The educational achievements of revolutionary Cuba are well documented, and of international importance given the current global struggle to achieve universal primary schooling as one of the Millennium Development Goals. Revolutionary Cuba achieved and has sustained universal access to free and secular public education at all levels, with a high degree of equity, alongside a comprehensive program of adult education and the unprecedented provision of free education and training, particularly medical training, for students of the South. This paper focuses on the less well-researched aspect of the political and ideological objectives of Cuban school education, and the ways in which these have been reflected in school structures, curricula, and pedagogical practices. Acknowledging the ongoing achievements in terms of provision and academic performance, it is argued that the project of socialising new socialist citizens through schooling has been mixed. Drawing on world-systems theorising, some fundamental features of Cuba’s school system are identified that have historically worked against such outcomes. The ensuing contradictions have been exacerbated by post-Soviet social and economic conditions and changes, producing distinct outcomes in contemporary Cuban society that pose major challenges to Cuba’s political and educational project.
Journal of Iberian and Latin American Research Vol. 15, Issue 2, p. 45-64