The Politics of Nonformal Education in Latin America

By Carlos Alberto Torres | Go to book overview

5
ADULT EDUCATION AND THE TRANSITION TO SOCIALISM IN CUBA, NICARAGUA, AND GRENADA

This chapter offers an overview of the educational situation of three revolutionary and socialist-oriented nations in Latin America, with special focus on the state and adult education reform. Almost 30 years after the first socialist experience in the area, it is appropriate to review the changes in the adult educational systems in some socialist-inspired transitional projects that have taken place in the region. The analysis will focus especially on Cuba and Nicaragua, although some insights into the Grenadan experience will be offered.

Several questions can be advanced at the outset: (1) How can these experiences be understood in the context of the current discussion about the relationship between socioeconomic and educational changes and the state? (2) What were the major modifications made in the educational system in general, and in adult education, particularly, in the socialist experiences? (3) Why were the literacy campaigns in socialist countries considered so successful in contrast with many of those carried out in other Latin American nations? (4) What factors have undermined the educational reform in socialist-oriented nations? (5) What seem to be the main differences between adult education systems in capitalist and noncapitalist Latin American countries when issues such as democracy, political participation, and social mobilization are taken into account?

The chapter is divided into four main parts and a postscript. The first part briefly describes the main features of the socioeconomic and educational situation in dependent Latin America, in order to provide a context for the discussion. The second part analyzes educational reform processes in Cuba, Grenada, and Nicaragua. For a better understanding of these changes, a comparison between the prerevolutionary and postrevolutionary situations is made using available data. The third part analyzes changes and contradictions in the three nations. The fourth part, focusing both on the achievements and on the prob-

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