This School Speaks Very Highly of Camagüey Construction Workers...

Photo: R, Togores archives.
The functional facilities of the school are very good. The distances are short and the distribution of all the buildings have been made with true art. We must congratulate the group of school construction workers and the architect who designed this school.

Actually, this school speaks very highly of Camagüey construction workers because of the quality of work, its completion and speed with which the school was completed, just as the other educational facilities that have been built in Camagüey.

And the school will remain here as a symbol of the creations that man's work, human work can achieve. I am certain that they will always feel satisfied in seeing the work they have built with their effort and dedication. We truly congratulate them.

Speech by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro dedicating the Maximo Gomez Vocational School in Camagüey and officially opening the 1976-77 school year.

© Archivo Arq. Reinaldo Togores
Always when a new school year is inaugurated, one has to refer to the past school year because it gives us an indication of how education is progressing in our country. There are some indicators that are used to measure the efficiency of the work. One very important one is the level of school attendance, that is to say how many out of every 100 children of school age are attending school. In this aspect our country has already reached the highest number possible. Thus, we can say that all children between the ages of 6 and 12 are attending school. The statistical data is 98.5 percent. There are always some children who there are always some children who for reasons of health cannot go to school. Different kinds of schools are built and courses are developed for them. This is between the ages of 6 and 12.

We have other statistics between the ages of 13 and 16. If we can say that between the ages of 6 and 12 practically all children attend school, the same is not true of children between the ages of 13 and 16. I ask you what can a child or adolescent between the ages of 13 and 16 be doing if not going to school. Between the ages of 13 and 16 during the past school year, there were 78.3 percent attending, that is to say that of every 100 adolescents between those ages, 78.3 were in school. This was an improvement with regard to the previous school year when there were 74.9. However, we must continue to struggle until all children and adolescents between the ages of 13 and 16 also attend school.

According to some investigations that have been made in some areas of the country, it can be seen that in some areas the attendance among those ages is higher, and in others it is lower. However, there is something we should take into account. For example, in some places where 80 percent of children among those ages attend school, 90 percent of them are boys and 80 percent are girls. [he corrects himself] 70 percent are girls. This demonstrates that still because of prejudices or whatever reasons--in some cases because they have to work at home or because they help their brothers and sisters--school attendance among those children who are between 13 and 16 years old is greater among boys than girls. It is very important now that we are struggling for the equality of women and now that a high or higher percentage of women than in the past have been nominated as candidates for the people's government, it is necessary to prevent this discrimination. It is necessary for parents to be concerned that not only boys but also girls of those ages attend school.

Anyway, every year the percentage of adolescents in those ages who attend school grows, and therefore we will have to continue to struggle so that the day will arrive when we can say that the same as between the ages of 6 and 12, that all those from 13 to 16 years old attend school. There is another indicator and it is--I already said the first is school attendance--the second, you have not heard talks about these indicators, is remaining, that is to say the percentage of children who register at the
beginning of the school year and who finish the term still in school. The rate for remaining in primary school is very high. About 98 percent of those who register remain until the end of the term. In secondary school it is 93.3 percent--that was in the past school year. At the preuniversity level it is 96.6 percent; in teachers training school, it is 94.4 percent, in technical and professional schools, the rate decreases a little, since it is 83.3 percent. That is to say that in the technical and professional schools, there is a lower rate of remaining in school than in the other sectors of education. This is a problem with which we will have to deal. In
adult education, 81.6 percent remain in school, this is among the adults who register at the beginning of the term.

The other indicator is the rate of promotion. The rate of promotion has been increasing every year, that is to say the students who pass from one grade to the other. The promotion rate during the past school year in the primary schools was 97.3 percent, that is to say out of every 1,000 children, 973 were promoted. This is a high rate. At the secondary school level, out of every 1,000 there were 961 promoted. At the preuniversity level, out of every 1,000 students, 959 were promoted. At the technical and professional schools, out of every 1,000 students, 962 were promoted, and in teachers training school, 997 were promoted out of every 1,000. That is to say almost 100 percent were promoted in the teachers training schools, which is very good since if those students are going to be teachers, they will give an example and they have to give an example by passing their grade, since this is what they will later have to ask their students to do. In this indicator of promotion, we have to take into account one factor. In the past, even those who had to repeat two courses were promoted. But in this term that has just ended it was allowed to carry only one repeat subject and I have been informed that in the next term none will be allowed. In order to be considered for promotion one must pass all subjects. This means that if next year the promotion is as high as this one was, the promotion will be of a superior quality. In the same manner that this year's promotion was high, it was superior to last year's because only one repeat subject was allowed.

In the last school term the number of intermediate level students increased by more than 100,000. That was in just one year. Prior to the revolution there were scarcely 80,000 intermediate level students. In this term that has just ended the number of students increased by more than 100,000. There is another very encouraging statistic: those graduating from sixth grade. In this last term 230,000 students have graduated from the sixth grade. In order to have an idea of what this represents, suffice it to say that more children have graduated from sixth grade than were born last year. [applause] Approximately 200,000 children are born each year. This is quite a lot. But as you all know, more were born at the beginning, and for some years after the revolution triumphed, there were 250,000 or 260,000 born. Why is it possible for 230,000 to graduate? In the first place because some of those generations born at the beginning of the revolution are graduating from sixth grade, and in the second place because there were some who were slow in their studies. Thus, as the slow learners overcome their problems the number graduating from sixth grade increases. Logically, if 200,000 are born in 1976, in 12 years, that is by 1988, there will not be 230,000 graduating. There will be a smaller number.

This brings about problems, because since the revolution has set as its objective that any child graduating from sixth grade will be given the possibility of studying, of continuing to study, we are confronted with a colossal problem. All those youngsters have to have intermediate level schools in order to continue their studies. Despite the fact that the school construction program was very broad, it was not enough. That is why this year, besides the Giron-type schools under construction for the intermediate level, some 90 schools are being built which we call provisional. They are frame schools. They are not as beautiful as this one, but they are good. Anyway, something had to be done because the number of sixth grade graduates has been higher than all estimates made at the beginning. This proves the improvement of the growing efficiency of our educational system. The statistics have been much higher than all estimates. Now we have to invent, adopt all types of measures to give all those children the opportunity to study. Last year this was already a problem and it was necessary to modify all types of structures to make secondary level schools available. But this year the problem has repeated and is greater still. According to the situation that we are confronting, there will be more than 1 million intermediate level students in 1980. At the present time it is about 700,000. Thus, we have been forced to seek solutions to this problem.

Because it was so large, it was impossible to provide for all this mass of students a system of rural schools, polytechnics and so forth. The resources needed are many. The schools under construction are not sufficient. We do not have the resources to provide, as it was desired, for
all that mass of students a perfect school system, such as the rural secondary schools and polytechnics. That is why we are being forced to build in coming years not only secondary schools and polytechnics in the countryside but also in the cities. Thus, the number of scholarships will increase by about 200,000 during this 5-year period. We will have to build needed secondary and polytechnics schools in the cities also. We will have to wait a while longer to have the same educational system for all the intermediate level education.

There are other problems. In the school term that just ended, 35,848 students graduated from basic secondary level. That is a very large number. They will be attending technological institutes, preuniversity schools and so forth. But next year, 115,000 students will graduate from basic secondary level. This is due in part to the growth of the student mass reaching higher levels and in part because two classes are graduating the same year. That is why the number of graduating students is very high. In 1977 there will only be one class graduating, which is the normal thing. Some 105,000 students will graduate from basic secondary school in 1978. According to the estimates, 130,000 students will graduate in 1979. In 1980 some 180,000 will graduate, and in the 1980-1981 school term it is estimated that 200,000 students will graduate from basic secondary school.

Not everyone can study in high school. It is necessary for students to keep in mind that such an enormous mass graduating from the secondary level will have to undertake diverse fields of study. It will be impossible for all to go on to preuniversity schools because we cannot have 200,000 registering for preuniversity schools annually. The country must prepare technicians. It must prepare qualified workers for production for which we have many needs. From this mass, some will go to teacher training schools, for example. Others will go to polytechnical institutes. In other words, to be trained as technicians and qualified workers. Others will go to preuniversity schools. When that time comes, entries in preuniversity schools with a view toward studying at the university will have to be done through records. In other words, it will be necessary to make selections for entry in preuniversity schools.

Our society aspires to give everyone maximum education. But there are regulate studies and directed studies. The high school student is not acquiring a specific training for production. He is preparing himself to undertake higher education studies, to be a student in the regular higher education. We believe that the correct thing is that workers also have an opportunity to take higher education studies, also the mid-level technicians and everyone. But not through the regular university education system, but through directed courses. If the time ever came that every one wanted higher education, each would be given the opportunity in one way or another to get a high-education. But this does not mean that every graduate of a higher education school can be guaranteed a position in keeping with his studies because if everyone were to become a university professional, there would be [needs for] many productive activities. A certain number of doctors, engineers, economists, and so forth--many of them are needed. But if everyone became an economist, it would be impossible to give a position as an economist to everyone. And if everyone became an engineer, it would be impossible to give a position as an engineer to everyone. On the other hand, if someone wants to become an engineer because he wants the knowledge--it is said that there is no room for ignorance--it would be good for society that everyone wants knowledge. In fact, if the person who drives a tractor wants to become a mechanical engineer, he would be the best tractor driver in the world by being a mechanical engineer also. Magnificent. There will be books and opportunities to study and improve knowledge and everything. But it will be impossible to give a position of mechanical engineer to everyone who graduates in the distance future as a mechanical engineer.

I believe this is a logical concern we have and all of us can understand. Essentially, everyone who wants to study can study. But the thing is that at a given time in the country's educational development, it will be impossible for all with a university title to have a position corresponding to his title. We will need a number of professors doctors and engineers. And not only will we need them. We are not thinking of the technicians that Cuba will need and many will be needed. But the time will come, at this pace, that we will have all the technicians we will need. Other countries require technicians. We will have to estimate what we require a reserve. Recently, during the visit of Comrade Neto we spoke of Angola's need for thousands of technicians.

Unfortunately, many countries have not had the opportunity. I was saying that unfortunately many countries have not had the opportunity or the time to make this educational revolution which Cuba has been making that began with the struggle against illiteracy. It is truly marvelous that in this period of time a people who started fighting against illiteracy --there were more than a million illiterates-- are now facing the problem that we will have of having more than a million at the intermediate-level of education, that we are going to graduate about 200,000 from secondary schools every year in the future. This is truly surprising. But our country started that way.

When will we see the results of all this? At the end of... Well, we can see some results. All these youths are not technicians yet, but undoubtedly they will become magnificent technicians. And they represent a growing mass. But some years remain for them to become technicians. These young boys who have entered the first year of secondary studies in this vocational school must study 6 years and then 5 more years at the university. They will have graduated from the universities in 11 years. Years are required and life proves it. But years pass and in the course of time results emerge. Other countries have been unable to do this. And technicians will be needed here and in other areas. Therefore, one of the possibilities for our technicians will be to work outside Cuba at a given time.

Many difficulties have had to overcome in our system of education. First, there was illiteracy. Now we are struggling for the sixth grade education and it seems that this movement for a sixth grade education for all workers is gaining strength. And the slogan launched by the CTC [Central Organization of Cuban Workers] that all workers must have a sixth grade education by 1980 is already gaining much strength this year. I spoke of the graduates from sixth grade in the regular primary schools. This is a figure I have been given: 140,000 workers have graduated from the sixth grade. This is a respectable figure, 230,000 on the one hand and 140,000 on the other add up to 370,000 sixth-grade graduates including children and adults. And the sixth grade in Cuba now is a real sixth grade. It is much stronger than the one in which we studied in our time. Therefore, the books and the knowledge acquired with a sixth grade education must be revised. When we started the struggle against illiteracy we did not have enough teachers, classrooms, textbooks or anything else. Many of the textbooks were trash. New books had to be made, and there were many problems in training teachers, but there were not enough teachers.

At present, the teachers training schools have 35,000 students, and the Jose Ascunce Domenech teacher detachment already has 20,000 youths who are studying and a large majority of them are already acting as teachers in secondary schools. For if there were not enough teachers for the primary schools, then how could we have teachers for these hundreds of thousands who graduate from the sixth grade and who are continuing to graduate from the sixth grade throughout these years and who enter the secondary schools? Impossible. And the reply was given by the youths, the students themselves. And as the students themselves were the fundamental force in the literacy campaign, the students themselves have been the fundamental force in the solution of this difficult problem of providing teachers for the basic secondary schools. [applause] this detachment is growing and improving and is performing its task magnificently. Those who are working as teachers are doing well and working efficiently, under the guidance, of course, of teachers who already have more experience. However, with this detachment, a very important problem has been solved and a detachment is also being created [applause], a detachment is being created to do the same thing in the polytechnical schools.

Some years ago, the majority of the teachers in the primary schools did not have a diploma. It was necessary to use many citizens as teachers so that there would not be a school without a classroom or a child without a teacher. Of course, we made a special effort with them, giving them the books and the necessary orientation and training them. At the same time as they taught, they trained and improved themselves. This year, 10,000 persons have graduated as teachers in the country. The
majority of them are teachers who were teaching without a degree, but who had been studying during these years. [applause] So that we can appreciate the progress made in this area, we can say that in 1972, only 23 percent of the primary school teachers had a degree. Only 23 percent of them. Now in this school year that is beginning, 60 percent of primary school teachers have a degree. And for 1980, 100 percent of the primary school teachers will have a degree. And this is apart from our school for primary school teachers which, as I have already said, has 35,000 students. [applause] This will enable many things to be done. It will enable us to have all the teachers we need, and also we will have a reserve so that we can give the teachers the opportunity to study more and improve themselves. Within a few years we will have a good reserve of teachers, and all of them will have a degree. This is in the primary schools. In the secondary and preuniversity schools and in the polytechnical schools we will have tens of thousands of teachers with degrees who have come from the detachments.

Now, the primary school teachers or the students studying to be primary school teachers enter their schools with a sixth grade education, but soon those who enter the schools for primary school teachers will not only have a sixth grade education, they will have graduated from the basic secondary schools. They will have a superior education. In the beginning they had to have a sixth grade education. Now, with these graduations from the secondary schools, they will enter teachers' schools with a ninth grade education. And those from the teachers detachment will enter with a 12th grade education, that is to say with the high school diploma. All this will lead continuously to a corps of teachers we are better trained and more efficient and with a higher education each time. The Education Ministry, the education workers are growing every year. During the past school year, the ministry had 250,000 workers of which 150,000 were teachers. In this school year that is beginning, 3.32 million persons will participate in the different education levels 3 million, 3.32 million [correcting himself] students, including adults, are beginning the school year. Without doubt, this is a very important day for millions of persons and for all the people. I want to say that out of every three persons of all ages, there will be more than one studying, that is 3.32 million is more than one-third of Cuba's total population.

Of course the cost of education is also increasing. In this year, our country's expenditures on education--not counting many schools which are run by organizations and the like--are estimated to be approximately 961 million pesos. That is a lot, no? What do you think? In 1958 the country spent 11 pesos per capita for education. In 1976 the country spends 102 pesos per capita for education. [applause] That is to say that for every citizen in this country, an average of over 100 pesos are spent for education. Lots of textbooks have to be printed. Last year, in 1975, 18,642,000 textbooks on 306 subjects were printed for the educational system, and more than 20 million textbooks on 345 subjects are being printed this year. The textbooks being printed are of an excellent quality.

All this is part of the plan to improve the educational system, the plan for improving the system. What does this mean? This means that in the future the efficiency of our education will not only be gaged by the number of children attending school, by the number of students not dropping out, by the number of promotions--those statistics reach a limit that cannot be improved. That it will not be a matter of quantity but of quality. The efficiency of our education will be gaged by its quality. We will have increasingly better trained teachers, increasingly better textbooks and with superior contents.

The Ministry of Education has been working for several years on this very important task of improving the system, and the results of this effort will be truly astonishing for the quality of our education. An improved system cannot be implemented from one year to the next. A gigantic intellectual and organizational effort must be made in training the professors to that end. A start has been made in the first grade. They have started with the first grade, as well as transient courses in other levels. When we begin to implement the new system and it is completed in one grade, everything has changed--the study programs, the subjects, the textbooks. The courses of each year and all the subjects have to be tied to each other. But we have to take advantage of the new experiences and the most modern advances achieved in educational science. In this manner each hour of study is multiplied in the results that are attained. When one student has completed 6, 9 or 12 grades, he will have a preparation that is in every way incomparably superior to that received in the old schools with the old methods, with the old textbooks and their old contents. Because, education must march forward in its principles in accordance with the advances achieved in science and technology, and the knowledge is renewed constantly. Every so many years, the knowledge treasured by mankind is doubled and education must keep pace. One the principle of improving the system is established, of having implemented those principles, later not by the year but continuously, once this trend is being followed, it will be necessary to adapt the entire educational system to those advances achieved by science and technology. It is a very important task.

This year the new programs are being implemented in first, second and fifth grades. There are also transient course. We will not have 13 grades as we have now. There will be 12, 6 of primary, 6 of secondary, 6 of preuniversity, and in those 12 grades they will learn 2 or 3 times as much, or who can tell how much more of what was learned in the old days during the same period of time. For our country, this constitutes a revolution, extraordinary progress. We derive great benefit from the experiences of other socialist countries in this field, especially the Soviet Union.

That is why in future years we will hear a lot about the improvement of the system. The teachers know about this, because tens of thousands of them--making great efforts and sacrifices, devoting Saturdays, Sundays and weeks during the school vacations--have been attending courses, seminars. They have done this quietly, selflessly, we could call it anonymously. They have been preparing themselves for the improvement of the system. They know what the improvement of the system means. It covers an infinite numbers of tasks, new methods new textbooks, new subjects, everything. Thus, as this term begins, great progress can be noted. It is a most optimistic picture of our education.

But when we talk about improving the system, this does not mean that our education is already perfect. A lot has to be done in that field and in many things. The material base unfortunately is poor. Many primary schools have buildings that are not adequate. As I said before, many of the secondary schools under construction are frame-type in order to solve a problem. Of course, it is evident that all the buildings are not like this one. If they were all this type, it would be wonderful. But we are moving forward. Hundreds and hundreds of very modern buildings have been completed in recent years, and they are excellent. We will continue thus year after year, and by completing hundreds and hundreds of them someday we will have all that are needed. It is a matter of time.

There are material and subjective factors involved. These include the students, the family, the environment and so forth. For example, we have some problems such as attendance, being on time for classes. Sometimes there are students who arrive late and do not attend all classes. Some do not attend certain classes. This problem can also be true with some school construction workers. There are other problems such as those who drop out, who are not registered, promotion and so forth. We must be concerned with punctuality, class attendance. There are some cases in the intermediate level itself where there are students on scholarships who are supposed to report Sunday night and do not do so until Monday morning. Someone tolerates this at home. They are allowed to do it. This does not help the student. The family, the family nucleus must strive together with the teachers and the rest of society to inculcate the habits adequate to their children. Among them, punctuality and attendance are important.

Problems of the formal education--that is the name it has been given. This refers to the manner of behavior of every youngster, child, citizen toward others. This has been mentioned before. And now they are writing a manual, a book covering all these matters on what the conduct of each individual with regard to others should be. Today when we visited the school, its director showed a little room which she said was the dining room, the dining room-school. What is this? It was very small. Next to it is the big dining room of the school. And she told us it was a small room to which to take the students and teach them eating manners. And this is important. What can we do in 11 years with one of these graduates who is a big doctor and does not know how to hold a fork? This is very good, to give them complete attention. I am not going to repeat certain concepts I have mentioned on other occasions on these standards of respect that are so indispensable in life and appreciated as much or more than any material object, and which make life much more pleasurable and happy for all.

It will also be necessary to make a special effort in sports. Our sports installations in schools are not used sufficiently and sports must be developed because it is very much related to culture, health and the well-being of society, to the health and future of new generations in physical education and sports. We also like to win gold medals. I will not deny it, we like to win gold medals. But more important than gold medals are sports and physical education in themselves; they are much more important. In any case, competitions serve to measure how much we have advanced in the sports field. They serve for that. And competitions have demonstrated that Cuba has advanced more than, for example, all Latin American countries as a whole. We won more medals than all Latin American countries as a whole during the recent Olympiad. Despite this we must not feel satisfied because we believe that much more can be done in sports. Practice must be more generalized and systematized. The revolution is building schools for training physical education teachers specifically for this purpose.

We must take advantage of all installations and opportunities. It is incredible that a youth cannot swim, for example, and a youth can drown in a low pond. It is incredible since it is said that man came from the sea. It is said life came from the water, that the first forms of life came from the water, according to biology books. Man came from the sea. And now we are evolutionary type who cannot swim. Of course, we know there are not enough swimming pools. But we must not be satisfied with this. We cannot build many swimming pools. Some are built little by little. But if we have built them, we also are building many microdams and dams. And we can give it a push so that when there is no swimming, a microdam would be just as good. And even cross a dam swimming in competition among youths as long as there is a little boat near by in case there is a problem. But many things can be done. We even have the bad habit that no one dares enter the sea, a beach in November, December and January. Cubans have more fear of water in January than a cat. We seem to be cats in January because it is said it is winter. No one here knows what a winter is like. Those who really know what it is like, when they come to our beaches in December, January and February they consider it a sauna, they enter the boiling water. And we have fear of the water.

I know that this school has cold and hot water.  And aside from the energy we will spend on that, there is the water that will be wasted while we test if the water is hot or cold with the shower open. Besides all this, I believe you will be well educated because you are going, you are going to be afraid of cold water in December.  Perhaps we did not consider well when we put hot and cold water in this school. I learned to swim in a river,  a very small river, a little faucet. Of course, I am not a champion. But I do not drown. And all resources must be taken advantage of to develop swimming. the little we know of swimming, despite being one of the best exercises, is demonstrated by competitions. We did not win a single bronze medal, never, at any international swimming competition. The swimming pools we have must be used more. The truth is that we do not have a big hopes of getting a champion from one of you here  despite that super swimming pool you have. It is not that we do not think you have the capability, but it is said that in swimming one must start very early, in primary school. So, who knows how many frustrated champions we have among you for not having started swimming in the first grade.  Naturally, this swimming pool cannot be here without being used. And if there are not many swimming pools in Camagüey and it takes time to acquire all the swimming pools we need, as beautiful as this one of 50 meters, Olympic-type with the little rope through the middle, everything, we must use the one we have well.

We are talking with the director and the same must be done everywhere there is a swimming pool: What hours do you use the swimming pool since the students are in classes or working? There are thousands of primary school students in Camagüey. I do not mean that all of them should come to use the swimming pool because there would not be enough space. But the sports organizations of Camagüey could very well, from among all these tens of thousand of Pioneers, determine who are the ones who float better and have better aptitude for this sport. And since they have a bus because they come to do productive work here in Camagüey and since they have their schools' vegetable plots throughout all these areas, as they come they can be selected from thousands of boys who are in better conditions. This is independent from the [word indistinct] that we are building and which will also have its pool. Those boys who show more promise in sports will go there. But while we do not have enough pools, it would be a crime to have these pools without using them. It is located in a place in the school far from the classrooms, and the Pioneers and the sports organizations can organize the use of this pool when you are not using it. Do you agree? Good.

We have to do the same with all the sports installations. We have to see the fields we have in the basic secondary schools and what percentage of them are used. It was agreed at the beginning to have pools in the basic secondary schools as a prize. We have constructed some of them--not all that we have to, but you owe some pools to the Education Ministry. Where there is one, we have to use it. Where there is a sports field in a good condition, we have to use it. We have to make a special effort in sports. Look at the rowing competitions. We did not win medals in rowing either, and this is an island full of ports and bays, dams and everything. It should not be difficult here to train rowers, in kayaks and all those water sports. We have to make an effort in sports in general. We cannot just play baseball. As you know, they do want to include baseball in the Olympics. There is horseback riding. Yes, horseback riding is very beautiful of course. However, horseback riding is a sport invented by the aristocrats in Europe. Since Europe has a lot of influence in the Olympics Committee, when there is talk of including baseball, since they do not know how to play, then they do not want to listen. Then there is the sport of sailing, very good from the times of Columbus to now, I do not doubt. I do not want to underestimate sailing since Columbus reached here in three sailing ships. There is sailing, yachting, horse competitions, purebred horses and purebred bourgeois also along with the horses. Okay, we accept and the day when we have good horses and good riders here, we will have the proletarian riders competing with the aristocrats.  However, it is unjust to consider some sports to have a right to be in the Olympics, but not baseball which is a strong sport. It is a sport, no one can deny it--the practice, training and reflexes it needs. That is the way things are.

Of course we cannot only practice one sport. We cannot be only baseball players. There are other good sports: soccer, basketball, volleyball, many sports such as swimming, and some of the ones that I have mentioned and others which I do not have the time to mention here and which are complete sports. We cannot devote ourselves to only one sport. That is the truth. There is a very high emphasis on baseball here. Very high. And we ourselves, whenever we build a school, we have to put in a baseball field.

We have also built track fields which many times are not used. And after Juantorena and Silvio Leonard, we need athletes to take their places in the future, and so  and so we can win not only the 400-meter medal, but also the 400-meter relay. We do not need Juantorena, we need four to also win the relay and tow in also in the 100, 200 and 1,500.  We have to practice athletics since we have many track fields that we have built during these years. We must study the cooperation between education and the National Institute for Sports, Physical Education and Recreation in order to take advantage of these fields and promote sports even more. Of course without spending more money. We must use well what we have. We must pay attention to this point because in the past school year, there was somewhat of a decrease in sports activities in comparison with the previous one.

Teachers schools are being built, as I said, and physical education schools are also being built so that we can have all the physical education and sports teachers that we need, and we can have , and we can have all the physical education schools that we need. Hopefully, the day will come when every new province will have its physical education school, so that these schools will be normal and students who have special abilities for sports can go to fully develop their abilities. However, we cannot only devote ourselves to physical education schools. We do not practice sports only to produce champions. The champions give a measure of the technical advance made in our sports. We practice sports for the welfare of the youths and for the welfare of the people.

The province of Camagüey, which this year has been the locale for the inauguration of the school year, has had--as has the rest of the country has--very good educational results.  If in 1971, for example, in the province the rate of promotion in the primary schools was 76 percent, this school year reached 95.9 percent. A very good increase. Much work has been done in the construction of schools, and in this manner when the revolution was victorious--the result of all the years previous to this--there were classrooms for 116,000 students. And only in the last 4 years, classrooms for 82,000 new students have been built. In the last 4 years.  And of these new students 42,000 are boarding students. If before the revolution, there were classrooms for 116,000 students they were primary or secondary classrooms and not for boarding students.

How many boarding students were there during the capitalist era? Practically none, except for some private schools. Facilities for 42,000 boarding students have been created in the province of Camagüey during the past 4 years. It can be said that more schools have been built, because a school for non-boarding students is not the same as a school for boarding students on scholarships. It requires more capacity. More had been built in 4 years, in education related buildings, than in all previous eras put together. Everything has not been built here in Camagüey City but throughout the province. This has contributed to this great improvement in education in Camagüey Province. We have seen in Camagüey City how these installations have grown, beginning with the Mártires de Pino Tres Technological Institute and continuing with the Jose Varona Teacher Training School.  We were impressed by that school. We saw it while it was under construction and when it was completed. It is a magnificent building. It has beautiful colors. To tell the truth, it is one of the more beautiful teacher-training schools of the country.

Then the physical education teacher training school was built.  Next to it, the sports school is under construction. Very near to these, progress is being made in construction of the university headquarters.  This one already has 6,000 students. With a little more effort Camagüey will have by 1980 as many university students as there were in the whole country prior to the revolution. This is a great progress worthy of being mentioned, the successful progress of the Camagüey University.  Near to that site, the construction workers with the help of the students themselves have built a
beautiful party cadre school.

And today we are gathered here to dedicate this magnificent school. I do not like to exaggerate, but I believe this school can be called marvelous. One has to see it. I had heard about it. We visited it several times while it was under construction. But I could never have imagined what it would
look like after completion. Now we can see it after it has been completed. There are some minor things that have to be finished, such as balustrades in some staircases, but these are insignificant.

From the viewpoint of its material base, the construction project was built in accordance with the Girón system but with a specific idea for this particular school, such as the concentration and distribution of its installation, its architecture. Undoubtedly, at this time this school is the best in Cuba. In this school, the constructive experience that has been accumulated is reflected, the experience attained in these years of intense school construction.

It is practically complete. It even has an auditorium which will be dedicated tonight. I understand that tonight there will be a ballet presentation in this auditorium. The gymnasium has been completed and it is excellent. The theater is equally magnificent, although the problem of ventilation has not yet been resolved. Everything is ready but films will have to be shown with a little bit of ventilation problem. It has a beautiful library, and Olympic pool with all the necessary details, a magnificent restaurant with a small section for teaching eating manners.  It has numerous special classrooms where nothing is missing, such as chorus, dance and so forth, for the two levels of secondary and preuniversity. The functional facilities of the school are very good. The distances are short and the distribution of all the buildings have been made with true art. We must congratulate the group of school construction workers and the architect who designed this school.

Actually, this school speaks very highly of Camagüey construction workers because of the quality of work, its completion and speed with which the school was completed. And other installations have been built. We can appreciate here that the quality of the other schools we have mentioned is not a coincidence. And actually, this school has been built 100 percent by Camagüey construction workers.  And the school will remain here as a symbol of the creations that man's work, human work can achieve. I am certain that they will always feel satisfied in seeing the work they have built with their effort and dedication. We truly congratulate them.

Now then, you--and I have no doubt you admire the work of our workers because you are seeing it--have an important part in the future. I do not want to remind you of what the revolution is delivering to you today or anything of the sort. This is not the case. The revolution gives nothing,

it is the people who give to themselves. We are not the ones, we give nothing. The revolution does clarify concepts because the revolution created the opportunity and possibility for the people to give themselves these things.  But to tell the truth, the bourgeoisie in this country never had schools such as this one. The bourgeoisie did not build schools such as this one even for their own children. The best bourgeois schools do not compare in the least with this one. Their schools did not fit even in the swimming pool. It is truly encouraging as we recall the past we knew and attended some of the schools considered to be the best in those days. But they were not anything like this one, starting with, of course, that coeducation did not exist. They boys here and the girls over there, far from each, several kilometers away. This was something that was not educational or positive and in no way helped to form man as he must be formed. There could not be this healthy and joyful atmosphere we can see in these schools. Therefore, it is very gratifying that the children of our workers can received their education in a school such as this one, a thousand times better than the best of schools the bourgeoisie could have;  and that our youths can be educated in this manner.

As you know, the right to attend these schools has been earned by you the students with your records. Entry in this school is not done by virtue of any recommendation or influence of absolutely anyone. It is the academic record that determines entry in these schools.  And the construction workers who are here --some of whom surely know how the country was in the past-- know that if there were a few scholarships, scores of them or hundreds of them and not hundreds of thousands as our people enjoy today, they had to be obtained based on influence, recommendations, electoral registrations, by selling votes or conscience or anything. We have just had the elections to nominate candidates to people's government and soon, in October, the delegates [will be elected] but no one has requested an identification card from anyone, no one has been going around doing political campaigning, no one has been offering a position here or a scholarship in this school so that he can get 25 votes. Everything is truly different, encouragingly different.

And we are gratified that no only this school has been built. Schools such as this one also are under construction in Pinar del Rio, Matanzas, Las Villas, Holguín, and more will be built until a capacity for 25,500 students is created. Of course, the first ideas about these school were conceived as one per province. But now we have more provinces. And it is to be hoped that someday each of the new provinces will have its own school such as this one. This one is smaller than the one in Havana, Santa Clara and Holguín because those were made for bigger provinces. The total were seven, but we do not lose hope that in the future they can be built in the new provinces so that each province will have its vocational school, its EIDE, and its Camilo Cienfuegos military school because this gives life, enthusiasm, content, satisfaction and, moreover, pride to each province.

Now that people's governments will be constituted that will have the big task of administering all these institutions that have been created, I have no doubt that it would be good for each province to have such institutions to participate with them in emulation work and efforts. And perhaps each of the new schools could benefit from the experiences and perhaps even some schools could be built at least as good as this one.

I was telling you that with your behavior and your scholastic effort you have won the right to study in this school. However, despite the fact that you have won this right, you will always have to remember the sacrifices and efforts made, and the efforts that have been necessary to enable you to
have or to have had the opportunity to acquire this right. In addition to the beauty of the school and the efforts of the workers who built it, you must plan that this school operate with the maximum efficiency and that you always will be among the first places in the emulation campaign, so that it is not only said that Camagüey has a beautiful school, a magnificent school, but also that it has a magnificent group of teachers and students.  Let it not be said that the school is only a good architectural example, that it is not only an architectural example, but an example of a school. We can see you from here, and we are pleased with your behavior, your discipline, your seriousness and your enthusiasm.  Therefore, we have reason to think we have reason to think that this school with which we open the school year today will be a great school.

As you know, this school will have the glorious name of Maximo Gomez. Maximo Gomez was a general and commander of our Liberation Army. When we look at the names among the different names of these vocational schools, some have the names of great international personalities and revolutionary personalities, and others have the names of important combatants of the Cuban revolution. The one in Holguin will have the name of Jose Marti , the one in Santa Clara the name of Che Guevara, the one in Santiago de Cuba the name of Antonio Maceo, and so on.

Maximo Gomez who fought in the two wars of independence for many years was closely linked to the revolutionary history of Camagüey. When this province during the 10-year war suffered the terrible loss of Ignacio Agramonte, Gomez was sent to occupy the command of the patriotic forces in the province of Camagüey. And this land was the scene of many battles fought by Maximo Gomez. As a just tribute to his revolutionary spirit and to the way he fought for our fatherland, despite the fact that he was not born here, it was decided to name this school after him.

Our patriots during the past century marched along these plains. The areas around Camagüey were the scene of many battles. In this struggle that began over 100 years ago for the future of the fatherland, a long time had to pass, a lot of blood had to be shed, and many sacrifices had to be made, however none of it was in vain. Thanks to them, it is possible for Cuba to be what it is today. It is possible for our people to control their future and have the opportunity to work for their future. Many times the names of the founders of our fatherland are mentioned, and attempts are made to honor them. However, the real honer, the real manner of honoring those who fought for our country is by building works like this one.  They fought precisely for this. They fought for this. And how happy we feel today that on this same land where the blood of so many patriots was shed, a school like this one can be built.  A monument like this one in his memory can be built.

And now you students of the Maximo Gomez school will have the duty every day by devoting yourself to studying and working of honoring the memory of Gomez, the memory of Ignacio Agramonte, of Marti, Maceo, Camilo, Che and of all  who fought to make possible today's fatherland.

Source: Latin American Network Information Center. Castro Speech Data Base