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The following program is produced by the University of Florida school of journalism and communications under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters and now what happens we can't get people out of primary school age. Do not go to school at all in Latin America and most of those who enter primary school never finish it. So I let the average of the public population Gabacho life is like one year. The University of Florida presents the struggle for education the
sixth in a series of recorded documentary reports on the contemporary revolution in Latin America. Your reporter is the distinguished American journalist and editor of The Christian Science Monitor. When you do you can. Almost all of Latin America believe the key to the future is the proper education of its people. The problem of educating the masses in Latin America is staggering. An estimated 70 million people can neither read nor write. Wow some 20 million children lack school facilities of any kind. And then there is the language barrier no less than half of the people in Peru Ecuador Guatemala and Bolivia cannot be reached by Spanish instruction. Mexico alone lists 100 separate Indian languages. University of Florida sociologist sees the lack of education
as the outstanding social problem plaguing most of Latin America. What you've got to do here is develop. They've got to do is to develop the potentiality of their people. I mean to realize the potentiality tell the people that they've got to give them more education while they can and they can produce produce more and contribute more to that to the society and can not be just a bunch of zero. And yet in the National Society and and economy the only place I can see to start is you know with education in the race to train it's youth led America is handicapped by its population explosion because it is growing fast faster perhaps than other areas of the world that America has and in order to a large proportion of its population under
15 years of age Columbia University's current SR explains the consequences. Now what does this very high rate of natural increase mean to a country to a countries but say to a country's expenditures on education some of the countries have 44 percent of their entire population under 15 years of age. This obviously is a drain particularly when the rate of illiteracy is already high when there aren't enough school rooms there aren't enough school teachers there isn't enough money for school texts. And for all of the things that have to be spent in order to give a child a chance at a successful like. Me I am school children
in a small village not far from Guatemala City. If course of present events is not altered the overwhelming majority of these children. Will never finish primary school and now over half of. Primary school age do not go to school in life and most of those who enter primary never finish it. So that the average schooling all of the public population of Latin America Gabacho laid is only one year of school. That's the average amount ice went to by executive board with less than November up to 5.
Luther Evans when he was director general of the mascot you know graded technical assistance in the field acquiring education as one of the pilot projects in the United Nations aid to Latin America. The first project that we ran away all went far in the secretary. Was a project the run for 10 years which had as its objective writing by the member states and Latin America those of native that are not good teachers. They added what the hand-over look total. Population of primary school age in all of these and Spanish snitch was come out as pretty follow C R E F A O. Now Craig has been going for days 10 years and it has trained I think for practically all
Latin American countries. Some hundreds of experts in fundamental education. Which anyone else goes terminology means education and literacy and better agriculture and better health methods. And community organization for all of the people who haven't gone including the children. This is Radio Center reporter will you know to grow Mollen one summed up for me the need for rural education in this country. This way teach the person to read and write. Yes but more important teach the peasant about better sanitation about better agricultural methods and about a better way of life. This is what Mexico has been attempting to do in its rural school program. The Under Secretary of Cultural Affairs secretary at a
public education of Mexico has been closely associated with popular education here so you are Amalia because to you they don't read for us a typical letter from a teacher in a Mexican rural school. We have not traced it. To date we have a garden with beehives a chicken coop with 28 cheeks planted in the intensive agriculture field with ready for a small field of chili equates with 42 students in the school and 20 doing the night school. Also if God made it that will save to begin school building from the produce fields together with 24 things paid and which we think we will
be able to buy for next to our carpentry tools and increase our farming implements. This goal and the authorities are working to develop effective social action against alcoholism which was becoming a bit of that allowed me to do so. I will be able to write these say as fair of my activities. The work of these people. Teachers vaccinate. It can't organize and fairs together with a few bills they began to build roads being water through the roof. One could perhaps these what kind of a school is these where there is talk of chickens and rabbits vaccinated people of cooking here. So the ABC is
science explained clearly this is a new kind of school a school that functions where life uses the school most many all the functions and responsibilities which social groups by all other agencies it has the unity of life itself. It does not recognize boundaries. There is only one method to open the all and let life and because the ideal to teach reading and writing. But to put it simply to teach how to live. Perhaps the most Herculean task in bringing education to the Latin American masses will be to break the chain of illiteracy which shackles them to the earth. In Brazil in mid 20th century the number of persons over 10 years old who could
neither read nor write was over 50 percent. Brazilians such as the noted journalist and encyclopedia editor and Tony are greatly concerned as you know we had especially in the northern part of Brazil lay before us up to the blank slaves when the law came. After all it came sort of heady suddenly and in a sort of bloodless pleasant way if you might call it. That but at the same time no provision was made to educate those masses and all the misty So part of the people the descendants of slaves of white people all that mass. After the expropriation Richard was of the labor force of the blacks which was a very late yet anyway very necessary but at the same time it came suddenly in the end. So the the problem of educating all those masses suddenly freed was not
solved at the moment the way and economic problems on the way. And this has been postponed and taken very sort of slowly and only after the 1930 revolution. This became a real preoccupation and it is becoming more and more the worry of any anybody who was responsible for Brazil so I do hope that the moment has come for it to really become essential because all the other problems derive from education. Impossible that the country should go on developing as result is now especially from the industrial point of view and even a sort of superior cultural point of view like you can see it in a theater and so on and having at the same time at the basis of this colossal amount of among those masses of people that can't read or write using the most basic cause of illiteracy is poverty. But I realize at the same time that the most basic cause of poverty is literacy. This puts us in a circular situation that is very very difficult to
break. Spencer is a U Nesco advisor whose services were requested by the Peruvian government. He traces the circular route taken by poverty and literacy illiteracy and poverty. Illiteracy comes very simply of course from lack of opportunity. But just think for example of a family living in the mountain areas of Peru. This family and there are thousands and hundreds of thousands like them. This family depends for survival. On the little bit of money food or other saleable items that each child in that family can collect or can bring into the family during the course of the day the mother and father work from dawn to dusk but they cannot provide sufficiently for subsistence maintenance of their family. Therefore each child who is able
to walk I should say because this is about accurate any child above the age of two years becomes an economic asset within the family. And therefore when this child gets to be of school age to send him to school is to deprive the family of a means of economic subsistence a means of having food for that day and consequently since they cannot afford to let him go to school he would thus become an economic liability in the family. He doesn't go to school and of course as he grows up and as he becomes a parent and as he has his children he tends to repeat the same cycle so that illiteracy creates poverty poverty creates illiteracy. There are thousands and thousands of these kinds of illustrations that you could draw from almost every area of Latin America. Puerto Rico broke the cycle. It was done as part of operation.
There was fullness in what I am about to say. These are people who have tried themselves by the bootstraps and by a leadership that believes in human progress and 30 percent of its budget on education as permanent secretary of the superior Council on Education at the University of Puerto Rico. He's my old Rodriguez book knows first hand of the fight to overcome illiteracy. He's one of the most effective arguments one gun use. So the United States it is also funding from the government of the United
States and its people our fellow citizens should be in record. When the United States the Spanish government in Puerto Rico in 1898 we had close to 80 percent elite US by 1940. We had to reduce the need to 31 outfight percent reduction of 11 percent and rate by 1950. We were short in our stride in that decade. You'll see me that I was the ONLY by 6 and 8 percent. It is hard to believe that I see when you have already moved far too late that us. New literacy program started in 1953 it
was a cracked program not dreaming or embellishments. We have to teach reading writing arithmetic and other valuable things. Twenty five thousand every year. We present these goals to revise only the working conditions and all the fact programs. By the end of the past school year after analyzing the figures reported by the superintendent of schools we rate 4 percent. This is the way you and light them live they're here. We have not tried our resources than most of the countries on the got to be an area we do not have to spend money on armies with then 8 on
education in Bogota Colombia a French one Catholic priest teaches peasants how to read and write by radio. He is interviewed by a radio Center report. This is Radio Center Reporter Will Lewis. I interviewed Monsignor Sal sado in the modern office building which houses the offices and studios of oxi own cult. As I sat in the handsomely furnished conference room I found it difficult to imagine that only a few years ago Monsignor cell sado was pioneering education by radio with amateur or ham radio equipment. Today with the studios and equipment that rival any network operation in the United States Msgr. sell Saito sends his radio fine IC lessons in literacy and other subjects from six powerful transmitters both standard and short wave. I asked the French born priest who in recent years was named United Nations man of the year. Why he chose radio as a medium for teaching the rural Colombian how to read and write.
His interpreter a Colombian lawyer for the local Sears Roebuck explained I think that the main point one of the great problem of getting to people in Colombia because there is no concentration country and a process dissemination of ideas. Difficult if done by the radio. But what a great problem is that of solitude because people out in the world many of them. To live in solitude and according to you know because it gives rise to cumulative mistake and the penetration of sometimes far sometimes. Solitude corrected by a small house and much can
be got across by the system. I didn't ask the Father how the Compazine obtained a radio so he might hear the lessons. The program the program. And exam $25. Together.
Booklet explaining that technique and equipment which will help him teach writing. How many radios and listeners does Muncy yourself claim for call to rob. Forty two hundred and fifty people with a number of 609. What are the results of mind seeing yourself say those literacy campaign. How many people does he teach each year to read and write by radio. Reaction which we
all about would be a good number to quote To conclude our program we present some observations by the director of Hispanic American Studies at Stanford University Professor Ronald Hilton made these remarks at the University of Florida's 10th annual conference on the Caribbean the affairs of State and University state and education are intertwined in Latin America in a way which the ordinary American finds scarcely understandable. Now primarily the whole educational problem in Latin America you're dealing with a situation in which there is an elite and a mass illiterates. We talk about the revolution expectations. There is to some extent a revolution in expectations in Latin America not only in the material sense but in the cultural
sense the mass of people admire the elite of literati and would wish to imitate them now. The problem in Latin America is one of power politics to sensually. You cannot separate the educational problem from the problem of the struggle between groups. And one of the power pressure groups in Latin America is the Catholic Church. The church has been fighting a legacy of anti-clerical laws and has been don't gain as much control as possible over education so as to be able to mold the minds of the young to the anti-clericalism of the 19th century is that its legacy in many countries and constitutional provisions against the church entering the field of education. And there's a concerted clerical attempt to have these provisos nullified or disregarded governments sometimes make a deal with the church in order to gain the valuable support of that institution that's in Guatemala president even as this has the church to give villagers
instruction in schools even though it is forbidden by the Constitution and the church rightly or wrongly is fighting the influence to put it very crudely of the influence of Teachers College Columbia University. We hear a good deal about the history of Latin American universities. You should realize of course that if you go back to the early foundations Mexico they were essentially theological universities which were concerned with teaching theology and turning the teaching Catholic dogma. And later they became training places for the elite. And consequently they have stressed the professions of medicine and law as very strange elite because the elite of doctors in Latin America are very numerous elite and only recently have the universities there put barriers on the people stop trying to enter the professional elite by making sure that appropriate entrance
requirements are insisted on. This is a development which I welcome because in America they were training an elite which was not an elite. Now the other school of course is Law School and Latin America has produced an inordinately large number of lawyers who later in life have become national politicians. Them lawyers and give us an example of this. And if you want to study the sources of unrest in that in America I should think you ought to look into it. One could make an excellent analysis of the legal profession in Latin America and what's happened to people who got law degrees in law universities when really the market didn't demand that number of lawyers. Now despite the development I've just described let me American universities are now essentially state institutions.
I might end with some favorable comments. Columbia where you have the Creation they're almost the only really free universities in Latin America and namely the Beatles and this which are developing as a truly independent institution. And if we can derive a situation in which there are truly independent institutions to offset the governments to sions we may be in a very healthy position. But if we end up in a situation in which you have clerical private institutions versus anti-clerical state institutions what the future holds for us. We hope you will join us next week for the first of two programs on the Latin American economy. Thank you. The struggle for education is the sixth in a series of weekly documentary reports
on the contemporary revolution in Latin America. The program is narrated by the distinguished American journalist and editor of The Christian Science Monitor. The series is produced in cooperation with the University of Florida school of enter American studies. You may receive without charge the text of today's program by writing this station interviews with representatives of the United Nations through the courtesy of United Nations radio. This program was prepared and recorded by US radio center school of journalism and communications University of Florida Gainesville under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center and is being distributed by the National Association of educational
broadcasters. This is the Radio Network.
Contemporary revolution in Latin America
Education in Latin America
Producing Organization
University of Florida
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program explores the challenges facing educators in Latin America.
Series Description
A documentary series on problems facing Latin America, including panel discussions at program conclusion. The series is hosted by Erwin Canham, editor at the Christian Science Monitor.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
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Host: Canham, Erwin D. (Erwin Dain), 1904-1982
Interviewee: Senior, Clarence Ollson, 1903-1974
Interviewee: Smith, T. Lynn (Thomas Lynn), 1903-1976
Interviewee: Rodri_guez Bou, Ismael
Producing Organization: University of Florida
Speaker: Lewis, Will
Speaker: Evans, Luther Harris, 1902-1981
Speaker: Castillo Ledo_n, Amalia de, 1898-1986
Speaker: Spencer, William, 1922-2009
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-54-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:09
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Chicago: “Contemporary revolution in Latin America; Education in Latin America,” 1961-10-25, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 27, 2024,
MLA: “Contemporary revolution in Latin America; Education in Latin America.” 1961-10-25. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 27, 2024. <>.
APA: Contemporary revolution in Latin America; Education in Latin America. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from