The Higher Technical Institute José Antonio Echeverría was set up on July 29th, 1976 and placed in the historical University campus of the same name already inaugurated on December 2nd, 1964. It is the main center of technical sciences in the country and the one with the greatest enrollment in the technology field. Engineerings like: Civil, Hydraulics, Electrics, Telecommunications and Electronics, Automatic, Biomedical, Chemistry, Mechanics, Metallurgy, Industrial, Computer sciences, and Arquitecture.
The institution is commonly known as Cujae. It consists of more than forty buildings and is 398 000 square meters where there are classrooms, labs, conference halls, research centers, libraries, warehouses, dorms, dining halls, workshops, cafeterias, the management office, theaters, sport fields, clinics, the recreational student house, the mail office, the publishing department, the printing press, and all kind of facilities that contribute to a better student preparation.
The Cujae’s history started with the ancient Engineers, Electricians, and Architects school of the University of Havana. It was created on June 30th, 1900 when the military orders were set up for that purpose. At the beginning, it was located in the old San Agustin convent, today Museum of Medicine History Carlos J Finlay, after that, it was placed at the Colina. The school with the specialties of Civil and Electrical Engineering was joined to the Sciences and Letters Faculty of the University center. Architecture was added in October, 1900.
Because of the reforms initiated in 1923, the programs that had not been gone through since twenty years ago got a meaningful change. It brought about shifts in the syllabus of the three specialties already mentioned. In 1925, it became School of engineers and architects; remaining in the Sciences and Letters Faculty.
When the 1937 teaching law was enacted, twelve faculties were created in the University of Havana, among them it came up the Faculty of Engineering and Arquitecture including new syllabuses for the Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Arquitecture which remained in effect with slight changes until 1960.
In January, 1943, this faculty was divided into two: the Engineering where Civil and Electrics continued to be studied and the architecture which included its corresponding specialty.
The incorporation of a wide student movement to the insurrectional process aimed at overthrowing the government at that time caused the University closing in 1956. It was reopened after the triumph of the Revolution on January 1st, 1959.
The University during the Revolution.
The triumph of the Revolution brought about a new stage of revolutionary transformations in the national sphere. The educational was among the first ones. Thus, the conditions were created to begin with a true university reform which had been the dream of great Cuban teachers like Varela, Martí, Mella, Varona, and from all men who had fought to create a fitting university.
The first democratic and fair step was creating a Joint Reform Commission. It was composed by teachers and students and it aimed at creating the foundations for a true teaching amendment. It also intended to purge all those who in the University had kept some treacherous behavior and some ties with the Fulgencio Batista dictatorial regime. Among the first measures were the incorporation of two delegates of the FEU to the University Council and other two students to every faculty professors´ staff. Finally, on May 11th, the first revolutionary academic year was opened.
It is important to point out that this purge process was sped up in the Engineering and Architecture faculties. Students demanded for the expulsion of some uninterested head of departments and they announced the vacancies. For those reasons, it was necessary to create the Higher Board of Government, JSG (by its Spanish acronym), of the University of Havana, on July 15th, 1960.
In the first meeting of the Board, it was agreed to notify those who were suspended without pay. It opened a gap not only to reinstate former professors who had kept a consistent behavior but also to make a call to those professionals to work as teachers. They would not have to quit their works in other enterprises. This made possible a wide interchange of ideas regarding the formation of the new engineers and architects.
The JSG decided, likewise, to break up the Joint Commission and in its place, it was set up the inter- university Commission. It counted on the Revolutionary Government participation, two students, and two teachers of every University. Later on, the Higher Council of Universities was set up based on the No. 916 law of December 31st, 1960. It was composed by four government representatives and four of every university.
Because of a country exodus of qualified professionals from well-off classes, it came up the movement of assistant students in order to keep the faculties opened. Subsequently, assistant students would become professors in the future.
On November, 18th 1961, the University of Technology of Havana was founded. On January, 10th 1962, it was officially ratified by the University Reform Law, being joined the Faculties of Engineering and Architecture.
Changes in the syllabus and the creation of new specialties.
The Faculty of Technology consisted of six schools: Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Architecture. They had similar syllabuses which were becoming more obsolete. It was required to carry out some radical changes in response to the economic and social needs in accordance with its time.
In 1961, the Sugar Chemical Engineering that had started in 1937 within Agronomy went to the Engineering faculty and from that moment on, it was called Chemical Engineering. During the course of the year, Industrial Engineering emerged as well as Mechanical Engineering in 1962.
After that, some other engineerings like Mines, Geophysics, Hydraulics, Sugar Agribusiness Engineering, and the specialties of medium technical level like the hydrotechnic and the topographer.
In 1964, it was determined that the Mines Engineering was studied only in the Eastern University. Geophysics started being taught in the school with the same name. This school belonged to Civil Engineering until 1967 when it became a Department. In the period from 1970 to 1976, it was reorganized again as a school. Today, it is a department of the Civil Engineering Faculty.
The Hydraulic Engineering was created in 1968, from the specialty of the same name of the Civil Engineering. In 1962, the Hidrotechnic and the Topographer were joined to the Civil Engineering School with a three-year duration every one of them. These specialties were in effect until 1969 and 1966, respectively.
The University Campus José Antonio Echeverría, a dream that came true.
In September, 1960, the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro announced the intention of creating a University Campus. All those who started to cooperate in this project thought to name it José Antonio Echeverría.
There were three possible places to build it; the chosen one was the neighboring to the Toledo sugar mill. Today, it is named Manuel Martínez Prieto and it is located in the current Marianao municipality. The land should be bought; part of the budget would be given by the government. Professors and students were responsible for the technical execution, the plane management, designs and the building work in general. They also had to provide labor force and to raise funds for completing the investment money.
On March 13th, 1961 in memory of the fourth anniversary of the assault on the Presidential Palace and the storming of Radio Reloj, the building work was officially inaugurated. There was a ceremony presided by the architect Osmani Cienfuegos, Minister of Public Works. Several leaders of the FEU, government, and a large number of professors and students of the Higher Education participated in this ceremony.
In 1962, the work had advanced considerably but there was still a pressing need of capital to subsidize the project fulfillment. With this purpose, the engineer Altshuler prepared a report of Petition of Technical Assistance to the Special Fund of the United Nations. The United States representative opposed to this request. Since there were not strong reasons to reject it, they tried to hinder it by putting off in all the occasions the discussion of this topic in the meetings of that organization. The pressure exerted by the Cuban Diplomatic Seat made possible that in April, 1965 a Mission, composed by Sirs. Didier Manheimer, advisor engineer and Manager of the International Society of Formation of France and Audun Ofjord, Manager of Bergen Material Test and Research Laboratory, was organized. The visit confirmed that the sent report had been fulfilled and that the faculty was a concrete reality, since there had been created the teaching staff, students, and great part of the facility had been built. The project was endorsed in October of 1965, granting 2 007 600, 00 USD.
Finally, on December 2nd, 1964 the Commander in Chief Fidel Castro opened in this capital, the University Campus Jose Antonio Echeverria, Cujae. Its facilities included the Faculty of Technology of the University of Havana and courses led to empower properly the bachelor graduates who hoped to study engineering carriers.
Structural changes. Creation of the Higher Technical Institute José Antonio Echeverría.
The Higher Technical Institute José Antonio Echeverría was founded on July 29th, 1976 by the new-created Ministry of Higher Education, MES (by its Spanish acronym). It promoted immediately a national network of Higher Education Centers, CES (by its Spanish acronym) due to an increase of the enrollment in the universities and a justifiable necessity of improvement of the National System to that level.
Therefore, the Faculty of Technology was removed definitely from the University of Havana. Then, the Faculty became the Higher Technical Institute which would be defined by law as the center aimed at teaching technical sciences. It was also the guiding University in the teaching of Architecture and of all the Engineerings except those related to the Mine which were transferred to the Mine- Metallurgic Higher Institute in Moa. Once alone, the University started its teaching activities in the academic year 1976-1977. Besides, it opened the Sugar Faculty whose antecedents were interwoven in the subsidiary set up in 1972, in Camilo Cienfuegos¨ Sugar mill.
Syllabuses have been modified since the very beginning of the triumph of the Revolution with the University Reform. These syllabuses, which show the objectives and the design of every major, have been called with the consecutive letters (A, B, C, y D).
Regarding an analysis made from 1985, it showed the necessity of improving the training model of the syllabuses A and B in order to train a higher comprehensive student, achieve a better connection with the carrier practice, avoid the great deal of content in some specific specialties, and attain suitability in the assignment of graduates.
Based on these goals, in the year 1900- 1991, the syllabus C was set up. It aimed at decreasing the number of subjects which made possible, from then, to achieve a higher organization and a systematic character. This has lead to students to work independently since there has been a reduction of time when being in the classrooms; thus, contributing to the increase of time for students to do their training period.
Another advantage of this syllabus is the development of the computation science in order to fulfill with the computerization program that the country wants to carry out which includes the use of the operating systems as well as the database in a programming language as a resource to prevent the great digital difference between wealth and poor countries. It also provides a higher number of universal bibliographies and the possibility of studying a foreign language.
It was also decided to leave only 11 majors from the 30 majors that there were at first: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Hydraulic Engineering, Electric Engineering, Automatic Engineering, Telecommunications Engineering, and Electronics, Industrial Engineering, Computer Sciences Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering in Metallurgy, and Chemical Engineering. The first graduates of this syllabus finished the academic year in 2001-2002.
Since the improvement is considered as a constant and flexible process, in 2003, it was required a fourth generation called Syllabus D. It had to be in accordance with a current characterization of our working setting. From that moment on, new elements were added like the business improvement; the claim for new majors, and higher competitive demanding which compel to work basing the international changes in order to achieve equivalence between diplomas.
The Cujae faces up to this challenge and it became totally absorbed in this improvement that already covers the majority of the majors. The syllabus D still shows our University governed by a scientific, technological, and humanist model, which is aimed at preserving, developing, and promoting the humanity culture. In the year 2005-2006, the Biomedical Engineering started to be taught in this institute.