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British Council in Cuba, à la carte collaboration

London, May 30 (Prensa Latina) Training of English teachers, musical and audiovisual projects and support for young talents are the focus of the British Council in Cuba at present, a source from that non-governmental organization founded in 1934 noted on Monday.

In an interview with Prensa Latina in this capital, after attending the World Education Forum, the director of the British Council in Havana, Minerva Rodriguez, said that the institution has always sought to target the areas where collaboration is most necessary.

We do not have a pre-prepared recipe, added Rodriguez, who pointed out that in Cuba’s case, the objective is to serve as a bridge between British experts and the Cuban side.

In this regard, she explained that the main project focuses on teaching English as a second language in Cuban schools.

We have an agreement with the Cuban ministries of Education and Higher Education to train these teachers, said Rodriguez, who noted that this alliance has made it possible to train nearly 8,000 educators at different levels.

She expects, however, that the figure will increase considerably with the potential offered by online platforms to hold virtual meetings, and with face-to-face contacts in areas without Internet access.

In the cultural field, she highlighted the collaboration with the Cuban radio station Radio Taino in a program that makes young British musicians known for Cuban audiences, and the First Base project, in collaboration with Cuba’s Empresa de Grabaciones y Ediciones Musicales (EGREM).

From the latter, in which British experts train the talents who will later compete in the Havana World Music Festival, stars like Cimafunk have emerged, Rodriguez added.

Visual arts also fall within the broad spectrum of the British Council’s cooperation through “Camara Chica”, which, with the support of the Cuban Ministry of Culture, develops audiovisual creation from a very early age.

At the moment we have 11 community centers throughout the country, where what children want to produce is produced, said the director, who assured that the British Council’s projects have a palpable level of stability and achievement over time through the evolution of the artistic careers of the participants.

According to the highest representative of the British institution in Cuba, the priority is that its programs have an impact, because “we have to do things that are relevant for both countries,” she said.

She also stressed that the British Council is in charge of sponsoring working visits by Cuban professionals to other countries to exchange experiences, as in the cases of the international conference for English teachers and the World Education Forum held days ago in Belfast and London, respectively.


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