When Sandanista guerrillas deposed rightist dictator General Anastasio Somoza last year after a civil war, half the country's adolescent and adult population was illiterate.
CU Literacy Campaign badge on teacher PULL OUT TO Teacher examining books in class (3 shots)
SV Teacher with pupils learning to read (5 shots)
CU Literacy campaign posters (2 shots)
GV PAN FROM Market street TO INTERIOR Shop with staff learning from books
SV AND CU INTERIOR Staff being taught by young student volunteers (4 shots)
GV Flags PULL BACK GV Of people chanting in street
SV Young person holding large model pencil PULL BACK To display with banners
SV Crowd watching parade in support of literacy campaign led by bands and CU Volunteer teachers (4 shots)
GV ZOOM TO CU Literacy Brigade workers signing the Literacy March in Central Square, Massaya
GV Building TILT DOWN TO Sandanista Army Staff Commander Carlos Nunez speaking to crowd in Spanish as people listen (2 shots)
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Background: When Sandanista guerrillas deposed rightist dictator General Anastasio Somoza last year after a civil war, half the country's adolescent and adult population was illiterate. To combat the problem, the ruling junta has launched a literacy crusade to bring the written word to hundreds of thousands peasants and workers. The campaign will cost some twenty million dollars and is being partly underwritten by foreign aid funds.
SYNOPSIS: The long and destructive civil war left the country's education system disrupted and many schools destroyed. In February of this year, a teaching brigade of almost 200,000 secondary and university students began fanning out through the countryside to bring reading and writing to 700,000 illiterates.
The teachers have been organised into squadrons and in many cases have moved in with families they will teach.
The vast operation is being supported by a publicity campaign, and the lessons take place wherever and whenever possible.
The donations of money and services are coming from the Netherlands, Peru, Iraq, the Dominican Republic and Sweden. Private and public sectors of other countries are being invited to contribute.
The Massaya parade marked the first success in the crusade.
The volunteer teachers marched to the Seventeenth of October Square. The basic squadrons of thirty boys or girls are organised into larger groupings along para-military lines. The programme, one of the principle domestic success of the new regime, was launched under the co-ordination of Father Fernando Cardenal--a Jesuit priest.
Critics have said the basic literacy campaign will serve only to indoctrinate the people to the politics of the ruling junta. But he plan includes research projects for the volunteers as well as teaching in the country.
Sandanista Army Staff Commander, Carlos Nunez, announced to the crowd that the Masaya area, in only a few months, has freed itself of illiteracy. Although literacy is still in a very basic stage, it will lead to the government's future stage of adult education, aimed at raising the living standards of the masses. The literacy crusade has also been aided by more than 2,000 trained teachers from Cuba.