Before the campaign, the rate of literacy among city dwellers was 11% compared to 41.7% in the countryside.
On December 22nd, 1961, a hundred thousand (100.000) literacy teachers marched to the Plaza de la Revolucion, carrying giant pencils and chanting: “Fidel, Fidel, tell us what else we can do!”
To which Fidel Castro famously replied: “Study, study, study!”
Fidel Castro’s government decided that 1961 would be the ‘year of education’, in an attempt to raise Cuba’s literacy rate, which was round 77% in 1959. The Cuban Literacy Campaign was an eight-month long struggle to eradicate illiteracy during the recovery from the Revolution.
*(Adult literacy rate is the percentage of people ages 15 and above who can both read and write with an understanding of a short simple statement about their everyday life.)