HAVANA, Cuba (ACN) -- Haitians marked International Literacy Day on Saturday with the graduation of over 900 people who were taught how to read and write with the Cuban program known as “Yes, I Can.” The total number of graduates now surpasses 150,000.
The commemoration of the date, established by UNESCO in 1967, took place in the Haitian departments of Centro and Artibonite, where graduate diplomas were granted to students who concluded the fourth stage of the program, which is being implemented throughout the country, under the guidance of Cuban specialists.
The ceremonies were attended by Ewuard Timoleon, officer with the State Ministry for Literacy; Liliana Garcia, Cuban diplomat in Haiti; as well as representatives from Venezuela, Unasur, and local government authorities.
Although this latest graduation increased the number of students to 50,000, over 3,000 people are still taking the course, which will wind up in late September, the coordinator of the Cuban Literacy Brigade, Francisco Cirilo Mentol, told Granma newspaper.
“There are more than 2,000 classes in all, each with 30 students, and we will not start next course until we finish the current one. We are now preparing for our next course, however, because we expect to graduate 300,000 people in three stages during a four-month course,” said Mentol.
Since the Cuban Literacy program was implemented in Haiti, in August 2010, a total of 150,216 people over 15 years of age have graduated. However, the local illiteracy rate is still calculated at over 50 percent, being one of the highest indicators in Latin America.
Before the strong earthquake took place in the Caribbean nation in 2010, local surveys reported nearly 5 million illiterate persons in Haiti. Although there is no specific data in this regard at present, experts consider that there are 3 million illiterate Haitians in the country.