Basic Education Minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga and Cuban Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency, Mr Rondolfo Benitez Verson, met at the DBE offices in Pretoria on 28 October 2019, to discuss progress on the partnership between both countries in the field of Basic Education. The two parties expressed satisfaction on the implementation of the existing cooperation agreement that is focused on Mathematics and Science. The meeting also agreed that it was pivotal for the two countries to consider broadening collaboration on other key learning areas, including Technical Vocational Education and Training, and Information Communication and Technology (ICT) in education.
The Cooperation of Agreement between the Republic of South Africa and the Government of the Republic of Cuba was officially signed on 22 November 2016. Subsequent to the signing, the DBE appointed ten Cuban Mathematics and Science specialists. The ten specialists arrived in South Africa on 4 September 2017 and worked on teacher training and support material for the DBE, along with the Mathematics, Science and Technology Directorate (MST) and the Teacher Development Implementation Directorate. Four additional specialists arrived on 9 January 2018 and were placed in the Institute for Mathematics, Science and Technology in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape Province. Six more arrived on 29 April 2019 and have been placed within three different districts in the Free State Province.
According to Minister Motshekga, the partnership with the Cuban Ministry of Education has played a crucial role in improving quality education. She applauded the Republic of Cuba for having deployed several Cuban Mathematics experts to share best practices with South Africa. So far, the provinces that have benefited through the cooperation are the Free State, Eastern Cape and Gauteng Provinces. Mr Rondolfo Benitez Verson, acknowledged the efforts of Minister Motshekga in ensuring that Cuban Mathematics and Science experts were given a platform to make a positive contribution to the teaching and learning of these critical subjects. The Ambassador welcomed further discussion towards collaboration in other critical aspects such as Technical Vocational Education and Training, and ICT in education.