From the earliest months of our glorious 13 Revolution,
People’s Revolutionary Government has stressed the importance of
education to all our people and of putting an end to illiteracy in our
We have placed heavy emphasis on education as a tool
development. In keeping with this emphasis, the Ministry of Education
established many areas for priority action.
From these early months, we have seen some of the
results of this
work—the lowering of school fees, the granting of more scholarships in
first year of People’s Power than the preceding five years put
introduction of a school feeing programme; the beginning of the process
consultation and discussions among teachers of the major problems of
education system, the beginning of work in a new curriculum, the School
All of these areas of activity in education are
directed by one
fundamental principle: that education is the right of all our people,
responsibility of our Revolution and a key to the development of our
Undoubtedly, among all the initiatives and programmes
Ministry of Education, the Centre for Popular Education is one of the
important and fundamental.
The C.P.E. is a critically important programme because
the C.P.E., education which was previously a privilege for a minority
be the right of all our people.
Through the C.P.E. we are beginning the long and
vital, task of providing education for our working people—many of whom
able to receive an adequate education for a multitude of reasons most
relates to poverty and our colonial experience of exploitation.
The Revolution has given high priority to education
clearly understand and recognise that is we are to bring an end to all
serious problems that we face, education must enable us to confront
If we are to end unemployment, poor housing etc., we
will have to
increase our levels of production by working harder, using more
methods of production and using higher forms of technology, and the
of workers is an important dimension in this process.
If we are to defeat disease and poor health conditions,
to understand their causes and conditions.
If we are to over come backwardness and poverty, we
understand the nature of poverty and exploitation.
If we are to overcome superstition, we need to be able
and write, to understand in a scientific way the environment in which
If we are to continue to struggle against our number
enemy—imperialism—we need to understand its nature.
For our own sakes, in our own interests, we need to
the enemy we are fighting. We need to understand the vicious nature of
imperialism so tragically illustrated in the cowardly and murderous
of June 19 .
Our struggle against imperialism and our struggle to
build a new
Grenada, is a struggle on many fronts in which every patriot and
has a role to play.
We have fought and continue to fight for better terms
better prices for our agricultural produce so that our farmers and
workers can enjoy greater benefits. Education is a tool for
Two years after they had removed the tyrant Batista
the revolutionary people of Cuba undertook one of the most heroic
their history—the battle against illiteracy.
In one year, this firm and united people were able to
million thirty-two thousand eight hundred and forty-nine Cubans to read
In other words, sisters and brothers, the youth,
workers and women of Cuba were able, in this short period of time, to
out of every four Cubans to read and write.
This was a massive and democratic task undertaken by
to solve one of the major problems of the people. The Cuban literacy
was a voluntary task enthusiastically executed by free men and women
our of a
deep and patriotic desire to build their country, their revolution and
It was a stirring challenge posed by the Revolution and
by thousands of students and workers. The youngest volunteer teacher in
Cuban literacy campaign was only eight years old and the oldest student
woman of 106 years who had been born and grew up as a slave.
In the process of the literacy campaign, the Cuban
students learnt much more than they taught, the workers received more
gave. It was far more than an educational exercise. It was a profound
process through which the Cuban people began to know themselves.
Students from the cities, by living with the peasants
taught, began to understand (in a manner in which no book could have
them), the meaning of poverty, the meaning of hard work and sacrifice
dignity of honest work.
In Nicaragua since the overthrow of the dictator
Somoza, one of
the immediate objectives of the Sandinista Revolution has been to teach
Nicaraguans to read and write.
One out of every two Nicaraguans cannot read and write,
some parts of Nicaragua there is 90% illiteracy. The military and
sons of Sandino are fighting this battle against illiteracy and have
called their literacy crusade “the awakening of the people”, because
clearly understand that to teach the people to read and to write is to
people from ignorance, superstition and cultural backwardness.
It is to release the creative and revolutionary
potential of the
people so that they can continue to be the authors of their history and
In the past couple of months since the literacy crusade
about one hundred and eight thousand Nicaraguans have been taught to
That—sisters and brothers is the population of our
country. Can we imagine about everything else—the great enthusiasm, the
dedication and the high sacrifices which have made these results
Sisters and brothers of Free Grenada, there are some
differences between the Cuban and Nicaraguan campaign and hours, but
much that we have to learn from their heroic examples.
The unity of action, the determination to succeed, the
revolutionary spirit of voluntary sacrifice are the lessons to be
Only a united and conscious people can more forward.
educated and productive people can build a new and just society. Only a
literate people can create the new man and woman.
In our literacy campaign conducted by the C.P.E., we
over 3,500 learners registered and a volunteer teaching force of almost
We are certain, however, that there are many more
people in our
country who cannot read and write and many more volunteers need to be
These figures are small but significant and in any
event we know
that there are many more people in need of learning how to read and
many more in need of further developing whatever basic abilities in
that they have.
These figures are small in comparison to the massive
the Cuban or Nicaraguan statistics but they are significant.
In Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, we
fortunately do not
have as serious a problem of illiteracy as some of our neighbours in
America or the Caribbean.
But illiteracy does exist in our country and it exists
strata of the population whose role in the process of production is of
importance to the country; the agricultural workers, the manual workers
the driving forces of the production of wealth in our country.
For economic reasons, for moral reasons, for Christian
humanitarian reasons, illiteracy must be eradicated totally from our
This is the challenge with which we are faced.
How can we respond to this historic and fundamental
respond collectively by working with the C.P.E. village coordinator in
area, by encouraging the weekly meetings which will be held between the
technician (the professional teacher who will guide the work of the
Above all, we respond—teachers, students alike—by being
consistent and disciplined in our approach to our work.
To teach a brother or sister to read and write is a
rewarding task, it is a revolutionary duty for those who know to
place their knowledge at the service of those who do not.
By undertaking this task with the discipline,
enthusiasm that it requires, we will succeed. We will succeed not only
teaching our fellow countryman to read and write, but through that
volunteer teachers will also learn a great deal themselves and will
build a deeper spirit of unity, understanding and collective endeavour.
We call on all patriotic and concerned Grenadians,
volunteers and students who have not yet registered, to come forward
part in this programme now.
You can register either by contacting the parish
one of the volunteer teachers in your area, or by contacting the C.P.E.
in Scott Street, St. George’s.
I end by repeating that our country cannot go forward
if there is
a substantial number of our people who cannot read or write. In order
prepare for the kind of society we are trying to build, in order to
greater levels of production, we must aim at, all of us have to be
We all have to raise our levels of consciousness, our
efficiency, our levels of understanding. We cannot build Grenada on the
where three quarters of the people could read and write and the other
We cannot build our country on the basis where half of
can move into higher levels of jobs where you can produce more and the
half cannot. I call, therefore, on all Grenadians to give their maximum
collective wisdom, knowledge, understanding and consciousness.
Let us in unity and by learning together move to build
country to expand our economy and to consolidate our Revolution.
Long live the C.P.E.!
Long live Free Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique!
Forward ever! Backward never!