PH, Cuba explore tie-up on rural farming, technical skills education

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

February 29, 2024, 3:44 pm

MANILA – The Philippines is exploring possible cooperation on rural farming and technical skills education with Cuba, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday.

Last week, the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Cuban Ministry of Education held their first meeting following the former’s working visit to Havana, Cuba in March 2017.

“To further develop the Philippines’ education agenda, DepEd looks forward to strengthening cooperation with the Cuban Ministry of Education, especially on alternative methods of learning, rural farming schools, and promoting work readiness through technical skills education,” DepEd Director for International Cooperation Margarita Ballesteros said during a virtual conference.

Both the Philippines and Cuba implement a program that allows more youth from the farming sector to access basic education.

Director for the Cuban Ministry of Education-Technical and Professional Education Alexander Manso shared Cuba’s experience in integrating local communities in their education system.

Cuba’s current system focuses on the general formation of students at the primary level and the technical and professional formation at the secondary level, Manso said.

He also shared the Cuban government’s use of digital education, especially in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on learning.

DepEd, on the other hand, shared the developments under the MATATAG curriculum in producing competent and job-ready students.

Ballesteros highlighted DepEd’s partnership with various government agencies, including the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Philippine Rice Research Institute in providing quality agricultural education and training in the secondary level and promoting sufficient skills required in the agriculture industry.

DFA Assistant Secretary for American Affairs Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga is optimistic the sustained interactions would further advance cooperation between Cuba and the Philippines in education.

“This meeting serves two purposes: the reconnection of our education agencies after 2017 and the demonstration of our countries’ commitment to a strong Philippine-Cuba bilateral relationship following the signing of our agreement on Political Consultations last year,” he said.

Cuban Ambassador to the Philippines Florentino Batista Gonzales, who was present at the meeting, invited DepEd to join the international conferences on education Cuba is hosting in 2024 and 2025.

The meeting between DepEd and the Cuban Ministry of Education is one of the first to be held in preparation for the inaugural Political Consultations between the Philippines and Cuba this 2024.

The upcoming bilateral meeting allows the two states to discuss various areas of cooperation, including education, health, trade, agriculture, science and technology, maritime issues, climate change, and disaster risk reduction and management, among others. (PNA)