Cuba is helping people around the world to learn to read and write through the Yo sí puedo (Yes, I can) literacy method, with 9.8 million having benefited to date, reported Ena Elsa Velázquez, Cuban minister of Education, September 8, at the UNESCO headquarters in this city.
During a ministerial panel held at the World Literacy Conference, organized by The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), the Cuban minister reiterated the island’s willingness to support other nations in their efforts to teach citizens to read and write.
According to Velázquez, if we include those currently enrolled on the program, the number of people taught to read and write with Yes, I can could reach over 10 million.
The Cuban minister also highlighted that the program is adapted to the different socio-cultural contexts of every country and translated into various languages, including English, French, Portuguese as well as those of indigenous communities such as Aymara and Quechua.
In regards to Cuba, she noted that providing universal education is a priority, emphasizing that 23% of the national budget is dedicated to the sector. Velázquez likewise highlighted the high level of schooling among the island’s population, thanks to a broad education system developed since the Literacy Campaign undertaken almost immediately after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959.
Some 707,212 learned to read and write through the campaign, enabling Cuba to declare itself a territory free of illiteracy on December 22, 1961, an achievement celebrating its 55th anniversary this year.
The Cuban minister also recalled that in 1964 a UNESCO commission visited Cuba to learn about the program, noting in its final report, “The Cuban educational success is not a miracle or an accident, but the result of many years of concerted efforts.”
During the inauguration of the Conference, Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, recalled that literacy is a vital key to development, calling on the international community to make greater efforts toward this end, given that there continue to be 758 million illiterate people in the world.