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Cuba's Revolutionary Literacy Program

IN PICTURES: Thanks to Fidel Castro's education program, literacy soared from 60 percent in 1959 to 96 percent by the end of 1961.

When Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement overthrew the U.S.-backed dictator President Fulgencio Batista on Jan. 1, 1959, the new revolutionary government inherited a country with a literacy rate as low as 60 percent.

Just two years later, by the end of 1961, dubbed “the year of education,” the nation’s literacy rate had risen to 96 percent, one of the highest in the world.

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A school child attends lessons at the Alfredo Miguel Aguayo Sanchez school in Havana.
A school child attends lessons at the Alfredo Miguel Aguayo Sanchez school in Havana. Photo:Reuters
"Dad, enroll me in my neighborhood school," reads this promotional poster.
"Dad, enroll me in my neighborhood school," reads this promotional poster.
Cuban students salute the flag and sing the national anthem, September 5, 2011.
Cuban students salute the flag and sing the national anthem, September 5, 2011. Photo:EFE
"Study! Enroll in a technical course," encourages this educational poster.
"Study! Enroll in a technical course," encourages this educational poster.
"Studying promotes the revolution. The revolution has in the youth its greatest hopes and trust for the future."
"Studying promotes the revolution. The revolution has in the youth its greatest hopes and trust for the future." Photo:Tumblr
Poster promoting education advises "the child who does not study is left behind."
Poster promoting education advises "the child who does not study is left behind." Photo:Tumblr
Cuban students in a classroom on the first day of school in Havana.
Cuban students in a classroom on the first day of school in Havana. Photo:EFE
Poster reads "Education: A Weapon Against the Enemy."
Poster reads "Education: A Weapon Against the Enemy." Photo:Tumblr
This poster was part of a campaign to raise the educational level of the adult population to a 6th grade standard.
This poster was part of a campaign to raise the educational level of the adult population to a 6th grade standard. Photo:Tumblr
Published 8 September 2016
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