Thursday, July 28, 2016

Citmatel Editorial -- obsolete

Cuba's Information Technology and Advanced Electronic Services Enterprise, Citmatel, has a Web site where they offer CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, e-books and downloadable documents for sale:

Home page at the Editorial Citmatel site

I've argued that Cuba might have a future as an educational content producer, so clicked on education and found 31 courses in math, chemistry. physics, Spanish, information technology and "other." There are five information technology offerings -- an ebook on computer vision, a DVD with three videos on power supply repair and CDs with a multimedia book on the Promethean digital future and courses on Web design and Microsoft Office 2007. The Web design book features Dreamweaver C3, another 2007 product.

Five information technology titles

Next I browsed ebooks and found 57 entries, 17 of which were children's books. Several were designated as "new," but they were not yet for sale. A final search for "Fidel" turned up ten multimedia and audio-visual titles.

(Ironically, every page on the Citmatel Web site is copyrighted :-).

Offering CDs with courses teaching software from 2007 is embarrassing when the world has access to the Khan Academy, Coursera, etc. It is embarrassing in a nation with El Paquete Semanal.

I have argued that Cuba might have a future as a content provider for the Spanish speaking world -- movies, television programs, educational material, etc., but from what I have seen, the Citmatel material is of no value. It is the sad result of the stifling of information technology in Cuba. (I can't help thinking of the divergence of Cuba and China, both communist dictatorships that first connected to the Internet in the mid 1990s, but with very different policies).

This is obviously not the sort of thing I had in mind when envisioning Cuba as a content exporter. It seems that Cuba will not have a future as a content provider if they are relying on old, state owned organizations like Citmatel.

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