On 27 November, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, accompanied by the Minister of Education Ms Ena Elsa Velázquez Cobiella, visited the Ciudad Escolar Libertad, a pedagogical and scientific complex located in Marianao in the northwest of Havana. This complex once served as a main military compound before being ceded to the Ministry of Education.
On the grounds, the Director-General visited the "Museo de la Alfabetizacion" the Museum of Literacy, (headquarters for the national literacy campaign), which houses the complete archives of the work to eradicate illiteracy in Cuba. Since the 1970s, as part of South-South collaboration, Cuba began to collaborate with other countries, such as Nicaragua and Angola, to expand their literacy programmes. Recent examples are the "Yo si puedo" and the "Yo si puedo seguir" literacy campaigns.
The Director-General expressed her appreciation to the Minister for the long-standing state policy to give the highest priority to education. She also congratulated the Minister for the fact that Cuba is the only country of the Latin American/Caribbean region that has achieved the goals of Education for All.
Together with the Minister, Irina Bokova also visited the Pedro Domingo Murillo Primary UNESCO Associated School. There are 76 Associated Schools in Cuba, located in all provinces of the country, in urban and rural areas, including those where access is difficult.
Before ending the visit, the Director-General and Minister of Education visited the Universidad de Ciencias Pedagogica Enrique Jose Varona, where the Rector gave a presentation on the university programmes. The Director-General highlighted the importance of the role of teachers in the life of a child and their education, underlining there is no substitute for this.