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7212: Cuba and Literacy in Haiti (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <maxblanchet@worldnet.att.net>


The success of Cuba's island-wide cultural and educational campaign is
predictable. The Cuban people, since the triumph of the Revolution, have had
the opportunity to increase their knowledge and develop their artistic
expertise and therefore are keen to build on the knowledge they already
have. What is impressive is the total involvement and interest shown by
Cubans who daily watch and follow television courses including the English
language, literature and art appreciation. It is to the credit of the Cuban
government that it facilitates and encourages all of the people to develop a
love and appreciation of their own culture and also to recognize the
importance of acquiring foreign languages in order to communicate with other
nationalities. This kind of campaign can be undertaken in a socialist
country because all the resources of the nation are at the disposal of the
people. Therefore the public media and the instruction and teachers can be
directed towards the nation's needs rather than for commercial purposes.

In line with Cuba's internationalist ideology, the benefits of the
developments in all areas are shared with other developing nations. A recent
example is Cuba's involvement in the literacy work being done in the
Republic of Haiti. Haiti was the first Latin American country to gain its
independence in 1804. It is also, according to official figures, the poorest
country in the region with an illiteracy rate of 55 percent. Cuba has the
experience, because of its own literacy campaign organized by the new
revolutionary government in l961, which successfully wiped out illiteracy in
this country. This expertise has now been put at the disposal of the
Republic of Haiti. Over the last year, officials from the Cuban ministry of
education have been working with Haitians, designing and developing literacy
courses in the Creole language which will be transmitted on radio to all
nine provinces.

Creole is the first and official language of Haiti and is spoken by all
seven and a half million inhabitants. A pilot project and several surveys
have been conducted to assess the literacy needs of the Haitian people.
Literacy monitors will visit the provinces and assess the participants
progress and suitability of the methodology. While Cuba is developing its
national talent for the benefit of the people, it always keeps in mind other
countries that need support and encouragement to achieve sovereignty and
dignity through knowledge, good health and national identity.

(c) 2001 Radio Habana Cuba, NY Transfer News. All rights reserved.