The Three Ps (Perfecting, Professionalization, and Pragmatism) and their Limitations for Understanding Cuban Education in the 1970s
The 1970s is widely understood as an era of perfeccionamiento (improvement) and professionalisation in Cuba education, one in which the gains made by mass mobilisations in the 1960s were formalised and institutionalised. While in many ways accurate, this discourse of stability fails to recognise the ways in which attempts to limit numbers in universities and pre-university high schools contributed to growing disaffection and disconnection in the generations of young people that followed. Similarly, the Manuel Ascunce Domenech detachments demonstrated both the continuing importance of mobilisation and prefigured the controversial maestros emergentes (emergent/emergency teachers) programme of the early 2000s. In education, as in so many aspects of Cuban history, the tendency to view the 1970s and early 1980s as a discrete epoch of stability and success perpetuates the oversimplified notion that post-1959 policy has alternated between idealism and pragmatism, rather than recognising that the constant and complex negotiation of the two as a continuity across the whole revolutionary period.
Citation : Smith, R. (2018) The “Three Ps” (Perfecting, Professionalization, and Pragmatism) and their Limitations for Understanding Cuban Education in the 1970s. In: Kirk, J.M. and Bain, M. (Eds.) Cuba's Forgotten Decade, Boulder: Lexington.
ISBN : 9781498568739
Research Institute : Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
Peer Reviewed : Yes