With ten percent of its central budget allocated towards education, compared with only two percent in the United States, the island nation undoubtedly offers the best education in Latin America, free for all at every level. As an educator visiting Cuba, many lessons are to be had -- perhaps its most powerful -- the riveting effect of 1961’s Literacy Campaign in schooling over 700,000 people to read and write in one year. The extraordinary initiative raised Cuba’s education level to where it is today and as a result of its astounding success, went on to replicate in dozens of other countries around the world.
Throughout the seven-day educational tour spent in Havana and Cienfuegos, tune in for a solid grasp of the island’s National Education System, nationalized after the Cuban Revolution. Visit some of Cuba’s reputable universities - from a whopping 47 cross-country - as well as schools and institutions catering to specials needs children and senior citizens. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to meet with teachers and students of all stages.
And yet, the biggest lesson of all is served straight and simple. Old Havana’s crumbling sites speak tales of resilience. Amidst the highest educated in the world, Cubans turn to resourcefulness to make a society – and their lives – work.
Upon landing at José Martí International Airport, a welcome city tour by bus awaits. The Havana myth disperses - colonial wonders weaving through, breezy seafronts and el Malecón - a vibe that is infectious.
Following hotel check‐in, gather for a program briefing. The insightCuba tour leader is available for any questions you may have. Meet your local Cuban guide for the week.
Your first night in Cuba calls for celebration - a taste of Cuba as musicians are jamming and the mojitos keep rolling.
The day begins at the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), an NGO that promotes ties with other countries, while introducing the Cuban culture abroad. A presentation of AMISTUR Cuba S.A follows, the Institute’s official travel agency and your host in Cuba.
To follow, join a debate with specialists from the Ministry of Education on Cuba’s National Education System. After lunch, it’s on to the National Teachers’ Association, for a discussion on pedagogical research and teachers’ continuous education.
On our way back to the hotel, a salute to Cuba’s national hero is in order at the José Martí Memorial, in Havana’s vast Revolution Square.
Today we take a walking tour of Old Havana, Cuba’s crown jewel. Paradise on Earth for architecture lovers, a spectacle of architectural styles unravels as you stroll along the cobblestone streets of the UNESCO World Heritage site. Amidst plazas brimming with color, music and colonial visions, we’ll mark few stops along the way: Arms Square, Saint Francis of Assisi Square, Old Square, Cathedral Square and Bodeguita del Medio restaurant, where Ernest Hemingway’s scribbled note “My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita,” lies proudly framed over its bar.
After lunch at an insightCuba favorite, a guided visit to the Literacy Campaign Museum follows. Here you’ll learn about the internationally lauded initiative of 1961’s literacy campaign, of teaching over 700,000 people to read and write in one year.
To end the afternoon, meet with professors and students at the “Enrique José Varona” Pedagogical University to examine teachers’ training and advancement programs for both undergraduate and post‐graduate programs.
Back at your hotel, enjoy a free evening on your own. We suggest trying one of the local paladares, Cuba’s famed family-owned restaurants.
Leaving Havana behind, early departure for Cienfuegos is in store. Literally translating into “one hundred fires,” the Southern coastal town is held at high esteem by Cubans as “the Pearl of the South.” On today’s city tour, the UNESCO World Heritage site, founded by French colonists in 1819, stuns with architectural highlights and coastline vibes.
Next, meet representatives of the Ministry of Education and those of the Provincial Delegation of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People. Hotel check-in. The day ends with members of a Committee for the Defense of the Revolution.
Following hotel check out, this morning is dedicated to visiting schools in Cienfuegos province. Meet with teachers and students of elementary and technical‐professional levels, to discuss and compare the relationship between family, school and community.
After a break for lunch, prepare to head back to Havana.
Your final day in Cuba begins with a visit to a school -- part of the special education system of Cuba. Here, the process of integration of children with special needs in the regular education system will be on topic. A visit to an educational community project follows. Break for lunch. Then, at the municipal branch of the University for Senior Citizens, you’ll have the chance to convene with students and professors.
For tonight’s parting dinner, join us for a final stint in the ever-rousing Havana.
After hotel check out, bid Cuba farewell as you prepare to board your flight home.