Chemistry professor and contestant students trainer, Orestes Landrove RamírezThe name of Orestes Landrove Ramírez is part of the foundations that support the Luis Urquiza Jorge Pre-university Vocational Institute of Exact Sciences (Ipvce) in this city, 28 years as a Chemistry trainer -and 25 of them in the national pre-selection- confirm it. There are many talents molded by his experience, his passion for Chemistry, turned today into excellent professionals with medals in national and foreign competitions.

Las Tunas, Cuba.- "We are satisfied with the results," he tells me as we talk in an office of the team to which he has dedicated half his life. "It is our contribution to the country. I feel proud to be a teacher, my parents were, and that is why I bear it from the cradle. I like to teach, more at that level, although it implies sacrifice to travel every month, to work as a boarding teacher. When I started, I was about 27 years old and I was going to Havana in whatever I could have a ride; now it is more difficult, but I feel very motivated.

"Any country that wants to develop must bet on the development of science and one of the fundamental ways to do so is to develop talent, empower that student who has the ability, willingness and opportunity. In our school, time is dedicated to the student that has difficulties, but nobody thinks of teaching more to those who want to learn more. Our school has to be diverse in the ways of teaching in order to satisfy all needs and provide more knowledge to those who require it.

"Sometimes the family thinks that the student who contests in a subject only learns that subject, but what is fundamental are the intellectual skills they develop and it can be through chemistry, physics, computer science, mathematics or biology. Life shows that whatever specialty they have studied, they have been excellent professionals," explains Landrove, who also serves as coordinator of the provincial training center that operates right there at Ipvce.

Since the 1970s, the Ministry of Education has had a program aimed at laying the foundations for scientific education, as the right of Cuban children, adolescents and young people to exercise full citizenship. Nevertheless, tacit prejudices persist against what some call the "elite" of knowledge, and these young people are often stigmatized as rare and individualistic beings.

"The word selection doesn't like it, but we insist a lot on it because you need students who are capable and motivated to receive a large teaching load, an eight-hour study. We do it based on an instrument because as teachers, we have a perception and the family has theirs, but the diagnosis is the one that tells the truth. We always tell parents not to worry that we are guided by the outcome, no matter where the child comes from, no matter who the child is," Landrove says.

He adds, "We are primarily interested in the result of the mathematics entrance test because, for science, mathematics is very important, it is also a couple for everyone and it is quite reliable in its application. Depending on that grade and their interest, we select them. At the end of September or beginning of October, we were able to form the group with the contestants of all sciences. In this way, we do not separate them from the rest of the school, because they must participate in all the activities of the center, we place them in a group in order to adapt them to the curriculum.

"Sometimes there is a refusal to apply these instruments, but they are the most fair. For example, in the new experience of the group of ninth graders that we now have in school, the fact that they do not do entrance tests, I see it as weakness, not as a strength. All the students in the province should take the entrance tests, because that way they get more prepared, even those who go to other pre-college would be better prepared," says Landrove.

Landrove considers that "it's not absolute, but this Ipvce in Las Tunas is like the School of Sports Initiation (EIDE). All the students who contest in science should be here because that is where the gloves and balls are, that is where the resources for the activity have been put, the best-prepared coaches and the school has a strategy that has paid off. This year we had six international competitors in Physics, Chemistry and Computer Science, the second province with the most representatives and we won five medals. It shows that we are on the right path, although every work is perfectible.

For this passionate professor whose countenance is an exact alloy between simplicity and wisdom, the main stimulus, the best recognition, is to study. The formula for him is very simple, a lot of will and a lot of study. For him, each lesson is an Olympiad and each student is a winner.