education for all
Olga Díaz Ruiz
CUBA has a program focused on the
development and comprehensive care of children,
adolescents and young adults with special
educational needs (NEE), a social project fostered
from the beginning of the revolutionary process.
Today, 50 years later, special
education is improving and consolidating its work,
as part of a social commitment to the country and
people with special needs, as its national director,
Moraima Orozco Delgado, told Granma. "As
distinct from some international methods, our
country interprets the inclusion movement as the
guarantee of education for all and, in this context,
we have gradually succeeded in integrating students
with special needs into regular education.
With a register of 39,000-plus
pupils from 0-21 years of age, approximately 4,000
students are incorporated into the regular education
system every year, Orozco stated, and during this
academic year more than 100 entered higher education,
an example of the effectiveness of the process.
However, in order for the process to
develop successfully, teaching personnel have to be
prepared, as well as the groups who are going to
receive these students. At each level a
methodological, scientific and pedagogical strategy
has to be devised to ensure a quality education for
students with special needs in new conditions.
Experiences to date have been positive, but there is
still a long way to go, she added.
Special schools are always going to
be there to attend to a specific school population,
she explained, but the objective is to transform
them in the future into resource and support centers
for the rest of the education system, so that
students with special needs can fully develop within
the regular system and receive the attention they
"Moreover, Cuban special education
has a transition function; in other words, children
remain in these units for a certain period of time
until it is possible to manage their insertion into
regular education. The challenge before us is to
continue improving educational practices in order to
increase the quality of this work."
"Of course," she noted, "our work is
closely related to orientating families, so that
they can continue the work of schools in the home.
In conjunction with parents and the community; it is
our role to prepare students for an independent
adult life, and to ensure them decent employment
which will allow for their socially useful
development. The task of every day is to make a
greater effort and put into it much love."