“Our people intend to fight the great battle against illiteracy, with the ambitious goal of teaching every single inhabitant of the country to read and write in one year.”

–(Fidel Castro in the General Session

of United Nations in 1960)

Before the arrival of Fidel Castro’s socialist government in Cuba in 1959, only the people of elite or middle Urban class had an access to a quality education. The illiteracy rate in the rural areas was estimated at a high 41.7 percent due to the lack of financial and educational resources in those areas. In such a dismal situation, Castro’s government made a radically ambitious promise of removing illiteracy from the country within a year. The resulting efforts of the government aimed at making the education affordable and accessible especially to the people of rural areas. It formulated different schemes under which literate teachers and students were sent to teach uneducated villagers. At the end of its first year, this educational campaign claimed to have made 707, 212 Cubans literate, an astounding accomplishment which even Castro’s harshest critics could not deny.

The literacy rate of Pakistan today, estimated at around 57%, is not very rosy, encouraging either. The government of PTI came to power with similar promises of eradicating illiteracy from the country. However, instead of making education more accessible to all during its first year of governance, PTI has only made it more difficult for the poor to afford education by reducing its educational allocations from 97 to 77 billion in this year’s fiscal budget.