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The Grenada Revolution - Improving adult literacy

When the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) took over political power in 1979, the rate of adult illiteracy was very high. Many of the agricultural workers who were the base support for the former Gairy government could not read or write. The leaders of the Grenada revolution sought to improve literacy levels as one of the strategies of improving the lives of Grenadians.

In order to improve the literacy rate, the PRG established the Center for Popular Education (CPE). The literacy program under the CPE commenced in 1980. The slogan used by the CPE was "each one teach one". This slogan emphasized communal teaching where each literate person would teach another person who was illiterate to learn to read and write. There was the use of volunteer tutors to provide learning to adults.

Source: Grenada Forward Ever

Grenada revolution adult literacy

The National Coordinator for the CPE was sister comrade, Valerie Cornwall (Valerie Ross). The CPE boasted by 1982 that illiteracy was reduced by 20 percent. The CPE also went on to introduce other learning such as Mathematics, politics, and natural sciences.

Notwithstanding, the CPE faced challenges including lack of transportation so that adults could actually attend the classes, lack of teaching materials and equipment to deliver learning and increased politicization of the teaching provided to adults. In some areas of the island, electricity was not available so classes were done using lanterns and candles.

Source: Gender, Power and Household in Revolutionary Grenada by Gail R. Pool and Donna D. Davis (University of New Brunswick)

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