Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bolivia Hits Literacy Milestone


Dec 14 - (digitalwarriormedia) Bolivia is winning its battle against illiteracy.

On December 13, President Morales declared Bolivia free of illiteracy during a celebration in Riberalta that recognized Beni as the ninth, and final, Bolivian department to complete a nation-wide literacy program.

With this success, Bolivia joins Cuba and Venezuela as the third Latin American territory to be free from illiteracy. Morales thanked the Cuban and Venezuelan governments for their unconditional cooperation.

Bolivia used the “Yo Si Puede” (Yes I Can) literacy program developed by the Cuban government. Cuba sent teachers to Bolivia while Venezuela offered logistical support.

Morales announced a celebration in Cochabamba on December 20 to commemorate the national accomplishment.

The Bolivian government extended invitations to local leaders, social organizations as well as regional and international authorities, including Koichiro Matsuura, director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Jose Miguel Insulza will attend.

Bolivia’s success was recognized on Friday at a meeting of UNESCO’s Non-Aligned Movement group in Paris.

Lorgio Vacca, head of UNESCO in Bolivia, called it “a triumph of the Non-Aligned Movement and an example of South-South cooperation.” Vacca thanked Cuba "for its outstanding contribution and sincere approach to “Yo Si Puede” and Venezuela’s logistical support for literacy in Bolivia.


UNESCO leads the Education for All program and the UN’s Literacy Decade. Literacy is also one of the Millenium Development Goals. According to UN criteria, if more than 96 percent of the population over 15 years can read and write, a country can be declared free of illiteracy.

When the project started in March 2006, 1.2 million Bolivians were illiterate. Under the program access to education was guaranteed to every adult aged over 15, who could learn literacy in both Spanish and in their indigenous language.

Two and a half years later, more than 800,000 Bolivians have received their certificate of completion, or 99.5% of those expected to complete the program. Of that number, 30,300 were literacy graduates in their indigenous language.

The literacy project will continue, with the cooperation of Cuba, until next year. The program has been implemented in other countries around the world such as Haiti, Mexico, Mozambique, New Zealand, Nicaragua and Nigeria, among others.

"Cuba does not come to the country to take over thousands of hectares of land, to take over oil fields, or privatize state enterprises,” said Morales, “just to come and help us to realize the eradication of illiteracy."

Sources: ABI, Telesur,

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