The apologists for the dictatorship like to point to Cuba's claims of free universal health care and near total literacy. Well, after Sicko, the truth about the Cuban health care system got some attention. But we never much hear about the Cuban educational system. I mean, besides the daily recitation by school children of "I will be like Che" and the free medical school education the regime provides to American students who live like potentates compared to the average Cuban, we never hear much.
So tonight, I'm minding my own business, surfing along, when I come across this article by independent journalist Jaime Leygonier about a teacher in Havana who killed a student. 12 year old Daniel Castañeda Alayo was killed by his teacher, Rolando, age 17, who broke a chair over his head. Stop. What was that? Age 17? Well, it wouldn't be the first time I came across a typo. So I read the article. Yup, the "teacher" was 17 years old. Apparently, to make up for teacher shortages, the government has improvised with "emerging teachers," read that adolescents.
Apparently the schools are fraught with major disciplinary problems and violence. Read about it in Spanish here. As a former teacher, I've taught seventeen year old boys. In my experience, they were not notable for their patience, their wisdom, or more importantly their common sense. It is an action of a desperate regime to place them in front of a classroom. Kinda reminds you of Hitler in the last days of WWII.
Side note for those who don't read Spanish: The article ends on a note of dark humor. Seems that on February 1, the British Ambassador gave the Cuban authorities an award for their care of the young ones. As the article's author points out, Daniel could not read about the event in the newspaper so that he could later recite it during one of the numerous political exercises at school While the ambassador and the thugs were exchanging chit chat, Daniel was dying because his teacher broke a chair over his head.