ERIC Number: ED240230
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar-31
Reference Count: 0
Literacy Crusades and Revolutionary Governments: The Cases of Cuba, 1961, and Nicaragua, 1980.
After the Castro revolution of 1959, the new Cuban revolutionary government began a massive literacy campaign that taught 700,000 persons to read in about a year. Twenty years later, Nicaragua, facing an even more serious literacy problem, conducted a similar literacy campaign. In approximately six months, Nicaragua had reduced illiteracy by 37 percent. What accounts for the phenomenal success of these two countries in producing such massive reductions in illiteracy? Several features that the two campaigns had in common can help to explain their success. First of all, the literacy campaigns were a continuation of the revolutionary mentality, substituting a war of governmental control for a war on illiteracy. The new patriots were able to channel their revolutionary fervor to a new cause and help to solidify their political gains at the same time. Second, the subject matter of the literacy campaign was political; new government leaders needed the support of the people, so they used the teaching of reading as a tool for the teaching of their political philosophy. Third, both campaigns relied on the commitment of enthusiastic volunteers in a common cause, especially hundreds of thousands of high school-aged youth. Finally, the literacy campaigns succeeded because of the tremendous dedication with which they were mounted and carried out, again a product of the revolutionary zeal, and because of their political bias that served as a unifying force for learners and teachers. (The literacy campaigns of each country are described in detail in this paper.) (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Cuba; Literacy Campaigns; Nicaragua
Note: Not available in paper copy due to light and broken type.