[TimorLesteStudies] Article on Timor-Leste Literacy Campaign

Bob Boughton bob.boughton at une.edu.au
Tue Dec 21 19:47:56 EST 2010

Bob Boughton (2010) Back to the Future?: 
Timor-Leste, Cuba and the return of the mass 
literacy campaign Literacy and Numeracy Studies, 
Vol 18, No 2. Available electronically at: 
In December 2005, eleven Cuban educational 
advisers arrived in Timor-Leste to begin work on 
a national literacy campaign. Adapting the 
program known in Latin America as Yo, Sí Puedo 
(Yes I Can), the Cubans trained over 400 local 
tutors to run classes in every part of the 
country, using a method they call 'alphanumeric', 
delivered via audiovisual technology. The 
campaign was launched in March 2007, and the 
first classes began in June of that year. By 
September 2010, three years later, over 70,000 
adults, over one fifth of the total illiterate 
population, had successfully completed a thirteen 
week basic literacy course. Drawing on original 
research undertaken in Timor-Leste between 2004 
and 2009, followed by further investigations in 
May 2010 in Havana, Cuba, this paper describes 
the Timor-Leste campaign, locating it within the 
historical commitment of the country's 
independence movement to adult literacy, and the 
broader context of Cuba's international literacy 
Dr. Bob Boughton
Associate Professor, Adult Education & Training
School of Education
University of New England
Armidale NSW 2351, Australia

phone:	+61 2 67732913
email: bob.boughton at une.edu.au

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