The Boom of Cuban Language Schools
The boom of language schools in Cuba did not detonate with the ads of December 17th, 2014, however, the announcement of the future restoration of diplomatic relations between Havana and Washington appears to have accelerated the trend.
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans are impelled to study English. Some because they want to immigrate to the United States, Canada or another English-speaking country, some because they hope to find a work place in the tourism sector.
In many national language schools classrooms are dark and the tables are crammed. The voices of teachers are mixed and the whole building looks like a Babel tower where phrases in English, German and Portuguese are heard.
There are only a few projectors to show audiovisual programs and students spend only a few hours per month in the laboratory to practice pronunciation and understanding.
Several private teachers wait outside the place to fish in the troubled waters of necessity.
The standard rate for private language training depends on the student’s level and intensity of the course.
Practicing with foreign visitors who walk around the streets may be cheaper, but it carries the risk that the police arrest the student because they are “bothering tourists”.
The US Interests Office in Havana, which also offers English courses, has become more attractive with the warming of relations between the two countries.
Cuban Language Schools for all Tastes and Prices
A curiosity about language schools in Cuba is that in these days the per capita by inhabitant in English courses is the largest of the planet in Havana.
In the 1970s and 1980s it only functioned a few state languages schools that taught English, German, French and Russian, among others.
By mid-80s, learning English was abolished in Cuban schools. Russian was adopted, but had little acceptance even though Rebelde Radio, conveyed Russian courses.
With the fall of the USSR, teaching English returned to school programs and the opening in 1994 of the self-employment, hundreds of teachers, interpreters and translators began teaching as a way to earn money and improve their lifestyle.
Prices range and can be found from 1 convertible peso per class up to 3, 10 or 15 monthly in well equipped private schools or homes.
One could say that the fury of study English in children and the youth is motivated largely by much parents´ desire to prepare their children thinking about a future migration.
However, English knowledge is essential in today’s world. No professional that values himsel, either engineer or computer specialist in new technology, etc., can evade the study of English or he would simply risk being left behind.