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News > Latin America

Cuba, Bolivia Invest Most in Education in Latin America

  • Cuban students salute the flag and sing the national anthem, September 5, 2011.

    Cuban students salute the flag and sing the national anthem, September 5, 2011. | Photo: EFE

Published 13 December 2017

Both countries have dedicated monumental percentages of their GDP to education.

Cuba and Bolivia top the list of countries in Latin America that dedicate the highest amount of their GDP to education.


Cuba's Revolutionary Literacy Program

In an award ceremony Wednesday for the country’s top graduates, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera acknowledged the government’s commitment to education.

"No country in Latin America wins (ahead), only Cuba," said Garcia Linera at the ceremony held at the Government Palace. 

Indeed, a report released last month declared the same, with Education Director of Tarija Eudal Tejerina having said, "Education is synonymous with liberation and transformation."

Garcia Linera explained that Bolivia has dedicated 7.5 percent of its GDP to education, while education makes 15 percent of the entire national budget.

He farther recalled how 5000 new schools have been built in recent years.

“When other countries struggle for free university education, here it is guaranteed,” he pressed.

While in other countries, teachers go on strike to demand higher wages, he continued, in Bolivia, they are never underpaid.

"The country has taken off and as education takes off, it improves," declared the vice president, adding that education is the central axis to Bolivia's strength.

Under the government of President Evo Morales, the country's first Indigenous president, illiteracy was reduced from 13.3 percent in 2001 to 2.9 percent in 2016, the lowest rate in Bolivia's history.

Bolivia was declared free from illiteracy in 2008 by the United Nations.

Meanwhile, Cuba, which tops not only Latin America’s list for investing the most in education, was also rated number one in the category by the World Bank between 2009 and 2013.


Bolivia 1st in Education Investment in South America: Report

While the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship resulted in mass illiteracy, with nearly 23.6 percent of people over the age of 15 being illiterate, Granma reports, Cuba’s literacy achievements are now heralded throughout the world. By 2010, its literacy method had been adopted by 28 Latin American, Caribbean, African, European, and Oceania countries.

In a population of around 11 million people, Cuba has more than one million university graduates, a feat it has accomplished despite decades of U.S. economic sanctions.

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