In 1997, when renowned Cuban educator Dr. Leonela Ines Relys Diaz arrived in Haiti in order to prepare a group of facilitators for their work in classroom literacy, it would have been difficult to imagine that a few years later Cuba would become, according to Fidel Castro, “the educational capital of the world”.
This feat has been achieved in part because of the extremely successful Cuban literacy method Yo Si Puedo or Yes I Can which has been implemented in 30 nations of the world where eight million people have learned to read and write using it’s methodology according to Dr. Cesar Torres, director of the Latin American and Caribbean Pedagogic Institute, which leads that initiative.
It began in Haiti
According to Cuban educator Dr. Leonela Ines Relys Diaz, in 1999, she went to Haiti to implement, for the first time, a radio broadcast literacy programme. The project was hugely successful.
Two years later, according to Leonela, “in March 2001, Fidel told us about the idea for creating a literacy method linking letters and numbers, based on the fact that many people do not know how to read or write, but do know how to do simple arithmetic. In Haiti, where we did a literacy program by radio, we made some studies and I began to work on a small primer, as the Commander had asked me to.
“A team was created with the participation of the Educational TV Channel, Pueblo y Education Publishing House, the Young Communist Union, the Ministry of Education, and the Latin American and Caribbean Pedagogical Institute.