of this current academic year, La Red Iturria noted that the installation of Biology, Physics and Chemistry laboratories has contributed to improving student learning outcomes across these subjects. She also reported that these facilities are scheduled to be installed in some 130 high schools currently lacking labs, by the end of the year. In accordance with government policy to increase the number of mid-level technical and vocational professionals, an estimated 44.36% of current ninth grade students are expected to enroll in pre-university institutions, while 55.63% should continue on to Technical-Vocational education, this coming September.
OLYMPIAD IN JUNE Central American, Latin American and International Olympiads for high school students studying exact sciences such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Sciences are held every year. Speaking to José Lázaro Hernández Tabío MsC, national chemistry methodologist, he explained that Cuba has been participating in these events in various subjects for many years. “We are currently choosing the pre-selection team of students who will compete in the international Olympiads. Last year we achieved pleasing results: of 22 students that participated, 18 won medals and prizes,” he stated.
Hernández Tabío reported that Cuba will host the Central American and Caribbean Chemistry Olympiad, July 17-23, in Havana. Four young Cubans will be representing the island at the international competition and will complete their final preparations in the National Training Center. In addition to Cuba, also participating in this event will be students from Panama – hosts of the previous edition of the competition – Costa Rica, Guatemala and El Salvador. The island participated in the last edition with four students: two of whom won gold medals (one achieving the highest score in the event), one silver and another bronze. In regards to what we can expect to see from Cuban contestants in July, Hernández Tabío noted, “We hope to repeat or improve on this (last year’s) result, although we must bear in mind that these students will be competing for the first time in this kind of event.” (Granma)