JIS News

Plans are advanced for the implementation of the second phase of the Cuban Literacy programme ‘Yes I Can’ in St. Mary, aimed at improving the literacy rate in the parish.
The English equivalent of the ‘Yo Si Puedo’ literacy initiative in Cuba, the programme is designed for persons in English-speaking countries, and is part of an on-going educational cooperation agreement between the governments of Cuba and Jamaica.
It was brought to the community of Gayle in western St. Mary in 2009 by Member of Parliament, Robert Montague.
Mr. Montague, who is also State Minister with Responsibility for Local Government, told JIS News that the programme will be expanded to include other communities.
“We have formed partnerships with a number of churches where we have trained nominees from the churches to deliver the programme,” he informed.
He said the training will begin as soon as issues pertaining to the copyright laws were approved by the Cuban government. “We are working through the various issues where that is concerned,” he said, noting that training will be conducted at some 20 church halls and will involve about 400 persons.
Mr. Montague praised the programme, which he said, was well received by the residents of Gayle. “We have had two graduations from the programme,” he said, noting that among the graduates was a 79-year old man, who was able to read and write at the end of the four-month training course.
According to the Local Government State Minister, St. Mary has one of the highest rates of illiteracy in the island. “St. Mary has a 34 per cent rate of illiteracy and the bulk of it is in my constituency, hence the drive to get people literate,” he told JIS News.
In an interview with JIS News, Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency, Yuri Gala Lopez, said his government is more than willing to expand the programme.
He pointed to the success of the initiative in St. Mary, which he said, involved some 13 Cuban facilitators.
According to Ambassador Lopez, ‘Yes I Can’ has been successfully implemented in a number of developing countries where there is need, and there are many examples of its contribution to social improvement.
“I think it is an important (programme). Actually, it was accepted by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) and the country (Cuba) got recognition because of the value of this literacy programme,” he stated.