An Op-Ed from the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in The Bahamas
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Cuba’s educational collaboration in the Bahamas dates back to 2003 with the beginning of special education specialists and it is close to the nineteenth anniversary in the country of the educational service provision in the Bahamian archipelago.
Since then, hundreds of Cuban professionals have been giving their contribution in the education of the new generations of children, adolescents and young people in the Bahamian archipelago.
From the 2004-2005 school years, educational collaboration in The Bahamas expanded into other areas of general training such as science, technical and modern language subjects. In the same way, their services have arrived to the capital Nassau and ten islands of the Bahamian archipelago with more than 200 Cuban specialists in different areas of general technical vocational training.
Although, Cuba’s cooperation in education in the country has expanded to different areas, Special Education has been the main specialty prioritised by the Ministry of Education in The Bahamas, covering its services in important educational centers of this educational level. Among them the Stapleton school, Erin Gilmour School for the Blind and Visually impaired in Nassau, different Special Education units in elementary schools and the Beacon School in Grand Bahama.
Cuba has always been willing to cooperate with The Bahamas in the education of adolescent and young children. The materialization of this commitment was evidenced by the period 2020 and 2021 in which the services of Cuban specialists was extended, which governs for no more than four years, derived from the impossibility of making new contracts due to the scourge of the pandemic.
Currently, a total of 42 Cuban specialists teach in different schools in the country, which has made it possible to minimize the concurrent needs in the education sector in the country. The Ministry of Education of Cuba is in the best position to offer new specialists in this sector according to the demand that may be presented by the Ministry of Education for the academic period 2022-2023.
The Ministry of Education of Cuba provides educational cooperation services in 18 countries in different parts of the world full-time and advisory (Australia, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Equatorial Guinea, Jamaica, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, SADR, South Africa, Venezuela, Argentina, Saint Lucia, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guyana). In this regard, the Cuban specialists involved in these services have acquired a significant professional experience which has been applied to different researches in the educational field in Cuba and abroad to guaranty a better education for all and for approaching 2030 Agenda objectives.
Of historical significance is the collaboration of the Ministry of Education of Cuba in the creation of the Regional Centre for stimulating the development of children and young people with special educational needs associated with disabilities in Guyana (Cuba-CARICOM agreement), which performs the function of a diagnostic center for special education, as well as a treatment and training center, fundamental areas considering that worldwide the percentage of disabilities and special educational needs ranges between five and eight percent of the world’s population.
The acknowledgment by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) of Cuba’s international leadership in education in 2020 is evidence of the Cuban State and the Government’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda.
There are many examples regarding the Cuban cooperation around the world but there is a program that makes the difference among all of them.
Since 2012, Aboriginal non-governmental organization, the Literacy for Life Foundation has run the “Yes, I Can!” (“Yo, sí puedo”) adult literacy campaign in communities in New South Wales, Queensland, and the Northern Territory.
“Yes, I Can!” is a method developed by the Latin American and Caribbean Pedagogical Institute, used to teach literacy to ten million in over thirty nations, including Aotearoa (New Zealand), Angola, Bolivia, and Timor-Leste. Cuba sends resources and advisors to assist in Australia. Focusing on the experiences of colonization and marginalization shared by Cuba and First Nations, the collaboration is an example of South-South Cooperation.