Bolivia Declared Free of Illiteracy After 1 Year, $37 Million Program

Campaign was carried out with the assistance of teachers and advisers from Venezuela and Cuba.

LA PAZ -- Bolivia spent $36.7 million on its campaign to end illiteracy, Education Minister Roberto Aguilar said Sunday.

The 33-month campaign, which benefited some 827,000 people, will end next Saturday, when Bolivia is declared free of illiteracy, joining Cuba and Venezuela as the only countries in that category.

Under UNESCO standards, a country can be declared free of illiteracy if 96 percent of its population over the age of 15 can read and write.

The literacy campaign was carried out with the assistance of teachers and advisers from Venezuela and Cuba, and President Evo Morales has proposed that neighboring Paraguay work with the two countries to end illiteracy.

Aguilar told state-owned Patria Nueva radio that funding for the campaign came from Venezuela, as well as from the Bolivian central government and cities, while Cuba provided personnel.

The UNESCO representative for the Andean region and Organization of American States Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza plan to take part in the ceremony in the central city of Cochabamba.

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