HAVANA._ Since its inception in 2002, nine million people in 30 countries have learned to read and write thanks to the Cuban “Yo Sí Puedo” (Yes, I Can) literacy program.
Developed with the objective of eradicating illiteracy, the program is now delivered in 19 languages, including English and Portuguese as well as native tongues such as Quechua and Aymara.
Yo Sí Puedo also has a Braille version for the visually impaired.
Torres explained that the literacy initiative imparts reading and writing skills that also enhance the students´overall cultural standing. Additionally, it helps them pass on what they have learned to their offspring, promotes environmental protection, and covers their national history and culture.
Given that buying and selling is part of a participant´s daily routine, the program uses links between numbers and letters as a teaching method.
Torres commented that, even though the students are illiterate, they can identify numbers as they use them in their daily life and, on that basis, the link between numbers and letters facilitates the teaching and learning processes.
The expert added that the program comprises 65 video classes which present both student and facilitator with all the knowledge necessary for self-preparation and class delivery.
According to Torres, literacy in itself does not constitute schooling for participants, which is why the third phase teaches them subjects amounting to a 6th Grade level.
All three programs are adapted to the context of the countries in which they are applied, the expert said, adding that economic, social, political and, above all, cultural factors are taken into account; a trait that ultimately defines the identity of the program.
The Yo Sí Puedo literacy method, designed by Leonela Relys (1947 – 2015), has shown that it is possible to make a participant literate in as little as seven weeks.
Due to a predominant political will and financial resourcing as well as the active participation of the beneficiaries, Venezuela stands out regarding the successful implementation of the literacy program.
One million Venezuelans were taught to read and write in 34 domestic ethnic languages in just over five months.
Through the Latin American and Caribbean Pedagogical Institute of Cuba, the Yo Sí Puedo program received the 2006 UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize followed by the 68 Mestres Prize in 2012.Share on FB Share on TT