Cuba positioning to be ICT leader

Havana, Cuba, June 30, 2006 – Cuba is positioning itself to become a leader in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the Caribbean.

This was revealed during a roundtable discussion on ICT in Havana at which President Fidel Castro spoke.

He said that one million Cuban students from adolescents to teenagers were presently studying computer science and informatics.  The number of Young Peoples Computer and Electronic Clubs across Cuba increased to 600 this week when another 200 were added.

Castro said that education is free of cost and though the priority is for the handicapped and disabled, the aim is to exclude no-one.

“A society which does not prepare itself in the use of computer science is lost,” Castro said.

The programme has also seen computers installed in more than 1,100 rural elementary schools which have been one and five students. Another 2,335 units in rural districts are powered by solar electricity.

Director of the national computer club program, Raul Van Troi, said that this year more than 200 000 students will graduate in information technologies. There are more than 5 000 informatics professors at present and the national program is now looking forwards to increasing the number of computer labs to meet all national needs, he said.

As part of the “information revolution” in Cuba, the Castro Administration has distributed more than 109 000 television sets and close to 49 000 VCRs to elementary and junior high schools. The daily diet of the television programme is rigidly controlled Cuban information and viewpoints.

Two education television channels are said to “acquaint each citizen to the best in national and universal culture”.