Feb 5 (Radio Rebelde) The 16th International Pedagogy Congress kicked off on Monday in Havana with the participation of some 600 representatives from 42 countries. The event is being held at the International Convention Center with the presence of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez.
The congress, held every two years, is dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and the 500th of the founding of the Villa of San Cristobal of Havana.
As part of the event, a tribute was given to Jose Ramon Fernandez who recently passed away and was one of the country’s Education Minister and 2017 National Pedagogy laureate.
Cuba’s Education Minister Ena Elsa Velazquez Cobiella highlighted during the inaugural gala the desire for the Congress to be a place for an exchange of ideas, where one can learn from each other and for the participants to work in their respective countries in favor of the future of education.
She talked about the Cuban education system and the Sustainable Development Objectives while emphasizing that the Caribbean island is prioritized by the government policies and state budget.
Education in Cuba is inclusive, obligatory and guarantees the continuity of studies to 100 percent of those that graduate from 9th grade and access to the university level and employment.
The Education Minister added that formation of the new generation in the country is focused on stimulating critical thinking based on the principles of solidarity, spirituality and the development of general culture.
She commented that the 3rd Improvement of the Cuban Educational System has a lot to do with the Sustainable Development Objectives. At this moment, work is underway to update the working materials for the education process and new ways to work is underway.
Ena Elsa Velazquez referred to the importance in the use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education and said that it must be used with creativity for it to become a force.
Another important aspect in the event was the close ties established between the Education Ministry and civil society with the objective of constantly exchanging in favor of the educational process that responds to the needs of the students.
Some of the achievements mentioned by the Education Minister is the illiterate rate, which stands at only 0.2 percent, the Yo Si Puedo (Yes I Can) teaching method has benefited over 10 million 600 thousand people in 30 countries, and three nations have already been declared free of illiteracy.
She also illustrated that some 37 thousand Cubans are currently preparing in the pedagogical schools and universities to become teachers and praised the different programs to guarantee the primary level, access to education in people with special needs and children in isolated areas.
Velazquez mentioned that the main challenge in today’s education is to increase the quality, respond to the individual needs and allow the formation of the students to love their country.
The Vice President of the Council of State and Ministers Roberto Morales Ojeda; member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party Olga Lidia Tapia Iglesias and other international guests attended the first day of the Congress.
By Claudia Gonzalez Corrales