Education of teachers is a strong priority in Cuba, and teacher preparation programs are invariably joined with the political and cultural transitions of the country. Teachers are trained in one of 13 teaching (pedagogical) universities and programs in several methods of instruction. Entry is based upon test scores and analysis of one's aptitude and interpersonal qualities specific to teaching. The training program lasts for five years, with students beginning their studies in their pre-university year of school. During the first two years of the program, emphasis is placed on general studies, emphasizing political and cultural topics. During the third year of instruction, educational psychology is introduced, while in the fourth and fifth year of study, practice teaching is emphasized under the direction of experienced teachers. Practicing teachers can also attain advanced degrees from these institutions.
Teachers are evaluated for performance effectiveness based on qualitative evaluations by peers and administrators, as well as comparison to National Education Quality Control criteria. Salaries are paid on a wage scale initially established in 1975, and professors are paid wages similar to that of doctors and engineers. Teachers are encouraged to continue their education and are given leave from their positions to attend classes.
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