(1912 - 1980)
Doctora en Derecho Civil. Periodista destacada, literata y poetisa de intensa vida política, profesora notable. Fue Directora del Instituto de Literatura y Lingüística de la Academia de Ciencias de Cuba.
From 1959 Onwards The Revolutionary Period
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When the war against Batista's dictatorship was over and the Revolution triumphed (in January 1959), there were some institutions in Cuba that could do basic or applied scientific research. Among them were the National Observatory, which was (and still is) comprised of a cluster of buildings in the area of Casablanca, next to Havana's harbor, and a few meteorological observation stations in several parts of the country (it also owned stations in Grand Cayman and Nicaragua). The core of sea studies was the Hydrographic Office. The National Center for Fishing Research, of an ephemeral existence, had been dissolved in 1955. The National Hygiene Institute (created in 1943) was still in place, though it was dedicated -- mostly -- to quality control of food and medicines. Very few laboratories in the three official universities (those of Havana , Las Villas and Oriente) did research. At the Ministry of Agriculture was an institution named, since 1950, Technical Commission on Geology and Mining. Technological research, which was scarce, was concentrated in a Cuban Institute of Technological Research (ICIT), which had been created in 1955 as a consequence of Truslow Mission (mentioned above), and medical research was conducted - on a small scale and with many difficulties - at the aforementioned Tropical Medicine Laboratory. The Experimental Agronomic Station of Santiago de Las Vegas - in spite of its constant shortage of resources -showed (as mentioned above) a wide account of results.

All through 1959 and 1961, the existing research institutions were supported by the Revolutionary Government, but no new institution was virtually created. On January 15, 1960 , however, Fidel Castro assured a group of Cuban specialists that science would take an important place within the transformation plans for the country. Before the members of the Cuban Speleological Society gathered at the headquarters of the Academy of Medical, Physical and Natural Sciences of Havana, he said, "The future of our homeland must necessarily be a future of science men, of thinking men, since this is precisely what we are sowing most; what we are sowing most is opportunities for intelligence, since a majority part of our people had no access to culture, or science, a majority part of our people."

The most important changes started in the area of agricultural research and were encouraged by the National Institute for the Agrarian Reform (INRA), which was set up in May 1959. F rom 1959 to 1961 - the year it officially came to be part of INRA - the Experimental Station of Santiago de las Vegas (currently, the Institute for Fundamental Research on Tropical Agriculture) became the national center for agricultural research (not including sugarcane and tobacco research). Being approved in 1960, the new research plan of the Station was allocated funds almost twenty times larger than those granted to the institution in previous budgets.

A huge effort was needed to supply the country with the thousands of scientists and engineers required for the ambitious economic development plans. Education could not remain apart from the great changes brought about in the country. Illiteracy was one of the evils which the first plans addressed. The Literacy Campaign (1960-1961) reduced the amount of older-than-10-year illiterate population from 24% to less than 4%. The literacy program was followed (and in some cases preceded) by remarkably enlarged capacities for elementary and secondary education, which allowed young and adults who had learned to read and write continue studying.

But it was also necessary to make huge changes in higher education, which had been burdened to a considerable extent by decades of teaching inertia and scarce budgeting. Science (physics-mathematics, physics-chemistry, and natural science) students made up only 1.7% of students, technology students 5.8%, and those related to agriculture and sugarcane industry accounted for only 1.8% of the total. Syllabi in those degree courses were generally old-fashioned, and practical-experimental teaching was nearly non-existent. In 1960, in some university schools (mostly engineering), the first steps were taken towards a radical reform of syllabi making them contribute to having better trained students and sustainable development of scientific research in universities. As a result of this movement, on January 10, 1962 the University Reform Law was promulgated.

In 1961, those in charge of the educational policy in the country had come to the conclusion that the three national universities did not have enough professors and facilities to train the number and diversity of scientists and engineers required for development plans. Therefore, scholarships were granted in other countries for students to take technical and higher learning courses. Several thousands of Cuban students studied in university centers in the socialist countries. Scholarships in Western Europe were granted too, though in a much lesser proportion.