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New academic year brings change and challenges in higher education

A slight increase in enrollment is one change noted as institutions of higher learning prepare to open their doors this coming September 4

31 de agosto de 2017 - Taken from Granma

A slight increase in enrollment, noted in this year's registration of close to

246,000 students, and the implementation of new study plans in 60% of the university system's 91 major areas of study, are among the novelties of the 2017-2018 academic year in Cuba, set to begin this coming Monday, September 5.

Minister of Higher Education José Ramón Saborido Loidi reported yesterday, August 29, during a press conference, that the process of consolidating university campuses should conclude this year, while accreditation of institutions and programs will continue.

He added that 60,600 students are entering the country's universities this month, and the system's 45,000 professors and instructors constitute a faculty of "excellence," renovated every year with approximately 700 new graduates.

He reaffirmed the goal of training highly skilled professionals, who in addition to being good human beings are capable of independent thinking, and consider their social commitment central to their lives and daily work.

Toward this end, Manuel Valle Fasco, director for professional development at the ministry, highlighted the need to update study plans which in some case have been in place for up to 10 years, given the demands of Cuba's updated socio-economic model; technological changes; and the challenges posed by demographic trends in the country. He also emphasized the importance of focusing on specific needs in each province.

Evaluating this year's admissions process, René Sánchez, in charge of this area at the ministry, noted that the number of students passing entrance exams increased by 4%, and a greater number have opted for majors in scientific fields, although difficulties continue to exist in attracting students to pedagogical sciences, agronomy, and Physical Culture.

Minister Saborido concluded reiterating higher education's commitment to strengthening science, technology, and innovation for the country's development.