Welsh Education Minister meets Fidel

01 May 2002

Cuba Si
The magazine of CSC
By Derek Davies of Cymru Cuba
Autumn 2014
Cubans first to support Sierra Leone ebola fight
US contracts Latin American youth for subversion in Cuba

What about the workers?
Summer 2014
Gerardo: Saturday night parties and what I never realised
“Now we have air!”
Something is moving
Cuban Day against Homophobia
Spring 2014
Bacardi - supporting the blockade since 1962
Global campaigners unite in London for the Five
Focus on Haiti
Winter 2013-14
Final destination Havana for London cab
We do not fold our arms: Mandela and Cuba
Rediscovering Celia Sánchez
Autumn 2013
Latin America Conference and Fiesta Latina!
Winter 2012
Inspiration from last year's Latin America Conference
Autumn 2012
Blind Cubans Going to the Movies
ALBA – The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America
The Greatest Pain for a Father
Autumn 2012
Part II - Interview with Ricardo Alarcon, President of the Cuban Parliament
Summer 2012
An interview with Ricardo Alarcon, President of the Cuban Parliament
A revolutionary train of thought
Keeping AIDS at Bay in Cuba
Spring 2012
Sport at the heart of revolution
Summer 2011
Breaking the Silence: Beyond the Frame- Contemporary Cuban Art
Restructuring the Revolution
A manufactured dissident
A socialist path to sustainability
Spring 2011
50 years of solidarity
Revealing Che’s revolutionary roots
The Doctors’ Revolution
In Santiago it is always the 26th
Winter 2011
Habana Hoy: The New Sound of Cuban Music
Gerardo remains positive
Playa Girón
Latin lessons: What can we learn from the world’s most ambitious literacy campaign?
Autumn 2010
Daughter of Cuba
Sustaining the revolution
La revolucion energetica: Cuba's energy revolution
Cuba and the number of “political prisoners”
Summer 2010
Noam Chomsky on Cuba-US relations - exclusive
Miami 5 updates
Friends of Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Waste not, want not
Spring 2010
Remedios y sus Parrandas
The real war on terror
Cubans in Haiti
Concert for Haiti
Auntumn 2009
Interview with families of the Five
Autumn 2009
Presidio Modelo, School of Revolutionaries
Juan Almeida Bosque – hero of the revolution
Summer 2009
From here to there - Interview with Omar Puente
Pride in Cuba
Ken Gill ‘son of Cuba’
Talking to Aleida Guevara
Cuba50 - 40,000 people join the celebrations
Spring 2009
A chance encounter with Operación Milagro
Pushing for a change in UK policy
Confronting rhetoric with reality
Talking about a Revolution
Winter 2008-9
Hasta La Victoria Siempre - Interview with Cuban poet who witnessed Revolution
The revolution that defies the laws of gravity
Feminising the Revolution
Autumn 2008
After the storm - Hurricane report
Families torn apart - Miami 5 interview
TUC Congress reports
Terror in Miami - Cuba's exile community
Summer 2008
Havana rights
Changes in Cuba?
AGM Report - CSC celebrates year’s successes
Miami Five – Ten years on
Spring 2008
Celebrating 50 years of progress
Libraries at the heart of the community
Lessons for a greener world
Fidel stands down
Cuba50 – Celebrating Cuban Culture
Winter 2007/08
Fighting for the Five - Leonard Weinglass interview
The World of Work in a Changing Cuba
“In every barrio, Revolution!” - CDR Museum opens
Campaign on Barclays and extraterritoriality continues…
Autumn 2007
21st century medicine
The living legacy of Che
Interviewing Fidel
Summer 2007
Farewell to Vilma:
From Pakistan to Rotherham:
Whose rules rule?
Spring 2007
Stop the Hilton Hotels ban
Feeding the revolution
Teaching citizenship the Cuban way
Winter 06/07
Exclusive: London's Mayor visits Cuba (inglés y espanol)
Rendezvous with lies
World Circuit Records celebrates 20 years
Autumn 2006
Life without Fidel
The landing of the Granma
America's favourite immigrants
Summer 2006
From Cuba with love: Cuban doctors in Pakistan
Bush’s ‘secret’ plan for Cuba
Teatro Miramar: a dream to be realised
Spring 2006
Exporting healthcare: Cuba and the real meaning of internationalism
Let there be Light
“Hombres not Nombres”
Winter 2005-6
Confessions of an “independent” trade unionist
Europe partakes in a recipe for disaster cooked up in Washington
We are stronger than ever
Autumn 2005
Five reasons why the people rule
Education from womb to tomb
Brendan Barber pledges TUC support for Cuba
Summer 2005
Bill and Joe’s Cuban cycle adventure
Poet of Guantanamo
Participation is key to Cuba’s democracy
Spring 2005
Is Venezuela next after Iraq?
Trip of a lifetime
Justice delayed, justice denied
Winter 2004/5
Cuba's Response to AIDS
Books: Bulwark against neo-liberalism
Guide to the `Report from the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba´
Autumn 2004
Book review: Cuba’s story
Autumn 2004
Heart strings
Speaking truth to power: Cuba at the UN
Summer 2004
A revolution in culture
Cuba saved my daughter
Salud International to back Cuban internationalist doctors
Spring 2004
Miami Five: Hopeful of justice
Biotech for all
US occupation of Guantanamo Bay is illegal, says top lawyer
Winter 2003/4
Solar-powered education
Charting women’s progress since 1959
The truth about Reporters Sans Frontières
Autumn 2003
Join the CSC bike ride to Cuba
How the US stole Guantanamo Bay
Does the FCO website betray a political bias against Cuba?
Summer 2003
Hands Off Cuba Campaign Launched
Monument to freedom
EU lines up with US
UK lawyer visits Havana
Ibrahim Ferrer: a lesson in greatness
The Miami Five -an injustice too far
My secret mission to meet Fidel
Spring 2003
Beyond the beach and sun:
CSC’s Father Geoff Bottoms visits one of the Five
Cuban student tours UK
Autumn 2002
Housing for the People
Moncada Day Cycle Challenge
British credit cards hit by US sanctions
Summer 2002
Evil Spirit
From May Day In Havana To The Cradle Of The Revolution
A dream for all times
How foreigners fuel US anti-Cuba policy
Spring 2002
African Roots
How the US planned to start a war with Cuba
Toys for Cuba
Welsh Education Minister meets Fidel
Winter 2013-14
Final destination Havana for London cab
Welsh Education Minister meets FidelIn February, Jane Davidson AM, Labour Minister for Education in the National Assembly for Wales, spent four days in Cuba opening links between higher education in Wales and Cuba and meeting with Fidel Castro in the process.
“I already knew literacy and numeracy in Cuba were particularly good, and I was interested in their support for the early years”, the Minister commented. While visiting the island on holiday last year, Ms Davidson had met the Cuban Deputy Ministers of Education and Higher Education.

She said “in my meetings it became clear that there were lots of areas on which we could work together. They were facing similar challenges in terms of how you give rural schools the greatest opportunity in educating young people, they were looking at putting televisions into every school, they were looking at setting up a new Cuban education television channel…”. In response to Cuban interest in signing a Memorandum of Understanding, Ms Davidson proposed to consult with higher education institutions in Wales and to return to Cuba in March for the Conference of the University in the New Millennium.

Universities in Wales expressed interest in the conference after a visit to Wales by the Cuban Minister of Higher Education, and representatives of the Universities of Swansea and Glamorgan and of the Welsh College of Music and Drama attended the conference with the Assembly Education Minister. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Spanish, Welsh and English. It provides for officials in Wales and Cuba to liaise over link opportunities, and already the Welsh universities have come back with specific projects. As Jane Davidson explained, “…the links will be between institution and institution, although we’ll keep a weather eye on it from government so that it is a living memorandum, not one that sits on the shelf, and the same thing will happen in Cuba.” The links will be within a framework of “doing projects together and finding ways of facilitating exchanges and opportunities for learning from each other.”

The Welsh delegation’s experience of the conference was very positive, as Ms Davidson described – “[They] were obviously incredibly enthused by their experience there. It turned out the conference was some 30 countries and 1500 delegates, so I think it exceeded our hosts’ expectations as well … I was given the opportunity on the last day to sign the memorandum and make a speech in one of the workshop sessions. That was the plan I came over to Cuba with, and then it all changed ...”

Jane Davidson’s speech attracted a large audience: “…the speech was received very well but I think that was as much to do with the catalyst as my speech. I was incredibly privileged because having met Fidel on the first evening I arrived in Havana and had a chance to talk with him about his vision and my vision of education, I was bowled over when I heard he was prepared to chair my session. So I think I was moved out of a relatively small workshop room and moved into the largest room outside the main conference hall. The room was meant to hold something like 400 but I think it held something like 600 because there was standing room only and a number of people were turned away from hearing the Minister from Wales expound the opportunities of Wales and her commitment to higher education in Wales!”

Jane met Fidel after his speech at the launch of the Havana Bookfair, which she described as a wonderful event with millions of books, happening all over Cuba - “…being Fidel, he never speaks with any notes, it’s all a stream of consciousness speech.” He had spoken of the value of reading, literacy, and education, and how Cuba was a very skilled and educated nation but that that was not enough. “I could have used exactly the same themes in Wales. When I met him I shared the vision of education.” She reported that Fidel is drawing up a list of 25 books to go into Cuban homes, to be produced as cheaply as possible in newspaper copy to give people access to good literature.

The Minister’s final impressions of the conference reflected her recognition of Fidel’s role in mass literacy and numeracy – “They’ve achieved those standards because they have this absolute commitment to education as the means of individual self-development. And because they offer a job to every person, because they offer educational opportunities to every person, there really are opportunities for all.”

The commitment to education follows through to other aspects of society: as Jane Davidson noted, Cuban scientists are at the forefront of work to develop a vaccine for cholera, a disease not even found in Cuba. They have done a lot of work on AIDS in African countries, and the delegation saw work on helping children with very poor hearing. “They were demonstrating the intellectual capital for us to take back and talk to others about,” she observed. It is hoped that the new links between Welsh and Cuban universities will help in this information exchange.

The last words go to Jane Davidson: “I get the feeling that when [Cuba] makes a decision, it just gets on and does it …in the six months between my holiday visit and my going back formally, they had put televisions in all their schools with the new channel for education.”
TOP
Bookmark and Share RSS