Cuba, Economic Reform, Higher Education Policy, University Enrollment, Public Sector Employment, Private- and Public-Sector Employment


During Cuba’s Socialist Revolution of the 1960s, the education system was restructured to train and prepare citizens as part of the subsidized state-owned universal education model. In a centrally-planned system like Cuba’s, the state determines the needs of the economy and provides corresponding funding for associated educational and vocational training programs. Students who graduate from these programs transition into government jobs with modest stipends to support the state. Fidel Castro envisioned this system as the solution to Cuba’s instability based on full employment and prosperity for the public and for the state.

Change came in 2008 when presidential power was transferred from Fidel Castro to his more progressive brother, Raúl. Under his administration, new economic policy measures were instituted to legitimize private sector enterprise for the first time in over 50 years. Now, as Cuba enters a new chapter in its history with more private sector opportunities for young people, the national challenge is addressing the needs of both an unsustainable public sector model and the nationalized education system to better prepare and incentivize young educated people to stay in Cuba. Current literature and Cuban scholars point toward efforts to significantly restructure the Cuban socialist model to yield more incentives for young people to invest their energy and talents in Cuba

Publication Date

December 2018



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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.