Cuba, a new important player for higher education in Latin America?

by Liliana Casallas

Interestingly, UNESCO reported that in the last ten years, there has been an impressive 96% increase of the number of mobile students from Latin American and the Caribbean countries.  As shown in

Table I, in 1999, students from Caribbean countries formed a large proportion (66%) of the student migration from this Region who decided to study in Cuba. 25% were from South America and Mexico for the same year. This dramatically changed.

In 2008, the total number of mobile students in the region studying in Cuba reached 24,928 students. Mexico and South America represented 74% of the students enrolled in Cuba; Caribbean students represented only 10% (although their number tripled since 1999). Is this change in the flow of students a matter of educational quality, cost and/ or a sign of effective government agreements?

Region 1999 2008
Caribbean Islands 700 2,555
Central America 92 3,995
South America & Mexico 259 18,378
Total mobile students in Cuba 1,051 24,928

Table I. Source Unesco .  Latin American and Caribbean Students in Cuba

As the graph shows below, since 2004, Spain has been displaced as the top destination for Latin American Students by Cuba which received 14% of the mobile students in the Region compared to only 6% enrolled in 2007. Certainly, it would be interesting to understand the factors that have influenced the fall of Latinamerica students pursuing studies in Spain since then.

A closer outlook at the numbers show that this phenomenon bloomed in 2001 with an increase of 71% of students in Cuba from the previous year. Again, in 2007 the number almost doubled from 12,447 to 22,916 students from Latin American and Caribbean countries.  Cuba hosted 26,889 international students in 2007, almost the same proportion as countries like Sweden, Belgium and Netherlands. Read more

HE News Brief 6.4.10

by Abby Chau


A few higher educational news articles of interest this week include:

  • Two Cuban medical students spoke at U.S universities recently, marking the first time in years such an exchange took place. They will discuss Cuba’s initiative to bring medical care to places around the world who need it most. Cuba sent 300 medical professionals to Haiti recently.
    Full Story: Washington Post
  • Israel is set for new educational reforms that will hopefully augment the availability and quality of higher education. Students will play a pivotal role in the proposed reforms.
    Full Story: Lariat Online
    Read more