Private Tutors

June is the month when students finally launch themselves on their books, serious scholars review their notes, and we parents jeopardize our wallets to pay for private tutors. For years, the existence of these informal teachers has been undervalued when taking stock of Cuban education, but those of us with children in the middle grades know well their importance. Right now, if a teenager doesn’t receive extracurricular attention from a private tutor he has few chances — or none — of being accepted into college. Teaching — paradoxically — has been privatized, but without public acknowledgement.

Demand is so high that in these last weeks of classes the houses of freelance professors are packed. The cost of one hour’s review varies between 20 and 25 Cuban pesos, one-tenth of the average monthly salary. Attending the classes compensates for the incredibly low level of secondary and high school educators, especially in the subjects of mathematics, physics, chemistry and grammar. But it also must be said that there are many high school students who want to cram in the last minute all the content they paid no attention to in more than ten months of classes. The material and conceptual impoverishment, excessive ideological indoctrination, and the lack of seriousness during the school day, take their toll during final exams, and thousands of parents are willing to pay rather than accept failure.

The reality makes a mockery of the slogans. Those who have resources can provide their progeny with additional teachers; those who don’t, will have to settle for a frame on the wall with just a 9th grade diploma. Lately, in the living room of any apartment, you see fingers writing as fast as possible, taking notes like nobody’s business, total silence and a great show of interest. These are the students with their private tutors, the extra teaching support without which they can’t go very far. They know that each of these classes is a sacrifice for the whole family, so they absorb the words, the digits, the theorems. They will, without a doubt, take one more step toward the starting line, with an additional advantage over those who never had a private tutor.

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138 thoughts on “Private Tutors

  1. Sounds like what happens in the US with the college craze–those with means spends tons of money on tutors for their children. It’s all about getting into an Ivy League or elite, liberal arts college. Anyway, its’ sad because those without means cannot possibly pay for all the tutoring, from SATs and ACTs to English, Math, Science, etc. Is this fair? No.

  2. Kirbe, I said on the “off chance”, not accusing anyone of anything. The fact is the Cuban government expels and jails people for no reason, and not only can I get in trouble but so can the Cubans I know. “Better safe than sorry”. I hope you realize the Cuban government monitors this blog.

    It would be a pleasure to meet up with you when times are better.

  3. Love Cuba – are you seeing ghosts on a sunny, bright day?
    If I am working for the Cuban government, who are you then? A fanatic republican, a CIA/FBI agent or a member of Al Qaida?

  4. If the regime educational system is so good, how is possible to explain the regime totalitarian ruling class efforts to remedy the shortcomings of the compulsory basic education received by their children, by sending them out of the country to pursue graduate and postgraduate studies in universities of the industrialize capitalist countries?

    The regime ruling class provides their children with a select education abroad that denies the much vaunted educational achievements of the Castroit regime.

  5. thank you, English Translator, and for all the good work you’ve done here.

  6. To Love Cuba: You are correct… another commentator posted under your name. I have banned that IP address from the comments section.

    Signed: Your Friendly English Translator

  7. Kirbe, unfortunately I won’t be in Cuba until fall. I would love to meet up with you one day, but unless things loosen up politically in Cuba, I can’t reveal private information and risk being barred from Cuba or thrown in jail there. Even if you told me where you were staying and when, I wouldn’t come to meet you on the off chance you work for the Cuban government.

    Hope you have a nice trip.

  8. Just to let everyone know that I didn’t post the last message under my nickname here. Someone fraudulently used my nick, can the moderator track down who and remove the post?

  9. Love Cuba – will I see you in Cuba these next weeks? It would be interesting.

  10. Love Cuba
    You do not seem to comprehend that my posts are not always commenting on Yoani’s writing but more stating facts to go along with the different dialogs going on in “this world”.

  11. Post 124:

    OK, calm down, we get it. You latch on to one phrase, such as “Cubans like to eat cashews and not meet their quotas” or the one in post 124, and you keep posting it ad infinitim. Can you form any original thoughts, or add something useful to the conversation? No, didn’t think so.

  12. Love Cuba
    Junio 28th, 2011 at 11:36

    “Kirbe,Komar,Damir, I’ll send you some pictures of fat Indians and beautiful Indian public schools. And then I’ll tell you that nobody in India goes hungry or lacks an education, and I guess you’ll believe it, won’t you?”

    NOW READ THIS CAREFULLY! T H I S B L O G I S A B O U T
    C U B A A N D I S S U E S A B O U T C U B A !! C A P I S H !!!!!! N O T A B O U T M E X I C O A N D O T H E R C O U N T R I E S!! ! ! !

  13. From Damir:

    “For the nazists that was the only way to actually hurt Cuba.
    And hurt it they did. But it takes domestic traitors, the fifth column, led by idiots and ignorants like the team “yoani” who had failed in their exile to find even a part time job in a supermarket, and no one gave a piece of brown thing for them being “fron Cuba”, as spanish speakers tend to say.
    So, the traitors are the ones hurting Cuba even more with their stupidity and ignorance. Their greed and desires to have “what they in the west have” (mobiles, computers, bull like that) is what is ultimately going to destroy this beautiful and unique land.”

    Now, Damir, that is some damn funny brown stuff. Imagine, those greedy Cubans desiring bull such as computers and mobile phones. What are those greedy bastards thinking? They should all be content with, say, 15 to 20 dollars per month and NO technology, don’t you think?

  14. Kirbe,Komar,Damir, I’ll send you some pictures of fat Indians and beautiful Indian public schools. And then I’ll tell you that nobody in India goes hungry or lacks an education, and I guess you’ll believe it, won’t you?

  15. Kirbe, again you can’t seem to comprehend anything Yoani writes. The point of the article is that the Cuban government is a fraud. The Norwegian or USA governments never made it a crime to be a private tutor, nor did they ever deny that private tutors existed in those countries. Only the Cuba government could claim their system is perfect and had no need for private tutors, where in fact the need is much greater in Cuba than in the USA or in Norway.

    You can call it communism, socialism, or capitalism, but the Cuban system is a fraud, and only believed by rich socialists who enjoy the fruits of capitalism.

  16. Kirbe
    Junio 28th, 2011 at 10:37

    Comar, I have never seen any on my previous trips, but I’ll try really hard this time. ;)

    It should be easy. You know. Rationing books last for one week and hunger is wide spread.

  17. Comar, I have never seen any on my previous trips, but I’ll try really hard this time. ;)

  18. Kirbe
    Junio 28th, 2011 at 10:23

    “247
    Are you in Cuba? Do you want to meet? I am on my way.”

    Get some pictures of malnourished children, as a proof of wide spread hunger in Cuba.

  19. Some of you give an impression that communism = socialism. You are so wrong. Norway is one of the richest countries in the world and we are socialists. You might be colored by your US capitalistic brainwashed politics.
    Using paid tutors before an exam is common in most countries like Norway, Japan and capitalist countries as the US. Why should Cuba be different?
    As I said previously I have visited many schools in Cuba, and these visits have never been organized by the communist party. I have met enthusiastic teachers who would do everything for their pupils/students to help them forward. You can not state that the Cuban school system is a total failure. I am a teacher myself and know what to look for. When that is said – I know that not everything is perfect. But where in the world do you find that?

  20. Post 89, the rest of the world is free to rade with Cuba under following conditions: every ship or airplane that enters Cuba CANNOT enter usa for the next 6 months. ANY company that is even only partially owned by an usanian company CANNOT trade with Cuba. When Ford bought Volvo, Volvo had to strike a deal with the usanian nazist government to allow Volvo to continue supplying Cuban clients with spare parts for the busses and trucks, and agricultural machinery until the compulsory 10 years expire.

    THAT by the way is the main reason why Cuban agriculture is in the shambles. They had bought Volvo machinery and usanian nazists bought Volvo with one objective only: to screw the Cubans up. But Swedes managed to mitigate the problem for a few years.

    Needless to say, Ford has paid the deeds by bancrupting, just like the rest of teh “some kind of pragmatic capitalism”, while Cuba is still on its’ feet.

    So the usanian nazist embargo has EVERYTHING to do with the current situation in Cuba, not the Castros, who as I myself have said many a time ARE economic ignorants.

    Cuba did not have to fall this deep despite the embargo, but Cuba IS suffering horribly despite Castros helping with their ignorance and lack of understanding of economy.

    usanians were buying companies in 80’s and 90’s left and right, even if they did not need them, as long as these companies traded with Cuba.

    For the nazists that was the only way to actually hurt Cuba.

    And hurt it they did. But it takes domestic traitors, the fifth column, led by idiots and ignorants like the team “yoani” who had failed in their exile to find even a part time job in a supermarket, and no one gave a piece of brown thing for them being “fron Cuba”, as spanish speakers tend to say.

    So, the traitors are the ones hurting Cuba even more with their stupidity and ignorance. Their greed and desires to have “what they in the west have” (mobiles, computers, bull like that) is what is ultimately going to destroy this beautiful and unique land.

    And the loser traitor hiding under 247 nick: no you are NOT Cuban. You do not have Cuban passport. ANd worse still, you are just an immigrant in a foreign country where you have to kiss Mexicans backsides and lick them clean for peanuts and to stay alive.

    Hence you and everyone else have NO right whatsoever to demand that Cuba changes.

    Only Cubans in Cuba have that right. You are a failure in every respect, a loser without identity. I can only imagine how hard that must be, but it was yor choice so live with it.

    Let me repeat that: you are NOT Cuban.

    There.

  21. 247
    Junio 27th, 2011 at 16:54

    “youtube.com/watch?v=cEwrD0I0bMo

    MORE COMING”

    I saw this video. Very good. Some dude is looking at ration book. Where are the malnourished children under 7 years old? Or older.

  22. ” Child. Malnutrition. 0. 10. 20. 30. 40. 60. Viet Nam. El Salvador. Bangladesh. Peru. ”

    “COPY AND PASTE”! the whole thing in Google Search and look for PDF file. Should be on top of page as:
    Child Malnutrition Child Malnutrition. Don’t use quotation marks.

  23. Kirbe, I agree milk isn’t healthy for most people, but Castro doesn’t know that and so entirely misses the point. The point was also missed by Maria with the tutors. The point is that the Cuban government will boast about something, such as providing milk to Cubans, where it is in reality a failure. They will brag about their “free” public education which is not free to most Cubans. They will boast about “free” health system that is not free for most Cubans. The Cuban system is based on connections or favors or bribes or a lot of luck, and if you don’t have any, you are screwed. To a degree most Americans or West Europeans can’t imagine.

    Getting back to Cuba and food. I’ve met Cubans who are vegetarians. They don’t want milk, or meat, or any of those “luxuries”. But one day they’d love to taste that brown rice that Fidel gets to eat every day. Do you realize you need a permit in Cuba to have the right to get some brown rice? The supply is minuscule. And it’s only thanks to some Italian that there’s any at all. So that’s just a far off dream. For now they just want to get their full ration of white rice and black beans every month, so they can eat for 1 week out of 4, but even that is beyond the ability of Castro’s socialism.

    You see, what is “free” in Cuba, either doesn’t exist, or you have to pay for, but on the black market so socialists can keep believing in Castro’s Cuba.

  24. Comrade Komar! I THINK YOU NEED TO TAKE MY COURSE ON “COPY AND PASTE”! YOUR LINKS DONT WORK DUDE!

  25. THE BEST SERIES (Spanish only) ABOUT THE REALITY OF EVERYDAY CUBAN ON THE ISLAND!

    YOUTUBE: Cuba: La triste realidad del cubano de a pie – Parte V – Cuba: The sad reality of ordinary Cubans – Part V

    Leana experimenta lo que viven diariamente los cubanos de la isla con el sistema de transporte: La veremos correr detrás de la guagua. Conoce a Humberto, un hombre que a sus 69 años nos dice cuál es el milagro que le pide a Dios. Leana conoce a los cuentapropistas, uno de los tantos inventos de la Revolución Cubana.

    Leana experience the daily living of Cubans on the island with the transport system: We will see her run after the bus. She meets Humberto (not me thank god) a man who at 69 years tells us what is the wish that he asks of God. Leana meets the self-employed, one of the many inventions of the Cuban Revolution.

  26. Can’t You find any pictures on Internet? Look this one up. Bit old and things may got a little worse, but not as catastrophic as You describe.
    //tnij.com/rKbIM

  27. 247
    If you are in Cuba mabe we can meet. Then you can show me your world and I can show you mine.

  28. 247
    Junio 27th, 2011 at 16:52

    No malnourished children on my list.

    //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malnutrition

  29. I don’ see the problem when it comes to drinking milk. Milk is not the answer.

    247 – I am going back to Cuba tomorrow to visit my Cuban family. I will take photos and give you a link to them when I get home.

  30. Kirbe, yo soy cubano, y se lo que digo.
    I will ask you only a couple questions, that it will prove who is telling the true?
    Do Cuban children after seven years old drink milk?
    Is it enough milk for children in Cuba?
    Si tu hablas español, preguntale a un cubano de la calle. Y si hay honestidad en ti, debes decir la verdad.

  31. 247
    One place the chicken were actually still alive when they came to the school. Talking about fresh meat!

    New studies show that milk is not that healthy and too much milk while young might give you lactose intolerance.

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