estudiantes preThe "Luis Urquiza" sows a lot of affection in those who have passed through his classrooms. Among photos and stories of graduates that are renewed every year, you can discover that kind of common soul that this kind of institutions, which have become treasure of Education in Cuba, create. One of the founding principles of these centers is the deepening of the basic sciences and one of the ways to do it is the preparation for the contests of knowledge.

 Las Tunas, Cuba - The effort of all the coaches and contestants of this school has placed the province in a high rank in the country. For five years, the institution maintained the top position of its kind and although it has been in second place for the last two calendars, it holds a national record of medals and points, unbeatable until now.

Maigualida Ortega Espinosa, the directorMaigualida Ortega Espinosa, currently has the mission of directing the Luis Urquiza Jorge Pre-university Vocational Institute of Exact Sciences. Regarding access to the contest, she clarifies that "all tenth grade students can take the skills test we applied, those who pass can opt for one of the sciences and so we initially formed these groups. In the month of February, with the results of the national contests, it is reduced to a group, which is the one that moves to the eleventh grade".

The other way of entry is through the first category provincial competitions. The student of any Senior High School that is presented and remains among the top 10, has the right to move and be part of the training center, even if they have not opted for the Pre-university Vocational Institute of Exact Sciences in ninth grade.

"We have a team of coaches with great experience in Physics, Chemistry and Biology, who for more than two decades have occupied this responsibility. The Mathematician, who has been working on this task for several years and with good results, joins them. We currently have difficulties with computer training. We had to hire this course a fifth year student of Computer Engineering, who knows the process because he is a contestant and is now debuting as a coach, with him we are moving forward," says the director, who despite his youth a few years ago contributes to the formation of new high school graduates.

Las Tunas is a small province, but its advantage over others with greater resources and tradition is the organization of the school, in addition to the quality of the coaches, four of them members of the national pre-selection. The tenth grade contestants receive 20 hours of contest classes in the eleventh grade, at a rate of four frequencies of five hours each. The eleventh and twelfth grades receive 15 hours of training at the same time.

Regarding the experience of ninth-graders studying at the institution, Ortega Espinosa says that "most of the winners in national and provincial contests could not enter, as they were from other municipalities and had to reach the municipal level, because all had to be from the provincial capital. We have a group of 28 and all of them have demonstrated by their discipline and their aptitude that they deserve to be here. It is a different kind of teaching and they receive classes from our teachers, but everything has come together and I think that the family, the teachers and the students are happy.

Another issue facing this school is the lack of generational replacement of its coaches. For example, the average age of the Physics faculty exceeds 50 years due to the stability it has had for years. "All the teachers pay to the contest from the base curriculum, but we have a generational problem and we must deepen in that sense. Our challenge is to recover first place and that's what we're working for," she concludes.