Education is an important tool for the development of a nation. A quality education system will in turn produce an educated population which can contribute towards building a better society
This has been the pondering of leaders resembling President Robert Mugabe and the late Cuban chief Fidel Castro, as mirrored of their insurance policies. One such coverage was the Cuba Instructor Coaching Programme which facilitated for the coaching of two 300 Zimbabwean academics in its lifetime.
The connection between Cuba and Zimbabwe stemmed from the colonial interval the place Cuba supported the liberation efforts of the liberty fighters. This relationship was additional strengthened as soon as Zimbabwe gained independence as Cuba took not solely to coaching Zimbabwean academics but additionally docs to help the training and well being providers within the nation.
Mr Fananidzo Pesanai, President of the Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Affiliation, was the chief training officer coordinating the Cuba Instructor Coaching Programme when it started within the 1980s.
“President Mugabe then requested Cde Castro if he may ship a few of his folks to handle the scarcity of academics in Zimbabwe, notably within the Science and Arithmetic topics at secondary degree,” he mentioned.“The programme began when President Mugabe visited Cuba in 1985. He toured the nation and was taken to the ‘island of youth’.
There he visited colleges belonging to many nationalities, together with Mozambique, Ghana and Angola the place they have been receiving coaching in main and secondary training. Mr Pesanai mentioned Zimbabwe was rebuilding the training system within the post-independence interval and this was a possibility for Zimbabweans to obtain high quality coaching overseas.
“Zimbabwe had academics for main training however there was a scarcity within the Science, Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Arithmetic topics particularly at secondary degree.
“Cde Castro agreed and in 1986 along with Elijah Chanakira who was the everlasting secretary for training on the time we have been despatched to Cuba to review the training system there and get an concept of the way it was structured as we supposed to introduce a instructor coaching programme,” he added.
In September 1986 a memorandum of understanding was signed following a joint fee in Havana and that month, 400 younger women and men along with eight lecturers have been flown to Cuba on a chartered Air Zimbabwe flight and the programme began.
“The programme was a five-year training diploma and the scholars learnt Science, Arithmetic, Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Geography. They have been additionally taught the speculation and the pedagogy of training.
“Of the eight Zimbabwean lecturers that have been despatched, three have been to show English, as a result of Cuba is a Spanish talking nation however the language of instruction in Zimbabwe can be English.
“Two of the lecturers have been for cultural research, in order that the scholars wouldn’t get homesick whereas they have been there and nonetheless saved in contact with the Zimbabwean tradition.
“The opposite three lecturers taught principle of training in order that they have been accustomed to how the Zimbabwean training system operated to ensure that them to slot in,” Mr Pesanai defined.
He added that yearly following from 1986 to 1988 400 college students a yr have been taken to Cuba the place they excelled at their research.
“I keep in mind one yr on the College of Enrique Jose Varona, the place the scholars have been being educated, Zimbabwean college students received 12 out of 15 prizes. Greatest in Biology, Physics, Chemistry and different topics. The one topics they didn’t get prizes in I feel have been computer systems and Marxist training.
“Those that graduated in Cuba have additionally gone on to do exceptionally effectively in life. Proper now, some 40 of them that I’m conscious of, have PhDs and are educating at universities right here in Zimbabwe, within the UK, within the US, South Africa and Australia,” he mentioned.
A complete of two 300 Zimbabwean college students graduated in Cuba earlier than the programme resulted in 1999. It was then relocated to Zimbabwe and have become the genesis of the Bindura College of Science Schooling.
“The programme we now have at Bindura College started with just a few lecturers who got here from Cuba in addition to some native lecturers. Thus far there are nonetheless Cuban lecturers on the college,” Mr Pesanai defined.
On Cde Fidel Castro, Mr Pesanai mentioned, the world has misplaced a revolutionary and progressive particular person.
“He was an individual dedicated to serving to different nationalities, somebody I can describe as selfless. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, between 1989 and 1992, Cuba went via a troublesome financial interval. It was generally known as the “particular interval”, and for those who ask me it was a lot worse than what we skilled right here,” mentioned Mr Pesanai.
“Castro nonetheless, made positive that every one international college students continued to obtain free training, free well being care, transport, leisure and on prime of that an 80 Cuban peso allowance. To place it into perspective the common lecturer was getting 300 pesos.
“I keep in mind on the time he assured 35 000 international college students, with the phrases, ‘we’re not wealthy, we should not have a lot however the little we’ve, we are going to share with you’. These are the phrases of a person who was dedicated to the reason for others,” he mentioned.
Mr Pesanai additional acknowledged that what Castro did reworked many lives in Zimbabwe, a few of which he won’t have recognized.
“What he did for the training sector in Zimbabwe is immense. Many individuals have benefited from the programme both instantly as members or as college students of those that obtained coaching.”
Mr Misheck Mhishi, a lecturer at Bindura College of Science Schooling was a recipient of the Cuba Instructor Coaching Programme within the 1980s and reminisced on his time in Cuba.
“I went to Cuba in 1987 when issues with the Soviet Union have been nonetheless advantageous. Throughout this time, we obtained our training and every thing was very regular.
“Quickly after, nonetheless, within the 1990s, when the Soviet Union collapsed, issues turned for the more severe in Cuba. There have been a whole lot of shortages in Cuba throughout this time,” mentioned Mr Mhishi.
“Regardless of this although, the Cuban authorities did the perfect to accommodate us. We got clothes, meals and lodging.
“You possibly can inform that though issues weren’t the best way that they need to be, the Cubans have been making an attempt and so they made a whole lot of sacrifices for us to obtain an training in order that we may in flip educate our personal folks,” he mentioned.
Talking on the training they obtained whereas in Cuba, Mr Mhishi mentioned it was of outstanding high quality and made it doable for them to create a top quality training system in Zimbabwe.
“The sources that we had in Cuba have been state-of-the-art and this gave us a bonus when it comes to studying and in addition educating once we got here again. Our laboratories in Cuba have been all the time totally stocked and there was ample research materials to reference,” he mentioned.
“Once we returned to Zimbabwe this was a bonus and offered a stable basis for a way we have been to show and work together with our college students,” he mentioned.
Mr Mhishi had praises for Cde Castro and was disillusioned to see the unfavourable feedback that folks have been posting about him.
“Individuals assume when a frontrunner stays lengthy in energy he’s mechanically a dictator, however for those who see the best way that Cde Fidel Castro lived there isn’t any means you can say that he’s a dictator.
“Cde Castro is one politician whom I revered as a result of he was humble and principled. He would typically exit into the streets and purchase from distributors. He interacted with unusual folks often and was not aloof.
“I keep in mind how he used to come back on TV and clarify to folks if one thing was not going effectively. For instance, if there have been to be a gasoline disaster, he would come on TV and let the folks know in order that they might be psychologically ready.
“They knew that their president was with them and cared sufficient to elucidate the state of affairs to them. This, I believed, was good as a result of it didn’t depart room for rumours as a result of folks have been knowledgeable. Even issues that some folks may think about state secrets and techniques he was open about,” he mentioned.
Cuban Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Elio Savon Oliva mentioned relations between Cuba and Zimbabwe had all the time been wonderful and that the training programme was an instance of how robust they have been.
“Earlier than independence, Cuba supported Zimbabwe in the course of the liberation battle and as soon as Zimbabwe received its independence, we continued to assist within the growth of the nation.
“Via our efforts, Cuba skilled 2 300 academics on scholarship to strengthen the training system in Zimbabwe. Following the programme in Cuba, we continued to assist efforts right here in Bindura,” he mentioned.
Ambassador Oliva defined that despite the fact that Cuba had the burden of the ‘particular interval’ the place their financial system went right into a severe despair, president Castro was dedicated to see via the instructor coaching programme.
“Regardless of the financial issues that Cuba confronted in the course of the ‘particular interval’, for president Fidel Castro and his authorities there was severe political will for the programmes to go forward it doesn’t matter what.
“This was a transparent determination by Cde Castro as a result of he needed to maintain the solidarity between the nations but additionally be sure that growth came about in Zimbabwe,” he mentioned.
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