These young girls perform what seems to be graceful ballet as they move to and from their school cafeteria at lunchtime. Many changes big and small have come to Cuba, but two big ones are so profound that they are now irrevocable. One is the land reform which has broken up big holdings and made communal farms where many peasants work- though the state owns them. The other is the explosion of schools and education. The brand-new school at left, designed to take 5,000 students, is built on the site of a former Batista military camp in Havana. Under the direction of a crew-cut, sharp young Minister of Education named Armando Hart, scores of others have been built all over the island. The government provides thousands of scholarships, and these students go around in special uniforms which set them apart as becados, or scholarship holders. This is a proud thing. But the schools also have an air of regimentation. Students march in military step to and from classrooms, and even sports take place under strict discipline. Students learn to read and write and master modern technology. But they also get a steady diet or Marxist theories and slogans, and that is what they absorb.
From Life magazine - Inside Castro’s Cuban Revolution - March 15, 1963