Cuba's National Literacy Campaign is subject of second free ASC faculty lecture

(09-04-2008)

The Adams State College Faculty Lecture Series continues at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 17, in Porter Hall (the science building) room 130, with Dr. Mark Abendroth, assistant professor of teacher education, speaking on "Cuba's National Literacy Campaign: A Revolutionary Movement from 1961 to Today."

According to Abendroth it is likely only a few people and events of Cuban history are well known to many US citizens. He said the list likely includes Fidel Castro, Ernest Hemingway, the Bay of Pigs attack in 1961, the missile crisis of 1962, and Elian Gonzalez. "One little-known part of Cuban history is the National Literacy Campaign of 1961," Abendroth said.

The goal of the campaign was to eliminate illiteracy in Cuba within a single year, and the most recent census from 1953 had placed the illiteracy rate at 23.6 percent. The campaign closed schools and called on literate youth with parental permission to teach illiterate families of rural areas how to read and write while living and working with them. Around 100,000 young teachers, a majority female with an average age of 15 to 16, were trained by professional teachers for a week before moving to their temporary new homes. A report by UNESCO claimed that the Campaign brought the illiteracy rate down to 3.9 percent, lower than any other Latin American country at that time.

Abendroth will share photos and testimonies from his interviews and focus groups with nearly 100 participants in Cuba’s National Literacy Campaign.

All talks are free and the public is invited. Complimentary light refreshments will be offered. For further information on the series of lectures, contact Dr. Robert Astalos, assistant professor of physics, at 719-587-7821, or by email: Dr. Astalos.