Cuba Helping to Reduce Illiteracy in Panama

Panama, Sep 7 (Prensa Latina) Halving illiteracy in Panama during the last 11 years was thanks to the application of the Cuban method ”Yo si puedo” (Yes, I Can), La Prensa newspaper reported today.

During the demographic census conducted in 2010 by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, about 148,747 illiterates were detected eight years later, representing 5.5 percent of the country’s population. Statistics from the Ministry of Social Development (MIDES) showed in August that the figure is 74,080 illiterate people.

Reaching the current results, the country has implemented since 2007 the Cuban method that through numbers and letters manages to teach adults to read and write, a project that is carrying out with 150 Panamanian volunteers, Freddy Alvarez, head of the group of Cuban collaborators, said.

The program lasts three months and consists of the same number of stages: learn to read and write, transit period, which seeks to level and improve reading and writing; and the third one is post-literacy or schooling, the newspaper stated.

The training is supported with video-classes and each ‘learning environment’ is equipped with a blackboard, a TV set and DVD player, and students receive pencils and notebooks, Alvarez said. MIDES literacy project director Clariza Marciaga said that illiteracy is focused on the western NgÃñbe Bugle region and in the provinces of Panama (capital) and Veraguas (central), although the challenge is to locate each person.

She explained that the current government has redoubled efforts to take the program to prisons, businesses and nursing homes for elderly.

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