Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Part I: Educational problems
 Part II: Public education
 Part III: Private education
 Part IV: Special education
 Part V: Educational exchange
 Part VI: Some general consider...
 Part VII: Bibliographical...


The Caribbean : contemporary education
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00100622/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Caribbean : contemporary education
Series Title: Florida. University, Gainesville. Papers delivered at the annual conference on the Caribbean
Physical Description: xx, 290 p. : ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Wilgus, A. Curtis ( Alva Curtis ), 1897-1981
Publisher: University of Florida Press
Place of Publication: Gainesville, FL
Publication Date: 1960
Copyright Date: 1960
Subjects / Keywords: Education -- Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )
Educação (congressos) -- Caribe, ilhas ( e.u.)   ( larpcal )
Éducation -- Histoire -- Congrès -- Antilles -- 20e siècle   ( rvm )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
General Note: "A publication of the School of Inter-American studies, series one, Vol. X."
 Record Information
Source Institution: University Press of Florida
Holding Location: University Press of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 14238495
Classification: lcc - LA476 .W5
System ID: UF00100622:00001

Table of Contents
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
        Page xix
        Page xx
    Part I: Educational problems
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Part II: Public education
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
    Part III: Private education
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
    Part IV: Special education
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
    Part V: Educational exchange
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
    Part VI: Some general considerations
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
    Part VII: Bibliographical sources
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
Full Text






A publication of the
which contains the papers delivered at the tenth conference on the
Caribbean held at the University of Florida, December 3, 4, and 5, 1959.



11r 110 105 100 95 90 85. 80 75 70 65 60

-c ; A i I E

r-Y^ UGUF of


2 0EAN
0 -"f00 0 30 400--___ SO PO MIE rv^- L \ ll_____ ^ ^--- ---+---'-'-U- J'
0 200 400 60 BOO HILOC~tRS ~ ------------- ----------- ~~ f ^ *C-l ^'"

MQ 1 05 IQo 9oo 9_o77 '^**^6 *aocor
I i(Ps
1 5 0- 1 0


0 100 200 oa 300 400 ?0 60 MLES )-c~
I I I I T -
20'00 4;0 60'0 sco KnLOMEIERS 0 BOGOTJ

I to 105 100 939 90 85 so 75 70 6 5 WOT t0"G"UMr

edited by A. Curtis Wilgus


A University of Florida Press Book

L. C. Catalogue Card Number: 51-12532

Copyright, 1960



Printed by


JAMES D. BAKER, Director, Ruston Academy, Havana
ROBERT D. BARTON, Director, Inter-American Department, Institute
of International Education, New York
AMALIA CASTILLO LED6N, Under Secretary of Cultural Affairs, Sec-
retariat of Public Education, Mexico
FRANCISCO S. CESPEDES, Assistant Chief, Division of Education, Pan
American Union, Washington, D. C.
RAUL d'EqA, Assistant Career Planning Officer, U. S. Information
Agency, Washington, D. C.

JAIME DE LA GUARDIA, Rector, University of Panama, Panama
LUTHER H. EVANS, Senior Consultant, The Brookings Institution,
Washington, D. C.
ARTHUR S. FLEMMING, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare,
Washington, D. C.
ESTELLITA HART, Program Specialist, International Division of Edu-
cation, Pan American Union, Washington, D. C.
CHARLES C. HAUCH, Specialist, Comparative Education Western
Hemisphere, U. S. Office of Education, Washington, D. C.
RONALD HILTON, Director, Hispanic American Studies, Stanford
J. K. JAMIESON, President and Director, International Petroleum
Company, Ltd., Coral Gables, Florida
FR. MATHIAS C. KIEMEN, Managing Editor, The Americas, Acad-
emy of American Franciscan History, Washington, D. C.
SOLOMON LIPP, Department of Romance Languages, Boston Univer-

vi The Caribbean
RICHARD M. MORSE, Director, Institute of Caribbean Studies, Uni-
versity of Puerto Rico
PAUL V. MURRAY, President, Mexico City College, Mexico, D. F.
ANDREW C. PRESTON, Commissioner of Education, The Virgin Is-
lands of the United States, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
J. WAYNE REITZ, President, University of Florida
ISMAEL RODRiGUEZ Bou, Permanent Secretary, Superior Council on
Education, University of Puerto Rico

JAIME SAMPER ORTEGA, President, University of the Andes, Bogota,
PAUL E. SMITH, Secretary, Committee on International Relations,
National Education Association of the United States, Washing-
ton, D. C.
HECTOR G. VALENCIA V., Principal, Colegio Americano de Bogota,
A. CURTIS WILGUS, Director, School of Inter-American Studies, Uni-
versity of Florida


IN A WORLD which is demanding constantly increasing levels
of achievement, the educational process is of universal interest.
At our Tenth Annual Conference on the Caribbean in December,
1959, some twenty specialists from this country and the Caribbean
assembled to discuss various aspects of education in the region
immediately south of the United States. Some of the papers pre-
sented and here published are narrative and historical in character;
others employ an analytical approach. Taken together, however,
they constitute a volume which is comprehensive, well-balanced,
and penetrating.
As in the past, we have defined the "Caribbean area" as including
Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, the island repub-
lics, and the semisovereign and colonial areas. The region is one
in which the University of Florida is particularly interested because,
in a geographical sense, our state is virtually a part of it. This
association is reflected in the fact that the University for more than
two generations has attracted students from these countries and
has developed a strong inter-American program.
The 1959 Conference, like previous ones, has enjoyed the cospon-
sorship of a business organization with particular interests in the
Caribbean. This year the International Petroleum Company, Lim-
ited, contributed immeasurably to the success of the Conference
by bringing a number of educators from Colombia and Venezuela
to participate in the meetings. In the publication of this volume
by the University of Florida Press we have had the generous aid
of Mr. Randall Chase of Sanford. We are pleased to acknowl-
edge our appreciation for this dual assistance.
As we look back over a decade of Conferences and their
published proceedings, we are pleased that the School of Inter-
American Studies of the University of Florida has had the opportu-
nity to extend our knowledge of a most important portion of this
J. WAYNE RErIZ, President
University of Florida



Volume I (1951): The Caribbean at Mid-Century

Volume II (1952): The Caribbean: Peoples, Problems, and

Volume III (1953): The Caribbean: Contemporary Trends

Volume IV (1954): The Caribbean: Its Economy

Volume V (1955): The Caribbean: Its Culture

Volume VI (1956): The Caribbean: Its Political Problems

Volume VII (1957):The Caribbean: Contemporary International

Volume VIII (1958): The Caribbean: British, Dutch, French,
United States

Volume IX (1959): The Caribbean: Natural Resources

Volume X (1960): The Caribbean: Contemporary Education

0 0


Map of Caribbean Area . . . .. .Frontispiece

List of Contributors............... v

Foreword J. WAYNE REITZ . . .. . . Vii

A. CURTIS WILGUS.......... Xi


IN THE CARIBBEAN . . . . . 3


POLICIES ..............28


THE CARIBBEAN . .. ... . 51


A TEST CASE .............89


BEAN . . . . . 109



x The Caribbean


IN THE CARIBBEAN . . . . .. .162

12. Jaime de la Guardia: PROBLEMS OF THE MEDICAL CURRIC-


CARIBBEAN . . . .. . 185



STATES ...............219


CARIBBEAN . . . . . 233

19. Amalia Castillo Led6n: THE STRUGGLE FOR LITERACY AND

COLOMBIA . . . . .. . 257

THE CARIBBEAN . . . . . 267

INDEX... ............. ........ 285



IT IS TIMELY and important that the Tenth Annual Conference
on the Caribbean should consider for its general theme the sub-
ject of education. This is not the first time that this subject has been
dealt with by Caribbean Conferences at the University of Florida.
But heretofore the subject of education has been frequently inci-
dental to the general theme under discussion. In this Tenth
Conference the subject of education has been divided into five
general topics: Educational Problems, chiefly embracing illiteracy,
finances, and government relations; Public Education, including
elementary, secondary, and college and university; Private Educa-
tion, involving Catholic schools, Protestant schools, and nondenomi-
national schools; Special Education, in which teacher training,
technical and industrial education, and professional education are
considered; and a fifth and very important subject, Educational
Exchange, which includes teacher exchange, student exchange, and
cultural exchange. A number of other related special topics are
also considered in papers presented by speakers at luncheons and
dinners. At the breakfast meeting, the subject of bibliographical
sources for educational information in the Caribbean was examined.
One important area of discussion was omitted, however. Although
some peripheral phases were discussed by conference participants,
the general relationship of education to libraries in the Caribbean
and the problems of librarians were not included. The difficulty of
obtaining books for libraries likewise was not considered. And in

xii The Caribbean
the general discussions of the education picture of the Caribbean,
library problems in the West Indies Federation and in the Dutch
and French dependencies were omitted. While these subjects can-
not be discussed in detail here, it seems important to examine them
briefly in order to give a better balance to the over-all picture of
Caribbean education.

Fortunately in June, 1959, a study (unpublished) entitled "Librar-
ies of the Caribbean Area" was completed by Miss Enid M. Baa,
Chief of the Bureau of Libraries and Museums, Department of
Education, Virgin Islands of the United States. Miss Baa has played
a leading role among librarians in the Caribbean area in trying to
improve library conditions, and she has cooperated closely with
such organizations as the Caribbean Commission, the Pan American
Union, the Inter-American Bibliographical and Library Association,
the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the Univer-
sity College of the West Indies, and other educational institutions
and organizations with a cultural interest in the area. Miss Baa
also has been the moving spirit in attempting to organize a meeting
of Caribbean librarians to discuss the innumerable ramifications of
the problems facing their libraries.
In her careful compilation made over a period of several years,
Miss Baa has given a brief summary of the government, the popu-
lation, the economy, and the society of a number of independent or
semi-independent political units in the Caribbean area. Many sta-
tistics have been presented in this report, but for our purposes it
is sufficient here to emphasize only the number and relative signifi-
cance of some of the libraries which Miss Baa has surveyed. Inci-
dentally, Miss Baa has also depicted the financial and psychological
problems facing almost all of the libraries and librarians in the
islands of the Caribbean.
Generally speaking, the libraries in the islands, especially in the
British, Dutch, and French islands, have relatively small numbers
of books in proportion to the reading population. The libraries
without exception are understaffed and lack the financial resources
necessary to give them maximum effectiveness. Some of the libraries
listed in Miss Baa's report are government supported, while many
are privately supported. But none is fully effective in the area in

which it serves. The following selected statistics classified by islands
and arranged alphabetically by Miss Baa will give an indication of
some of the problems faced in these countries in educating children
and in providing reading for the general public.
In the British Islands the following statistics have been compiled
by Miss Baa. For Anguilla with a population of approximately
5,000 people there are two libraries, but no data exist on the num-
ber of books they contain. In Antigua with a population of approx-
imately 54,000 there is one library containing 20,000 volumes. In
the Bahamas, a group of twenty or more islands, with an estimated
population of about 116,000 people and a school population of some
38,000 students, there are three libraries, one with 4,000 volumes,
another with some 21,000 volumes, and the third with an unre-
corded number. In the Barbados with a population of some 230,000
people, and with a school population of some 42,000 students, there
is only one public library, the number of volumes not given. In
Dominica with a population of about 65,000 people there is one
library with about 8,000 volumes. In Grenada with some 90,000
people and at least 20,000 elementary school children there is one
library with an uncertain number of books, and it has four branches
where books are stored in closets. Jamaica, with several tributary
islands and a population of a million and a half, is better supplied
than most of the other islands in the British Caribbean. The Cen-
tral Library contains approximately 185,000 volumes; the Jamaica
Library Service has 102 service points and bookmobile service for
schools. There are three other extensive libraries in Jamaica: the
Department of Agriculture library, the library of the University
College of the West Indies, and the library of the Institute of
Jamaica. These libraries are repositories and research centers and
are relatively satisfactorily staffed and supported. Montsarrat with
a population of about 15,000 people has one library of some 6,000
volumes. St. Christopher (St. Kitts) and Nevis have a total popula-
tion of perhaps 50,000 with two libraries, both in St. Kitts, one with
18,500 volumes and the other with an unknown number. St. Lucia
with a population of about 90,000 people and some 18,000 students
has one central library containing approximately 15,000 volumes.
St. Vincent with about 79,000 people and some 19,000 students has
one public library with some 10,250 volumes. Trinidad and Tobago
have a combined population of probably 750,000 people. There
are some 167,000 students enrolled in the schools. All libraries are

xiv The Caribbean
government supported. There are ten important libraries in Trin-
idad with specialized collections, especially in agriculture and law.
The Central Library Service with some 180,000 volumes has sev-
eral branch libraries and a bookmobile service. The Imperial Col-
lege of Tropical Agriculture has its own specialized library, as
does the Caribbean Commission, which however has now, under
the name Caribbean Organization, moved to Puerto Rico. There
is a large and important United States Information Service library
in Port-of-Spain. In the British Virgin Islands with perhaps a total
population of 8,000 people, of which Tortola with some 6,500 is
the largest, there is one small public library.
In the French Caribbean islands, Guadeloupe and its depend-
encies have a total population of about 247,000, of which some
50,000 are pupils. This is an overseas dependency of France. There
are five libraries with a total of possibly fewer than 10,000 volumes.
In Martinique with a total population of perhaps 240,000 there is
a "schoolteacher library" containing some 24,000 volumes. This is
a public reference library available to students, teachers, and the
public. The school population is about 63,000 students.
The Netherlands Antilles, consisting of six major islands, has a
total population of about 187,000 people. There are approximately
175 schools with 44,000 students and 14,000 teachers. The island
of Aruba with some 56,000 people has a public library with about
22,000 volumes. In Curagao with a population of about 121,000 there
are two libraries, one containing about 20,000 volumes and the other
some 46,000 volumes. The remaining Netherlands islands are sup-
plied chiefly by interlibrary service.
Most of the libraries in the British, French, and Dutch areas are
public libraries, although some are government libraries. A num-
ber are supported by churches, and in a few instances there are
Carnegie libraries. In some centers private individuals have private
libraries, so far as the number of books is concerned, larger than
those available to the public. Some of these private libraries are
open to researchers if properly qualified and identified.

Educationally it is unfortunate that libraries in schools, whether
public or private, elementary or secondary, are woefully lacking in
books and periodicals for student-teacher use. These conditions

were called to the attention of the writer and his wife in the sum-
mer of 1956 when they made a survey for the Alcoa Steamship
Company, Inc., of technical and vocational education in certain
Caribbean areas. Although we visited a number of other regions,
we spent several weeks in Trinidad and Jamaica studying schools,
libraries, and research resources. Everywhere we conferred with
scores of individuals connected with the school systems and visited
a large number of schools at all educational levels. We talked with
government officials and businessmen, and we found general dis-
couragement and pessimism sometimes with the educational sys-
tems but more often with the lack of materials for teaching and
especially library references.
In the course of our investigations it occurred to us that the
Alcoa company might make a real gesture of friendship and at
the same time help to improve teaching in many of the schools,
especially in the British Caribbean, if they would send to some
centrally located education or government officials volumes which
might be used in the educational system by being put in the li-
braries of individual schools. As a result of this suggestion the
Alcoa Steamship Company, Inc., sent in the next eighteen months
approximately 75,000 volumes to the British Caribbean for free
distribution to schools and libraries where they were most needed.
These books came from a variety of sources in the United States,
including some publishers' remainders, and consisted of textbooks
and miscellaneous literature of all types. Since these volumes
were printed in English they could be readily used in the British
In both Jamaica and Trinidad we found that the educational
facilities are presently incapable of meeting social, economic, and
especially the technical and vocational needs of the communities.
All the primary and secondary schools in these islands are over-
crowded with students and understaffed with teachers. Besides,
they are inadequately equipped with teaching aids, and insuffi-
ciently supported financially. The morale among some of the over-
worked school administrators is discouragingly low, and they find
it barely possible, and sometimes impossible, to meet satisfactory
educational standards. Although there are plans for the building
of new schools in all areas, the finances are lacking. Many schools
which we visited are still housed in temporary quarters where stu-
dents attend in shifts.

xvi The Caribbean
Jamaica in most respects is educationally better off than Trinidad.
The direction of the educational system has been under competent
Jamaicans in the education department. Moreover, the University
College of the West Indies, functioning under the University of
London aegis, has set high standards for college entrance. This
fact has affected the standards of some schools below college rank.
At the secondary level there is the Kingston Technical School,
which has a well-organized curriculum but is inadequately fi-
nanced. Up-to-date teaching methods are used but the plant lacks
teaching facilities and an adequate staff of teachers.
Trinidad schools do not begin to meet the educational and social
demands of the community. There is a great need for training
skilled laborers, office help, and junior administrators. In both Ja-
maica and Trinidad there are still some individuals both in and
out of the educational system who value a classical education
chiefly for its social prestige. In many schools the curricula are
British in characteristic, and the mind rather than the hand is
educated. Generally the training of teachers and school admin-
istrators in both islands is inadequate. However, some of the old
and well-established private and religious schools do emphasize
this objective.
The lack of adequate library facilities is one of the greatest
handicaps in technical and vocational education, as well as in gen-
eral education in all primary and secondary schools in the British
Caribbean. Most secondary school classes are assigned one library
period each week, but in many of these schools there is no library
worthy of the name. We found in visiting grade schools in both
urban and rural communities, that almost without exception li-
braries were small and in some cases nonexistent. In several
libraries we found volumes that were fifty, sixty, or seventy years
old, chiefly in the literary field. Encyclopedias and yearbooks were
embarrassingly out of date. In many instances we found geogra-
phies and semitechnical volumes published chiefly in the nineteenth
century. There was practically no attempt to make use of the
cheaper United States and British paperbound books available in
the islands. In some instances the children were using so-called
comic books, and pupils in the high schools were using elementary
books chiefly because of their illustrations. In many cases the
library room was open only a few hours each day and the students
were not allowed to take books out of the library. In most instances

the books were not catalogued, probably because it did not seem
necessary due to their small number. Quite often private schools
contained the best libraries; especially was this true in some of
the Catholic schools. In most places there were no public libraries
and even where these existed the students did not appear to be
using them. It was our observation that there were more persons
of student age, especially of secondary school age, using the United
States Information Agency libraries than any of the other local
In cities where there are large schools with more extensive
libraries, these did not seem to be used by the public. Some of
the library materials in the University College of the West Indies,
in the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, and in the Insti-
tute of Jamaica constitute special collections, chiefly for research,
and here it is possible to find scholars from various parts of the
world who have a research interest in the particular area. But so
often, even the scant library facilities of smaller libraries are not
fully used.

On the cultural horizons there are a number of encouraging
projects which may have considerable influence on schools, libraries,
and librarians in the Caribbean. On December 1, 1959, a luncheon
was held in the Whittall Pavilion of the Library of Congress in
Washington to discuss the role of the newly created Bureau of
International Educational Relations established in the State De-
partment in June, 1959. This is headed by Robert H. Thayer with
the title of Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for the Co-
ordination of International Educational and Cultural Relations. By
creating this bureau the State Department recognized the increas-
ing importance of cultural and educational activities in the conduct
of foreign affairs. The Bureau will coordinate the various interna-
tional activities of the government agencies, especially with regard
to the educational and cultural exchange program, and it will have
responsibility for liaison and cooperation with nongovernment or-
ganizations engaged in such activities. Incorporated in the Bureau
are the UNESCO Relations Staff, the International Educational
Exchange Service, the Cultural Planning and Coordination Staff,
the East-West Contact Staff, the Cultural Representations Staff,

xviii The Caribbean
the Secretariat to the United States Advisory Committee on Educa-
tional Exchange, the Advisory Committee on the Arts, and the
Arts and Monument Advisor.* Eventually libraries and schools
in the Caribbean should feel the impact of this significant step.
Recently the American Book Publishers Council, on behalf of
the Pan American Union and with the assistance of the Council
on Library Resources, Inc., undertook the recommending of meas-
ures to be taken at an inter-American level to eliminate barriers
to the flow of publications of books within the hemisphere. A study
of the present status of the book trade in the Americas is being
made by Peter Jennison, a graduate of the Institute of Book Pub-
lishing in New York University, and Mr. William H. Kurth, recently
of the Library of Congress. According to the Library of Congress
Information Bulletin of December 7, 1959, these scholars "will as-
semble information on the present state of the booktrade in the
American republics, identify the obstacles which exist in the form
of import, customs, postal and transportation regulations and con-
ditions; currency control; the copyright, linguistic and bibliographic
situation; and other statutory, administrative, philosophical, politi-
cal and educational factors." This report, it was announced would
be available in February, 1960, through the Pan American Union.
Needless to say, such a project will be of inestimable value to
librarians and teachers, especially in the Caribbean area.
From November 22 to December 2, 1959, at San Juan, Puerto
Rico, the Third Meeting of the Inter-American Cultural Council,
one of the specialized organs of the Council of the Organization
of American States, considered among a number of items on the
agenda the library development of the Pan American Union, the
exchange of publications in the Americas, and a number of other
activities of special interest to libraries and librarians in the Carib-
bean. Besides matters relating to libraries, the conference con-
sidered copyright, the free circulation of books, bibliographies, and
related materials. It was recommended that member states which
do not have national centers for international book exchange should
organize such centers, while those which have these centers should
take the necessary steps to improve their functioning, with special
attention being paid to the problems of current bibliographies and

*Library of Congress, Information Bulletin, XVIII, 49 (December 7, 1959),

materials available for exchange. The Council also continued its
encouragement of library development in the Americas, the prep-
aration of bibliographies, teaching manuals, and other aids, and
the fostering of the teaching of library science, all of which have
been continuing activities of the Columbus Memorial Library of
the Pan American Union. In its recommendations, the Council
kept in mind the need for encouraging librarians to assist in pro-
moting the objectives of the Council stated above, most of which
are of importance in the Caribbean.

In concluding these brief observations, it should be pointed out
that for the first time it begins to appear that education may be
entering upon a period of rapid development, especially in the
British Caribbean, and that this development will be accompanied
and hastened considerably by the improvement in the organiza-
tion and management of libraries in important localities in coopera-
tion with school systems and school officials. Outside aid of an
educational nature is coming to the Caribbean islands, especially
to the West Indies Federation, from British sources, from the United
States, and of course from internal sources. International agencies
such as UNESCO and the Pan American Union, by working closely
with local authorities, are helping to improve library and teaching
materials. As noted above, the Caribbean Organization, formerly
called the Caribbean Commission, has now moved from Kent
House, in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, to San Juan, Puerto Rico. This
undoubtedly will give it a new lease on life, and it should come
increasingly under the influence, especially along educational lines,
of the University of Puerto Rico and other cultural groups in that
The University of Florida's special interest in the Caribbean is
shown by its annual Caribbean Conferences, and by its administra-
tion of the Farmington Plan so far as it deals with the purchase
of publications from certain sections of the Caribbean area. The
University is also cooperating with the Pan American Union, the
University of Texas, the University of California, and the Inter-
American Bibliographical and Library Association, in holding each
year, beginning first at Chinsegut Hill, Florida, in June, 1956, a
"Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials."

xx The Caribbean
The 1959 meeting of this group (the Fourth Seminar) held in
Washington was especially concerned with Caribbean library prob-
lems. It is hoped in this connection that the project suggested by
Miss Baa for the meeting of a number of key librarians occupying
important library positions in the Caribbean area may bear fruit
sometime in the near future. Certainly such a meeting should con-
sider all the ramifications and problems that confront librarians in
this area, especially the acquisition and adequate use of the books
in their libraries.
While many of the objectives mentioned in the previous section
concern more directly the member states of the Organization of
American States, certainly the British, Dutch, and French islands
lying in the heartland of the Western Hemisphere cannot be ex-
cluded. There are many signs pointing to the growing importance
and significance of these European-associated islands of the Carib-
bean. The problems relating to education and libraries are becom-
ing rapidly more acute. No one can examine this volume carefully
without being made fully aware that the ability to read and write
and the facility to obtain reading materials are closely connected
not only with the political life of these areas but also with their
religious, economic, and social affairs.
In all of the countries of the Western Hemisphere, whether com-
pletely independent or not, the people through their governing
organizations are attempting educational operations-bootstrap
which, if all goes as planned, should result, in another generation
at least, in making educational opportunities available to a much
larger majority of people than now enjoy them. Certainly the
papers in this volume are thought-provoking and stimulating, and
taken together they make a valuable contribution to the broad and
important subject of education in the Americas.

School of Inter-American Studies

Part I



Ismael Rodriguez Bou: ILLITERACY, FREEDOM,

THE TITLE of the paper may seem to be a catchall for ver-
balism. It is not intended to be so. It intends to depict the
relationship which exists between the levels of literacy and the
possibilities of life in freedom and the establishment of regimes
of justice (economic, social, political) in our countries.

Ignorance and poverty may be breeding places of dictatorships
of varying types. It is no wonder of our times that in some poverty-
ridden and illiterate countries of Latin America, and in a more
limited sense in the Caribbean area, instability and coups d'6tat by
strong men are too frequently the passwords. Although Commu-
nism has not taken hold, some dictatorships have established them-
selves in the most inhuman and brutal forms that can be conceived
of. Dictatorships in our part of the world are notorious for the
meagerness of their budgets for education and the lavishness of
their expenditures for instruments of war and oppression. A dic-
tator once said this to me when I questioned the decrease in the
budget for education and the increase for the funds for arms: "I
have to take from education to buy arms to defend myself." It
was as simple as that and as detrimental to human justice and
freedom as arms against books can be. On another occasion I
asked the commanding general of a military establishment why
almost all the soldiers were illiterate. His answer was prompt:
"When we want soldiers we go to the rural areas and recruit them.

4 The Caribbean
The more illiterate and unpolished the better. When we order them
to shoot they fire without questioning." Fortunately this dictator-
ship is over by now. Others as brutal are still on the saddle, keeping
illiteracy high and justice either in their pockets or on the tip of
their sabres.
Literacy without meaningful purpose of human betterment, void
of the determination to strengthen and respect the personality of
the individual, deaf to the cravings of the component members
of the community to improve their lot and acquire a decent stand-
ard of living and culture, with a dearth of principles of simple jus-
tice to guarantee the minimum of civil rights to the people, may as
well be counted as another mechanical instrument which gives
those in power new means for further oppression and greater ex-
ploitation of human beings.
We may examine some telling figures on illiteracy and the rela-
tionship between certain forms of government and economic and
social developments in some countries. If you know anything about
the countries concerned you can draw your own conclusions. And
mind you, these are official figures.'"
Country Per Cent
Haiti 90
Dominican Republic 74
Guatemala 72
Honduras 65
Nicaragua 63
El Salvador 61
Venezuela 58
Mexico 54
Colombia 44
Panama 30
Cuba 24
Costa Rica 22
Puerto Rico 13.4
Whenever dictatorship or political instability has characterized
a certain country, now or in years past, illiteracy is markedly high,
economic development is low, education and culture are in the
hands of a selected few, and government is controlled by a socio-
economic elite or, in most cases, by a military clique. Some of the
characteristic effects of these forms of government, whether they
passed away several years ago or recently, or of those still in power,
are the poor way in which educational opportunities are distributed

*Notes to this chapter are on page 19.



and the scant way in which people get a chance to uplift them-
selves. These countries profess to be overwhelmingly Christian,
but Christian philosophy and principles are not the common prac-
tice of some of their governments.
Institutionalized religion should have a more stern look and a
more active role in helping establish Christian justice and ethics
in the practice of government wherever any kind of dictatorship
shows up.
Few things have hurt the relationship between the United States
and Latin America more than the diplomatic warm hand to dicta-
tors and the cold hand to liberals and democratic leaders. Chris-
tians and democrats have here some rethinking to do. These
statements are in some ways an oversimplification of a constella-
tion of operative factors that is extremely complicated and varied.
But the consequences in the wastage of both human and natural
resources, the lack of opportunity for people, the injustice of the
constant violation of civil rights that go with the dictatorial and
oppressive forms of government are such that the apparent over-
simplification is justifiable.
Let me come back to what seems unbelievable in this era of
sputniks and luniks. Eli Ginzberg, in his well-read book on Human
Resources: The Wealth of a Nation, tells us:

World War II threw a searchlight on the deficiencies in the edu-
cational preparation of the young. More than 700,000 young men
were rejected for military service because of illiteracy; another
500,000 illiterates were taken into the armed services. Most of
these were sent to special training units where they were taught
how to read and write before they were permitted to start their
basic military training. The record also shows that another 700,000
who served had had only the barest education. In short, almost
two million men out of the eighteen million who were screened -
one out of every nine were total or borderline illiterates....
Large-scale illiteracy remains a major national deficiency even
when considered solely within the context of our defense prepara-
tions. Although the present manpower needs of the armed services
can be met without dipping into the pool of the poorly educated,
this country would be in a serious plight if war should come. Its
mobilization time will be in terms of hours, possibly minutes, not
years or months as in earlier wars. We would not again be able
to devote time and resources to training illiterates if war came

6 The Caribbean
But there is more to illiteracy than the threat which it represents
to our national security and economic progress. What does it imply
for the quality of life of the individual citizen? How can a man
who is unable to read and write take proper care of his family
and himself, safeguard his health and theirs, keep in contact with
relatives and friends, guide his children in the choices which they
face, and take advantage of the privileges and responsibilities of
Small wonder that the Russians have begun to exploit this social
blight on American democracy by pointing out, among other things,
that we "spend more on migratory birds than on migratory people"
among whom illiteracy is rampant. With illiteracy a major barrier
to progress in both Asia and Africa, the Russians are profiting
greatly from a propaganda effort which stresses their own phenom-
enal progress in its eradication. At the same time they are calling
attention to the shocking number of illiterates still to be found in
the United States. The less prosperous nations cannot conceive
how the wealthy United States, with its long tradition of public
education, has not eliminated the scourge of illiteracy.2
It has been found here in the States that illiteracy affects farm
production and migratory patterns and also slows down technologi-
cal progress. Slums will grow faster than they can be cleared; pro-
duction will suffer. Puerto Rico and Latin America have sensed
these truths. The more mechanized agriculture becomes the greater
the need for better and more specialized training of workers
to be able to do the job and increase production. To the illiterates
goes what is left of employment opportunities. They get the low
wages, the menial tasks. Yet this is the group that has the highest
number of children per family. Family income influences both the
number of children born into these families and their chances of
survival. Children born to mothers in low income families are
more likely to die prematurely than those born to mothers in the
higher income brackets.3
The proportion of children who are born dead is likewise highest
among mothers of the lowest educational attainment. Of children
born to mothers who have had no schooling, 26.2 per cent are born
dead. The percentage of deaths decreases with each advance in
education level down to 18 per cent for mothers who have gone
through the sixth grade or beyond.4
Facts like these lead us to speak of the injustice of governments
keeping people illiterate because they feel it is more important



to spend money on arms and luxuries for a military group than
to spend it on education.
The close relationship between illiteracy and living standards
has been known for years. Dr. L. R. Wilson, with abundant data,
... showed that States which had a high rate of illiteracy among
their adult population also tended to have an unfavorable showing
with respect to the following indices of cultural and living stand-
ards; per capital income, per cent of population filing income tax
returns, mean annual manufacturing wage, savings deposits per
capital, life insurance per capital, mean value per farm or farm prod-
ucts, farms operated by tenants, and retail sales per capital. This
same relationship was found with respect to cost of government
per capital, postal receipts per capital, per capital receipts of places
of amusements, per capital tax paying ability of the States, and
physicians, dentists and nurses per 10,000 population; thus estab-
lishing a clear relationship between educational level and living
On the other hand we have found that when adults' level of
literacy rises, children's absences from school are lowered; when
literacy increases, income increases, and with it school attendance
for a longer period of time also increases. With an increase in
literacy and income, fewer children would be born but more of them
would survive.
On the basis of a study made by the Department of Labor of
the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the year 1953 it was found
that 54 per cent of the heads of family with incomes below $500
a year had never been to school and 42 per cent had had six or
less than six years of schooling. In the groups of heads of family
with annual incomes ranging from $500 to $749, 33 per cent had
never been to school and 59 per cent had had six or less than six
years of schooling.
On the other hand income increased as the years of schooling of
the head of family increased. In the group where families had an
income ranging from $2,000 to $4,999, only 13 per cent of the heads
of family had had no schooling. In those between $5,000 and $7,499,
only 2 per cent had had no schooling. In cases of income of $10,000
and over, all the heads of family had had at least six or more years
of schooling and a high percentage, 57 per cent, had had 12 or
more years of schooling.6
In summary, statistics reveal that with each year of schooling

8 The Caribbean
an individual seems to secure a higher income, to enjoy better
health, and to become a better citizen, with more opportunities to
enjoy a life enriched with cultural and spiritual satisfactions.
Another truism worth mentioning is that under the above-de-
scribed condition other educational and cultural opportunities are
denied the illiterates; they have fewer books, they cannot profit from
newspapers and magazines; they are deprived of radio and televi-
sion (although, in some cases, this may well be an advantage);
civic participation in clubs and societies is inaccessible to them;
travel and vicarious experiences are not within their reach.
Think of these facts in the light of the startling figures hurled
at us by international organizations stating that two-thirds of hu-
manity does not know how to read and write and that in Central
and South America alone there are more than 40 million illiterate
adults. It is also estimated that there are close to 700 million
illiterate adults in the world.' The countries that need most help
don't have the trained teachers, the physical facilities, the equip-
ment, the materials, and the finances to deal with the problem.
Here is a challenge to leaders the world over. In our Caribbean
area there is much to be done, and education must be our most
powerful weapon to be used in wiping out the scourge of illiteracy,
unstable governments, and disgraceful dictatorships.

Now let us turn to developments in Puerto Rico and believe
me there is no boastfulness in what I am about to say. This is an
honest effort to present a picture of a people who have tried to lift
themselves by the bootstraps aided by education and by a leader-
ship that believes in human progress and in spending close to 30
per cent of its functional budget on education.
It is one of the most effective arguments one can use to neutralize
some propaganda against the United States. It is also undeniable
proof of the cooperation and understanding we have had from the
government of the United States and its people, our fellow citizens.
As such, it should be in record. When the United States govern-
ment supplanted the Spanish government in Puerto Rico in 1898
we had close to 80 per cent illiteracy. By 1940 we had reduced
illiteracy to 31.5 per cent. The effort represented a reduction of
11 per cent every decade. By 1950 we were short in our stride.



In that decade we reduced illiteracy only by 6.8 per cent. It is
harder to reduce illiteracy when you have already moved far into
literacy. This happened when we needed more and better trained
people for our industrial development, for the beginning of mechan-
ized agriculture, for expanding commercial activities, and for equip-
ping our potential migrants to the States more effectively.
A new literacy program was started in 1953. It was a crash pro-
gram no trimmings or embellishments. We had to teach reading
and writing, health, arithmetic, and other such valuable things to
at least 25,000 persons every year. We aimed at reducing illiteracy
to 10 per cent by 1960. This goal was later revised due to lack of
trained teachers, student mortality, working conditions, and other ills
that so commonly affect adult programs. But by the end of the
past school year, after analyzing the figures reported by the super-
intendents of schools our illiteracy rate had been reduced to 13.4
per cent. In the meantime, in the school year 1957-58 we had in
our schools 95.7 per cent of the children of elementary school age
(6-12), 84.5 per cent of the children of intermediate school age
(13-15), and 45.9 per cent of children of high school age (16-18).
Some experiences we have had with the literacy program in the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are worth recording.
1. We proved, in our case, through years of experimentation,
that with an average teacher adequately trained in the methodology
and psychology of adult learning, and a modest supply of teaching
materials, a normal adult may learn the rudiments of reading and
writing in 60 two-hour classes. If an adult is left with only this
much knowledge the effort is practically wasted. The adult will go
back to illiteracy in a short time due to lack of use and practice
of their learning. In 180 two-hour classes we have been able to
give adults the equivalent of a third-grade education, thus turning
adults into independent readers.
2. In order to expose adults to 60 two-hour classes plans have
to be made for at least 75 to 80 classes. Absences, family problems,
shifts in hours of work, climatic factors, among others prevent
adults from attending classes regularly. You may have in a given
group people who, out of 60 two-hour classes have attended only
30, 35, 40, 50, but no more. The second-level teacher should know
these shortcomings and start adults where they are in their mastery
of the mechanics and abilities in reading and writing.
3. The more progress you make in a literacy program the more
costly it turns out to be. In the first stages you are likely to have

10 The Caribbean
higher enrollments. In later stages illiterates are in pockets, fewer
per class, resulting in an increase of cost per student.
4. Adults who attend literacy classes during late afternoon or
evening hours bring with them a good number of their children
that cannot be left at home alone. At times, in a room for 20 or
25 adults, you may find eight, ten, or twelve children. If the chil-
dren know how to read and write they may be turned into an
asset by doing certain tutorial work; otherwise, they constitute a
discipline problem.
We tried several ways of dealing with the problem. We provided
reading materials for these children or asked them to bring home-
work to be done while in school with their parents. We recom-
mended that whenever there was a nucleus of four or more
teachers in the same building, assistant teachers be appointed to
take care of the children that accompanied their parents. In this
manner, the problem was to be turned into a profitable learning
situation for the children. Stories, games, poems, movies, and other
forms of entertainment were to be used with these children who
were to gather in an adjoining room. When we succeeded in ob-
taining the services of assistant teachers, the problem of the chil-
dren had taken care of itself and these teachers were used as
recreational leaders for the adult program.
5. For every group of adults we provided at least one recreational
period (two hours) every month. Although teachers were paid
for this time, the adults planned their own recreational activities.
More than one such recreational periods, on their own time, could
be planned if it were so decided by the group. The illiterates
usually are the people that cannot pay for recreation and are most
in need of this type of activities.
6. To decrease the cost of educating scattered adults, a plan of
itinerant teachers was established. A teacher met with small groups
in different areas where only four, five, or six adults were found.
The group met in any home or in any adequate place selected by
the adults. This has been specially helpful in giving women who
cannot leave the home during the evening an opportunity to learn
at any convenient free hour during the day.
7. One important feature of our literacy program was that adults
selected the hour and days of the week best suited for their meet-
ings. The teachers adjusted their programs to the interests and
needs of the adults.
8. No adult education program can be assured of success unless
it has adequate supervision, in-service training of teachers, and
abundant material to work with. Day teachers who work an eve-
ning shift with illiterate adults have practically no time to prepare

materials. They need to be supplied with materials that can be
used wisely, easily, and economically.
9. Any literacy program needs constant evaluation and reorienta-
tion as the composition of each group varies, and as the needs of
the adult change socially, economically, politically in a rapidly
expanding community.
10. A literacy program needs promotion. Illiterate adults are
reluctant to enroll. They are discouraged easily. In its initial stages
we were confronted with school children shouting and making
fun of adults who came to school. In rural areas, particularly, a
lighted school constituted immediately a meeting place for young
people and provided a center for entertainment. This practice led
to constant interruption of classes and subsequently to discourage-
ment of students. We had to resort to organizations such as Boy
Scouts, Police Athletic Leagues, and 4-H Clubs to help keep order
in the surroundings of schoolrooms where illiterate adults met. In
most places the same youth, through Club action, helped solve
the problem of discipline.
11. We found that up to 1952-53 most adult programs and espe-
cially those for illiterates were developed in the urban zone. Teach-
ers did not accept work in rural areas during the evening. The
compensation was the same for urban and rural teachers. Rural
teachers spent anywhere from one-fourth to three-fourths of their
extra pay traveling to the rural centers. At night, transportation
was scarce and costly. We devised three different salary scales.
The three salary scales took care of urban, semirural and rural
teachers. The salaries of those teachers who had to travel farther
were adjusted to take care of more expensive transportation costs.
The teachers of the semirural zone received a little less, but suf-
ficent extra compensation to cover their expenses in transportation;
and the urban zone teachers received no compensation in addition
to their basic extra salaries. In this way, after paying extra costs,
the three groups of teachers came out with more or less the same
basic compensation for their services.
As a result of this simple measure, the program has expanded
in the rural areas, where it is most needed, from a few scattered
schools to a ratio of two-thirds rural schools to one-third urban.
12. Limited experimentation was allowed in the organization of
different modalities which could be used in other areas.
13. Steps were taken to coordinate cooperation from different
agencies which deal with adult education, among others, Agricul-
tural Extension Service, Cooperative Movement, Social Program of
the Department of Agriculture, Community Education, Educational
Program of the Departments of Labor and Health.

12 The Caribbean
14. Provisions have to be made to offer opportunities for formal
education beyond the fourth grade for those who so desire.
Extra school programs of book distribution, newspaper distribu-
tion, establishment of public libraries, bookmobiles, seminars, fo-
rums, and other programs need to be organized for those adults
who do not want any more formal schooling.
15. Free studies, or extramural or extension courses, should be
established with credits for those interested in further instruction.
These have been some of the valuable experiences we have lived
through in our Program of Illiteracy. The constant, objective test
of progress, the re-evaluation of methods, techniques, and pro-
cedures, the evaluation of the constructive educational experience
on adults are what constitutes the difference between a Campaign
- for propaganda purposes and a Program to help people grow.
The spirit with which we deal with our educational programs,
so that children are not deprived of opportunities that may find
them later in life as adult illiterates, is shown in this message of
Governor Mufioz Marin to the Legislature of Puerto Rico:
We have earnestly endeavored to see that talented and ambitious
youth desirous to serve their families and their people be given
the opportunity to develop their abilities to the utmost. We have
gone so far in our efforts that at present very few of them are
deprived of opportunities for advancement due to economic im-
I wish to recommend that pertinent provisions be made so that
the appropriations for scholarships in the different education levels
be enough to meet the needs of all cases. It is a matter of justice
to the individual and of benefit for our country.
I contemplate the enactment of laws which would empower the
Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to draw the amount
of money needed for such purposes from the funds not allotted for
other purposes or, if necessary, from emergency funds, in case the
annual appropriations for scholarships are all used up and there
are still cases of qualified students pending.8 There can be no greater
emergency than that of providing education for those whom nature
has endowed with power of mind and spirit.9
This is what a poor country has been able to do through educa-
tion and enlightened leadership. We have less natural resources
than most of the countries of the Caribbean area; but we do not
have to spend money on arms, we spend it on education.



For the relevance that it has for activities like this conference,
may I summarize some of the salient points of experiences acquired
by me through direct work with literacy campaigns in various
countries of this part of the world and in my direct contact with
educators of some Asiatic countries. These I have stated before in
other places. I think that as more and more Point IV students are
being brought to the States and to Puerto Rico, these things need
repetition among those who in some measure may help shape
policies of educational agencies of the United States abroad.
1. Literacy campaigns, originally launched to gratify the vanity
of, and serve as good propaganda for those in power, should be
re-evaluated. Well-trained people, responsible public servants,
should see to it that advertising costs do not claim the lion's share
of funds available for stimulating and carrying through educational
programmes. The important contribution is not the declaration of
people as literate as soon as they can read say 40 words but
that these people, through their own efforts and with the help of
educators, are brought to a higher standard of living spiritually,
socially, economically, and culturally.
2. International organizations backing literacy campaigns and
programmes should devote more time, money, and effort and less
publicity, to the development of true pilot projects, with more
emphasis on the development of techniques, methods, materials,
and inexpensive equipment. Let us not abuse fundamental educa-
tion and make it a cover-all term under which inefficiency and
"professional experimentation" can be cloaked.
3. In pilot projects, care should be taken not to overdo the use
of such expressions as "environmental variations," "special circum-
stances," "differences in customs and traditions," "peculiarities of the
region," "nativism," "individual differences," and "regional idiosyn-
crasies," to cover up the lack of long-range planning and lack of
administrative and technical ability. Those of us who have trav-
eled around have seen much day-by-day improvising. Education of
any sort is, and must be, a slow, painstaking enterprise. It requires
plans that are well thought-out, aims that are well established,
procedures that have been well tested. Trial and error or improvi-
sation should not be confused with careful experimentation. The
trial and error method is defensible when no other way of learning
is in sight. But it is expensive, discouraging, and useless when other
sounder and tested principles of learning are well known and


The Caribbean

4. Ways should be found to ensure that those who make use of
international scholarships and fellowships, and are given opportuni-
ties to attend seminars and congresses organized by international
organizations are able to fulfill the moral obligations which such
opportunities imply. Professors and students trained under any of
these plans should be guaranteed participation in the development
of projects at home. I have known cases of professionals trained
abroad in special projects and in university courses who have later
returned home only to find themselves working in fields outside
their line of preparation and, in too many cases, without any
kind of work at all. Such a situation not only causes disillusionment,
but brings about a waste of badly needed talent and human
5. The candidates for scholarships should be selected strictly on
their merits and not on the extent of their social or political influ-
ence. They should follow those courses of study which enable them
to derive the greatest benefit from their stay in the countries to
which they are sent. There are many who seek scholarships who
assume a tourist's attitude and enroll in as few courses as they pos-
sibly can to insure themselves plenty of leisure time. The habitual
scholarship and fellowship seekers should be discouraged.
6. International projects should not be permitted to turn into
experiments for enthroning one school of thought in methods and
techniques. Local positions should be dispensed on the basis of
competence. Politics and patronage should be stamped out. Under-
developed areas, particularly, need more honest professional work
and less political patronage.
7. Local educators in underdeveloped areas should not be made
to feel inferior because of being 'native.' Leaders in these areas
should be given every opportunity to prove their worth and to
develop initiative in different fields, including education.
The natives who are to continue to wrestle with their own prob-
lems should be trained and encouraged to acquire the necessary
practical knowledge. Outside experts, technicians, and advisers
should be used to help train and develop local talent to the maxi-
mum. But outside experts, sooner or later, leave, and the problems
are left to the people of the country. The sooner local leadership
(open-minded and critical of all sorts of influences but not chau-
vinistic) comes into play, the better the chances of success in the
struggle against ignorance, poverty, and disease.
8. On the other hand, care must be exercised to prevent local
leaders of fundamental education from developing a defensive
attitude towards the suggestions and ideas of foreign experts and
educators simply because they come from foreigners. This attitude



makes for in-breeding, which is as dangerous in education as in
9. There is a dangerous malady abroad among many leaders in
fundamental education a certain aversion for, and contempt of
techniques and experimentation. There is the notion that funda-
mental education fares better under empiricism, old devices, and
horse-and-buggy procedures. I have even heard directors of pilot
projects claim that, as underdeveloped countries are today more or
less where the advanced ones were in the sixteenth century, their
problems cannot be faced with twentieth-century knowledge, tech-
niques, and procedures. Thus, according to them, we should be
using sixteenth-century methods today. That is to say, to cure
appendicitis, give the patient a concoction of herbs. This is the
same line of thought of those who say that Indian children should
not be given toys because they don't know how to play with them.
How can we expect an illiterate to know how to read a book if he
never before has had a chance to taste reading? This is an attitude
with which we all have to contend.
10. Too many projects for fighting illiteracy and for putting
fundamental education on wheels are too much concerned with
the spectacular, with show-window psychology. Even when proj-
ects are still in a stage at which they have nothing to show, packs
of visitors throng in on the organizers. The planning suffers, and
time needed for valuable activities has to be given over to taking
care of the visitors. When failure comes, a lot of explaining has to
be done. No matter what explanations are given, faith is gradually
lost in the sponsoring organizations. The spectacular has its place
in this world, I suppose, but I have never seen much room for it
in education. In education what is desirable is that fewer things
be attempted, in a gradual, thorough way, if positive changes in
people's attitudes are sought. True education should account for
changes in attitudes and the development of desires to improve life
and life's ways. These objectives are not accomplished by govern-
ment decrees giving something to people be this something a
building, a road, or a movie projector. They are not accomplished,
either, by making a few films for propaganda about activities that
are yet incipient. In short, the final test is the change accomplished
in the lives of the peoples.
11. The initial enthusiasm in literacy work, in fundamental
education projects and activities, should not misguide people. As
a director of a literacy campaign once put it, 'people may learn a
great deal in 40 days that they readily forget in 40 more days.'
People who have had poor habits of health, diet, living, and enter-
tainment cannot be expected to change their life-long ways of doing

16 The Caribbean
things overnight, on the basis of the enthusiasm of well-wishers.
Allowances should be made, of course, for the fallibility of all
human endeavor. Flaws of the kind that I have spoken about are,
logically, to be expected in projects of fundamental education, and
in literacy campaigns, in which the human element is paramount.
This is especially true in those areas called 'underdeveloped,' where
many of the activities are conducted by personnel which is com-
posed quite frequently of persons who are not technical experts.
Moreover, when these activities are backed by international organi-
zations, the idea seems to gain force that the financial backing is
unlimited. And, consequently, more money is spent than correct
practices can justify. But we should look at these shortcomings in
their true proportions, and remember that experience is being
accumulated from which we can derive model techniques and

More cooperation among the countries of the Caribbean area,
more efficient knowledge of the neighbors' experiences, a wider
distribution of materials, techniques, and know-how which has
proved successful in other places, a deliberate plan as these
annual Conferences have shown of bringing people together to
discuss mutual problems, exchange information, and getting face-
to-face acquaintance with each other, will certainly bring results
in understanding and human well-being which cannot be assessed
in terms of economic costs but rather in the educational, cultural,
and spiritual uplift of the peoples concerned.
Constitutional documents with high-sounding words about free-
dom and democracy and the promise of justice for all are void of
meaning if people are not given a fair chance to shed the blinds
of illiteracy. Illiterates are so devoid of opportunities that they lack
at times understanding of the limitations imposed on them. Free-
dom is easily denied them and economic and social justice may go
begging. We have not learned the lesson that in the human convoy
no ship can move faster than the slowest one. Freedom cannot
acquire meaning unless enjoyed by human beings, and justice may
be only a concept in the statute books unless people come to live
by its precepts. If the Caribbean area keeps on being a sea of
illiteracy, inevitably it will be wanting freedom and justice. Nations
as well as people who have the means and the power to influence



the course of events will do well to help wipe this blight from our
countries, so that the promise of America as a land of freedom and
justice may come nearer to realization. The countries most affected
by the negative consequences of illiteracy should help themselves
so that others may offer a helping hand.

(latest data since 1930)

Country or Year of census (c) Criterion
territory or estimate (E) of literacy Age level

British Honduras
Leeward Islands
Trinidad and Tobago
Windward Islands
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Puerto Rico
United States
Virgin Islands
British Guiana










14 and over
15 and over
5 and over
15 and over
15 and over
15 and over
10 and over
15 and over
15 and over
15 and over
7 and over
15 and over
7 and over
10 and over
10 and over
15 and over
7 and over
15 and over
10 and over
14 and over
15 and over
14 and over

15 and over
15 and over
15 and over
15 and over
10 and over
7 and over
15 and over

15 and over

of illiteracy

Source: UNESCO, World Survey of Education, I (1955), 14-15.

The Caribbean

(that has primary education)

Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Puerto Rico


Source: Moises Poblete Troncoso, "Extension de la Ensefianza Primaria en
America Latina. Proyecto Principal de la Unesco," Cronica de la Unesco, IV
(January, 1958), 3.


1. Percentage of illiteracy 71.7
2. Number of students that attend
school at the different levels (1958) 307,600
3. Population of compulsory school age
enrolled in primary schools (1959) 259,890
3a. Total population of compulsory
school age estimated as to
June 30, 1958 686,738
3b. Population of compulsory school age
not enrolled in school 426,849
Source: Information furnished by the Section of School Statistics, Ministry
of Public Education, Guatemala, Central America (October, 1959).




FOR THE YEARS 1940, 1950, AND 1959

Year of Illiteracy

1940 52
1950 48
1959 40
Source: Pamphlet published by the Direccion General de Alfabetizaci6n y
Educaci6n Extraescolar on the Fifteenth Anniversary of the National Campaign
Against Illiteracy (Mexico, 1959), p. 11.

1. For adequate refinement of these statistics see Table 1. Figures on
Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4 may look contradictory because they are derived from
different sources and different years.
2. Eli Ginsberg, Human Resources: The Wealth of a Nation (New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1958), pp. 54-56.
3. Lydia Jane Roberts and Rosa Luisa Stefani, Patterns of Living in Puerto
Rican Families (Rio Piedras, P. R.: The University of Puerto Rico, 1949),
p. 27.
4. Ibid., p. 27.
5. B. Carroll Reece, "The High Cost of Illiteracy," School Life, XXXIV
(May, 1952), 116.
6. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics,
Study of the Income and Expenses of Puerto Rican Families in 1953 (Unpub-
7. "El analfabetismo en el mundo a mediados del siglo XX," Cronica de la
Unesco, III (December, 1957), 35.
8. This recommendation was turned into law number 64, approved on June
20, 1956.
9. Luis Mufioz Marin, "Address to the Legislature," March 7, 1956.
10. Ismael Rodriguez Bou, "Some Observations on Fundamental Education
Campaigns," Fundamental and Adult Education, V (April, 1953), 88-90. See
also the following works by the same author: En analfabetismo en Puerto Rico
(San Juan, P. R.: Imprenta Venezuela, 1945); Educacion de Adultos (Balti-
more: Waverly Press, 1952); Educacidn de adults: Experiencias y Perspec-
tivas (Address to the Committee for Adult Education, February 27, 1958).



I AM SURE that you do not expect me to present facts and
figures covering the financing of education in all the Caribbean
lands that have become the focus of attention in these admirable
annual Conferences. Facts and figures assembled for statistical
purposes have never been my forte. The broader problems of
financing education, especially as they relate to Mexico, have been
part of my work and training for almost a quarter of a century;
and most especially since 1940 when I became the cofounder, with
Dr. H. L. Cain, of Mexico City College.
Rather than facts and suggestions based on the statistical
approach I shall present a view of some problems which make the
financing of education at all levels a particularly difficult burden
for all the governments of the Caribbean area. Since I have trav-
elled hardly at all outside of Mexico and since my personal experi-
ence in that country has been so intense and so varied I beg your
indulgence to allow me to concentrate my offering in the direction
of Mexican educational development, particularly since the Revolu-
tion of 1910.
At the very outset and before launching into the subject I
should like to make two general observations: One is that I have
never visited any school of any kind anywhere nor talked to any
official of such a school, private or government, who did not tell
me that he needed far more money than he then had at his disposal.
The second is that I belong to an unfortunate group of men, once
considered cultural and educational leaders, who are now known
as hunters of the anterooms of the rich and the powerful, to whom



we must go if modern education, both public and private, must go
on, and its institutions are not to disappear. We are the butt of
jokes at many educational meetings, the target of friendly scorn at
which faculty members, alumni, and students often launch their
sharpest barbs. I have reference to that long-suffering tribe of
Mohicans known as College Presidents!
In preparation for this paper I reviewed several volumes of the
Conference proceedings. I made special note of the fact that educa-
tion, cultural contacts, and religion have been considered at pre-
vious Conferences. Therefore, in sketching in the background of
Mexican educational history I shall take it for granted that the gen-
eral facts of Caribbean history, especially in regard to the points
noted above, are known.
Before turning to Mexico I should like to observe that it seems
that the main burden of educational costs is being met by the
central governments of all the Caribbean entities. The trend toward
centralization set in after independence and became sharply accent-
uated as Church and State came to the parting of the ways,
especially where education was concerned. Today, most of the
countries in the area have federal systems, aided to varying degrees
by municipal and state or department schools, private denomina-
tional and nondenominational institutions, and still other schools
supported by industrial or commercial firms.
It would seem that, with possibly one or two exceptions, no one
country in the foreseeable future can expect to educate its citizens,
both children and adults, through the simple expenditure of federal
government funds alone. There is just not enough money to go
around. As a corollary to this statement and I shall hope to
develop it later in special reference to Mexico I believe that
increased cooperation and collaboration between all elements in
Caribbean society interested in educational progress is by far the
best way to attack the tremendous problems which lie ahead -
from that of simple illiteracy (so important in the area) to that
of advanced technical education (in which it is still in its infancy).

Mexico, as all of us are aware, had great and varied pre-Hispanic
cultures among which were to be found some formal educational
procedures, although it could be said that the priestly class was

22 The Caribbean
usually the most highly trained. The transmission of European
ideas into these cultures helped to give New Spain a name and
fame as the greatest of all Spanish colonies and, perhaps, the
greatest European colony the world has ever seen. We are just
barely beginning to study Mexico's educational and cultural past.
To my knowledge no satisfactory account of this aspect of Mexican
history has yet appeared in any language.
Losses suffered by educational and cultural fundamentals during
the struggle for independence broke up the system worked out by
the Church and State after the coming of the first friars in 1523.
Sharp and disastrous differences between these two social bodies
removed the Church from the scene as the vital force it was and
had been down to 1857. Never again did it regain anything like its
pre-eminent position; nor, for that matter, has private aid to educa-
tion ever been as important in any manner, shape, or form.
After 1867 the Mexican federal government became the domi-
nant factor in education. There developed the tendency to look
toward the capital for guidance and financing; and although some
state and municipal governments made valiant (and often success-
ful) attempts to struggle with local problems, it can be said that
from 1867 to 1911 the central government became more and more
the leader. Catholic church schools and other private institutions
of both a denominational and nondenominational character, were
relatively unimportant in the period as contrasted with the work of
federal, state, and municipal agencies.
The Revolution of 1910 changed many things in Mexico but
education was not given the attention that was its due until approx-
imately 1921. From that time till the present all aspects of educa-
tion have been studied, debated, legislated, and acted upon until
Mexico has become a center of experimentation that has attracted
world-wide attention. Perhaps the best work was done in the
development of rural schools and cultural centers. Still, experi-
menting on a vast scale was done with kindergarten, elementary,
secondary, and preparatory school education; while universities,
normal schools, and technical and vocational centers of all kinds
have been subjected to rigorous analysis and broad criticism. Apart
from all these efforts educators of all lands watched with eager
interest the mass attack on illiteracy undertaken during the presi-
dency of Manuel Avila Camacho (1940-46). Today, I can testify
to the great educational unrest that still grips the country. Old



ideas and new are still locked in combat and we can most surely
expect further change and experiment during the administration
of President Adolfo L6pez Mateos.

How is Mexican education financed today? The vast majority
of students at all levels have their classes paid for by the federal
government. Where state systems and municipal schools exist they
invariably receive some aid from the Secretaria de Educaci6n
Piublica. Such support is mirrored in federal budgets. Here are a
few figures to show the increasing dependence on federal spend-
ing. In 1950, the federal budget allowed 312 million pesos for
education; in 1958, 1,483 millions; in 1959, 1,553 millions. During
this period there was one devaluation (in April, 1954) that should
be taken into consideration in judging the increases between 1950
and the two latter years cited above.
Denominational schools, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, finance
themselves largely through tuition. Some help may be forthcoming
from religious orders or missionary groups outside of Mexico and
there is a trickle of funds that comes in from private individuals
and business corporations.
A number of industries support what are known as "Article 123
schools," but these play a relatively small part in solving educa-
tional problems. There is a strong movement afoot at the moment
to bring pressure to bear on companies that would seem to be
included under the provisions of Article 123, as many Mexicans,
particularly government officials, evidently feel that more slack
could be taken up by such schools than has been the case in the
Nondenominational private schools may be classified as nonprofit
and those run for profit. Among the first are found the "national"
schools that often receive aid from foreign governments, although
it is most probable that the great majority are compelled to live
from the tuition they collect. Schools run for profit must learn to
live on what students pay in tuition and fees or they go out of
business in a hurry!
Figures for the entire country are not easy to secure because the
population growth and industrial expansion are proceeding so
rapidly that schools change almost from day to day; and the same

24 The Caribbean
is generally true of private school enrollments. I believe that the
Federal District, monstrous as it has become, is a good indicator
of such facts. It is probable that there are at present in elementary
schools alone some 750,000 children of whom 100,000 to 125,000
are to be found in nongovernment schools of all kinds. Figures for
secondary education are more difficult to secure, but it is doubtful
that more than 30,000 students are attending at this level; and it is
generally conceded that private schools will account for as much
as 60 per cent of the enrollment in such schools. I can give no figure
for the numbers in preparatory schools outside of those directly
under the National University, but the combined total would not
nearly approach the some 12,000 attributed to that institution
which, with its 30,000 regular university students, must be counted
among the largest schools of higher learning in the world. The
National Polytechnic Institute is another colossus of Mexican edu-
cation, registering some 26,000 students this year.
Although I started by saying that I would not overwhelm you
with facts and figures, I have found it necessary to furnish some,
because they do serve to point up the enormity and complexity
of the problems which face Mexican educators of all types and
most especially the authorities in charge of federal systems. The
eminent Dr. Jaime Torres Bodet, world-famous for his work with
UNESCO, and presently serving his second term as Secretary of
Public Education, just recently presented a long-range plan looking
toward the realistic handling of enrollment at the elementary level.
Here are some of the staggering figures that he announced to the
nation on October 19, 1959, in offering a project to President Adolfo
L6pez Mateos.
In order to make a realistic and concerted attack on the problem
of bringing elementary education to children between the ages
of 6 and 15, the Secretariat plans, over the period of the next 11
years (to 1970) to prepare 68,000 teachers, build 39,265 classrooms,
and spend in all about 4,804 millions of pesos. Printed in the news-
papers, the plan covers approximately four pages and has been
done in an effort to use all that is known about actual conditions
in the country. The statistical approach seems sound, although the
Secretary points out that the new census of 1960 may cause some
changes in present conclusions. Too, his budgetary figures are based
on costs in 1959, and an allowance must be made for an increase
of about 15 per cent each year during the existence of the plan.



It is proposed that additional funds for the expansion be sought
through special taxes or by increasing some already being collected.
Private groups, businesses, and other nongovernmental agencies
and individuals will be asked to come forward and help the gov-
ernment solve the educational problem at the elementary level.
Bank credit will be extended to people who are interested in
opening additional private schools, as the Secretary points out that
an increasingly large segment of Mexican society is able to pay for
educational benefits and that new private schools would help to
relieve the strain on government establishments.
Dr. Torres Bodet indicated that national elementary enrollment
and teachers available were distributed as follows: federal schools,
58,582 teachers, 2,473,559 students (58.83 per cent); state and
municipal schools, 30,513 teachers, 1,595,559 students (30.64 per
cent); private schools, 10,487 teachers, 367,029 students (10.53
per cent). The federal government extends some aid to state and
municipal schools and this aid would be continued under the new
plan. Included in the Secretary's analysis are funds for repairs of
present building, furniture, and supply needs and a new departure
in 1960 to supply elementary school children gratis their most
needed books and supplies.
I have often said that Mexico is a country that has not yet
arrived at the plateau of secondary education. On November 3
of this year Professor Victor Gallo, director of the Instituto Federal
de Capacitaci6n del Magisterio, gave a few figures about secondary
enrollment in the country. They are by no means so complete as
those furnished by Dr. Torres Bodet, but they help to indicate the
magnitude of the problem that must be attacked well before the
11-year plan summarized above comes to a close. Professor Gallo
reported that between 1952 and 1957, the average annual national
enrollment at the secondary level was but 94,000 students out of a
potential that might be estimated at 2.2 millions. Of those enrolled
only 33,591 (or 39.14 per cent) finished the three-year course. (He
did not give specific annual figures and it cannot be said whether
the 33,591 represents figures for one year or an average.) If we
carry our thinking two steps further we can begin to understand
what financial problems Mexico will face in the next decade or
two when elementary school graduates are properly enrolled and
trained and then pass on to secondary and preparatory levels,
eventually to find their way into universities and technological

26 The Caribbean
institutes. All this would be apart from the sums needed to do
better work in rural communities and to develop better the com-
mercial and trade schools that are so badly needed in a country
that finds itself working under the full impact of the industrial
In the face of such problems there are only two views to take:
an optimistic or a pessimistic one. Personally, I cannot help but
feel overpowered at times by the weight of the statistical evidence.
On the other hand, I have confidence that great strides can be
made before the end of the third quarter of the century if certain
additional realistic steps can be taken by the Mexican government
(I consider the Torres Bodet plan one of the best technical studies
I have seen presented in my time in the country). I believe that
the following suggestions are practical and that they would meet
with response from the great mass of the citizens, especially if the
popular President L6pez Mateos would espouse them in one form
or another.
(1) Restudy and recast Article III of the Constitution in order to
win stronger support from parents and others who are responsible
for the education of the children; (2) Find a way to cooperate
closer with Church schools so that they can take on more of the
burden than they are now carrying; (3) Develop a sound and
intelligent campaign to attract the support of private capital and
to gain the backing of what is called in Mexico the banks, the
industries, and commerce; (4) Find ways of removing unnecessary
restrictions from private nondenominational schools of all kinds;
(5) Make it simpler for qualified foreigners who meet Mexican
educational standards to teach in the country, thus making it pos-
sible for national teachers to give better and closer attention to
government schools of all kinds; (6) Continue the studies that are
now being made of curricula at all levels, since it is my conviction
that time, money, effort, and man-power could be saved if a new
system, better attuned to the Mexican genius and with fewer ties
to the European systems, could be developed while the Secretary
and his collaborators are making their gigantic attack on the prob-
lems involved in trying to put elementary education on a democratic
basis at last.



At the beginning of this paper I said that I would not burden
you with too many facts and figures and I have tried to keep my
promise. What you have here and what you have been given repre-
sent what I believe is needed for us to grasp, even in part, what
must be done if one country is to achieve what it wants to do -
bring education at all levels to as many of its citizens as are capable
of profiting from it. For my part I hope to be able to continue to
lend a hand whenever I can to spread the word of the needs of the
peoples of not only the Caribbean area but those of all of Latin
America, of all the world.

Bibliographical Note. I found very helpful the Caribbean Conference papers
edited by A. Curtis Wilgus, especially those for the meetings of 1951, 1953,
1954, and 1956, published by the University of Florida Press. General sum-
maries of Mexican educational history and problems are found in George I.
Sanchez, Mexico: A Revolution by Education (New York, 1936); George F.
Kneller, The Education of the Mexican Nation (New York, 1951); Marjorie
C. Johnston, Education in Mexico (Washington, 1956); Francisco Larroyo,
Historia comparada de la educacidn en Mexico (5a. edici6n, Mexico, 1959).
Statistics on the Torres Bodet plan are from Excelsior, October 28, 1959; those
given by Professor Gallo were printed in Excelsior, November 3, 1959.



POLITICS AND EDUCATION are intertwined in Latin
America in a fashion which the ordinary American scarcely under-
stands. This is conspicuously true in the Caribbean today, and the
researchers of the Hispanic American Report group have constantly
noted the continual interplay between politics and education. It
is impossible to understand one without the other.
Naturally, there is a long historical development behind the
current relationships between the two social systems, the political
and the educational. While little research has been devoted to this
important subject, we should call attention to two chapters (4 and
5) in the recent book Latin American Politics (New York: Crowell,
1959) by Professor William S. Stokes of Claremont Men's College.
A basic Latin American phenomenon is that there is a "minority
of literati" and an "enormous mass of illiterates," to use the expres-
sions of the Brazilian Fernando de Azevedo, and the mass feels a
deep sense of respect for the elite. Despite eloquent praise of the
merits of education, Latin American governments have made and
are making quite inadequate provision for educating masses swelled
by the highest rate of population growth in the world, and the
number of illiterates (but not usually the percentage) is probably
increasing. The basic problem is an unwillingness to spend the
necessary amounts on education and to rely instead on private
schools run as profit-making business enterprises and on the inex-
pensive and ineffective Laubach system of "Each one teach one."
The wealthy elite sees in mass education a threat to its privileges.
As a result, while Costa Rica boasts of a literacy rate of 82 per

cent, 41 per cent of the Mexican population is illiterate, and the
rate is considerably higher in most Middle American countries.
There is an evident correlation between dictatorship and illiteracy.
The countries which in the 1940's devoted the lowest percentage of
their total budget to education were Nicaragua and the Dominican
Republic, with 6.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent, respectively. Because
of pressure from the Catholic Church, coeducation is discouraged,
and even in nominally anticlerical Mexico, Minister of Education
Jose Angel Ceniceros refused to consider a petition asking for
coeducation in the capital. The Church has been fighting a legacy
of anticlerical laws and is bent on gaining as much control as
possible over education so as to be able to mold the minds of the
young. The anticlericalism of the nineteenth century has left its
legacy in many countries in constitutional provisions against the
Church's entering the field of education. There is a concerted cler-
ical attempt to have these provisos nullified or disregarded. Gov-
ernments sometimes make a deal with the Church in order to
gain the valuable support of that institution. Thus in Guatemala,
President Ydigoras Fuentes has permitted the Church to give reli-
gious instruction in schools even though it is forbidden by the
constitution. The traditional schools have cultivated rote memori-
zation, and the followers of Dewey, Claparede, Decroly, Herbart,
Kerschensteiner, and FerriBre have been attacked as dangerous
leftists. Teachers College, Columbia University, has an amazing
influence in Middle America, but it is fought by clerical and
conservative influences.
Only a small percentage of elementary school students go on to
high school, secondary education being largely in the hands of
private entrepreneurs. On the advanced level, some Middle Ameri-
can universities are of ancient foundation, such as Mexico (1551),
Bogota (1580), Caracas (1725), and Havana (1749). However,
these were essentially theological schools in which clerics taught
religion. As Stokes says, "Both professors and students were
required under oath to accept the theory of the divine right of the
Spanish King and such doctrines of the Catholic Church as the
Immaculate Conception" (p. 68). In theory, students were required
to present proofs of limpieza de sangre. Today, the universities still
draw their students primarily from the middle and upper classes,
and it is a curious phenomenon that leftist student leaders seldom
come from the lower classes.


The Caribbean

As a result of the concept of the university as a training place
for the elite, there has been a heavy stress on the professions of
medicine and law. However, only recently has there been some
attempt to restrict admission to these faculties to a reasonable
number of qualified and serious students. The result has been the
existence of a large number of law students who have devoted
themselves to politics rather than to study and who in later life
have been professional politicians rather than professional lawyers;
Cuba provides an excellent example of this.
The participation of students in active political life has been
facilitated by the fact that faculties have traditionally been located
in busy downtown areas. The development of "university cities"
has been in part an attempt to isolate the students from the center
of town and to insulate them from the electrical nature of Latin
American politics. Disturbances in the Instituto Politecnico and the
Universidad Nacional Aut6noma of Mexico City as well as in the
University of Habana would suggest that this policy has been only
partially successful.
Traditionally in Latin countries, the university, unlike the high
school, has not been a private institution. Only recently have seri-
ous attempts been made to create private universities in the image
of American universities; but, with the exception of a few institu-
tions such as the Universidad de los Andes of BogotA, they are
clerically-controlled, and therefore do not constitute independent
institutions in the true sense of the word. The creation of such
universities, notably in Argentina, has revived the clerical issue in
a virulent form. The United States government and United States
business have been actively pushing the development of such insti-
tutions in the belief that the state universities were hotbeds of
Communism; but there is a real danger that, in their eagerness to
fight the Red menace, United States government and business will
get caught in the bitter issue of clericalism versus laicism.
Despite this recent development, the major universities of the
Caribbean and the rest of Latin America are all state institutions.
They do not have boards of trustees in the United States sense of
the expression, and there has been a constant tension between the
governments, which have tried to exercise direct control over the uni-
versities they support, and the universities themselves. The move-
ment in favor of so-called "university autonomy" spread all over
Spanish America following a now historic movement by the stu-

dents at the Argentine University of C6rdoba in 1917. The univer-
sities have tried to protect their "autonomy" by developing as the
basic governing body a university council consisting of representa-
tives of the faculty, the students, and the alumni. The rector or
president is elected for a limited term by this council, sometimes
on the advice of the faculty. The exact formula differs from
country to country and from university to university. In ideal
circumstances, the result is a form of self-government vaguely
reminiscent of that of Oxford and Cambridge; but authoritarian
governments and Middle America has had more than its share
of them seldom hesitate to use force to bring the universities
under their thumb.
We in the United States are prone, quite rightly, to criticize our
educational system; it would be unhealthy if we did not. We may
console ourselves with the fact that serious Latin Americans are
equally critical of theirs. We may call attention to the essays by
Fernando Diez de Medina, Galo Plaza, Justo Pastor Benitez,
Ricardo J. Alfaro, Jorge Basadre, and Bernardo A. Houssay in the
volume Responsible Freedom in the Americas (Garden City: Dou-
bleday, 1955). This symposium brings together the papers presented
at a conference on Latin America held at Columbia University as
part of the bicentennial program in 1954. The first two hundred
pages of this book are devoted to problems of education in Latin

I. Mexico
The educational picture in Mexico can be understood only in
terms of the continuing, albeit muted struggle between leftists and
rightists, between defenders of laicism and clericals. That a few
years ago the latter should have tarred the statue of Benito Juirez
on the Alameda in Mexico City, thus inciting the government to de-
clare the anniversary of his death a national holiday (his birthday
already enjoyed this status) showed that the War of La Reforma
was still going on. Article 3 of the 1917 Constitution, which declared
that education must be socialistic, i.e., anticlerical, became a
shibboleth, especially after the late Narciso Bassols became Min-
ister of Education. He was an angular, uncompromising, honest
leftist, reminiscent of Juirez, and both his personality and his policy
were such as to arouse the wrath of the clericals. They accused

32 The Caribbean
him of being a Communist and of promoting free love in schools.
After Bassols faded from the public scene, Article 3 was revised,
the key word "socialistic" was omitted, and the clericals celebrated
a victory.l* The constitution even now forbids the Church from
engaging in teaching, but the law is blatantly disregarded. In this
and other ways, the constitution is to some extent a dead letter;
there would be quite an upheaval if a new Cardenas appeared and
insisted on the complete observance of the law.
There has long been an explosive agglomeration of students in
Mexico City. University admissions policies are extremely lax, and
thousands of "students" scarcely deserve to be so described. At long
last there is in Latin America a willingness to restrict university
enrollment, but the authorities in Mexico City have scarcely dared
to do so. Instead, the government has built a grandiose University
City on the edge of the capital at the Pedregal in order to siphon
off the students from the center of town. Moreover, the develop-
ment of provincial universities is being encouraged in order to keep
students from flocking to Mexico City and becoming what Maurice
Barres called deracine-s.
The struggle between leftists and rightists in Mexico has given
rise to a curious duality of university institutions. The Universidad
Nacional Aut6noma in Mexico City has traditionally been a rightist
institution, the leftist counterpart being the Instituto Polit6cnico.
In the second city of Mexico, Guadalajara, the dichotomy is even
sharper. The private Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, which
is affiliated with the Universidad Nacional Aut6noma of Mexico
City, is the rightist organization, while the Universidad de Guada-
lajara, the state institution, is commonly known as the "socialist
university."2 The upper classes in Guadalajara are ultraconservative,
and feelings have run high between the two universities, which
have been located across the street from each other. The state of
Jalisco is building a university city for the state institution on the
outskirts of Guadalajara, so that the contenders will at least be
physically separated. A professor of the University of Guadalajara
confessed to me that he was frightened to enter the rival's building,
and street fights between the two student bodies have been frequent.
The latest episode in the struggle between the two systems has been
a campaign accusing the rector (president) of the Universidad
Nacional Aut6noma of Mexico City, Nabor Carrillo, and his admin-
*Notes to this chapter begin on page 46.



istration of misuse of funds. There is widespread suspicion that
these attacks are politically inspired.

II. Central America3
Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala: Since 1944 the Univer-
sity has been completely autonomous. The president is elected by
the deans of the various faculties. No representative of the govern-
ment is a member of the Consejo Superior Universitario. Funds
for the University are fixed by law at 2 per cent of the national
budget. This amount has seldom, however, accrued to the Univer-
sity. However, recently the president, deans, and student delegates
have attended the budget sessions of the national congress, with
the result that the University receives approximately its legitimate
share of the national budget.4
Universidad de El Salvador: The University is autonomous in
that it is completely self-governing. It elects its own president and
selects its own faculty members without governmental interference.
It is supported, however, by funds approved by the national legis-
lature. Each expenditure made by the University is subject to
scrutiny by an accounting unit of the national government. This
unit may reject or may ask for a review of the expenditure. Obvi-
ously, this does not permit complete autonomy for the University.5
Universidad Nacional Aut6noma de Honduras: Since 1957, the
University has been autonomous. The Claustro Pleno (full faculty
council) elects the president, vice-president, general secretary, and
treasurer. The council is made up of these officers, the deans of the
faculties, and faculty and student representatives. No representative
of the national government is on the Claustro Pleno. By law, as in
Guatemala, the University should receive 2 per cent of the national
budget. In practice it almost never receives this sum."
Universidad Nacional de Nicaragua: There were traditionally
two universities in Nicaragua, one in the liberal city of Leon, the
other in the conservative stronghold of Granada. In the 1940's a
university operated in the capital, Managua, but it became a center
of opposition to the Somoza dictatorship. General Somoza, who
belonged to the Liberal party, thereupon closed down both the
universities of Managua and Granada, leaving only that of Le6n.
It was a piece of historic irony that he should have been killed in
his favorite university city of Le6n. The dictator's son attempted to

34 The Caribbean
prove that he was democratic, and on April 27, 1958, he decreed that
the University should be autonomous and entirely self-governing.
Nevertheless, one of the ten members of the governing body, the
Junta Universitaria, is a representative of the Ministry of Public
Education. Furthermore, the University is dependent upon the
National Congress for its funds, although there is, at present, no
evidence of dissatisfaction with the sums provided.7 However, the
students are generally hostile to the Somoza regime, and after
serious clashes with the police in mid-1959 barricaded themselves
in the University. Nicaragua is thus left without a university func-
tioning normally.
Universidad de Costa Rica: Although the University is autono-
mous, elects its own officers, and selects its faculty, one of the
sixteen members of the Consejo Universitario is the Minister of
Public Education. The Asamblea Universitaria, however, is the final
authority, and it consists of the members of the Consejo and of
the faculty and of student delegates. Revenues for the University
are established at 10 per cent of the budget allotted to the Ministry
of Public Education. This portion is specified in the National
Universidad de Panama: In 1943, following the quite ineffective
First Meeting of American Ministers of Education in Panama, the
Panamanian Government renamed the University of Panama the
Inter-American University; but when it became clear that no other
country was interested, the name University of Panama was
restored. Thanks to the energy of the late president, Octavio
M6ndez Pereira, an attractive university city was built outside the
downtown area.
The University is autonomous, although the Minister of Public
Education is one of the fourteen members of the Consejo Ejecutivo.
The other members include the president, the deans of the six fac-
ulties, and one student delegate from each of the faculties. The
Asamblea Universitaria, made up of the Consejo Ejecutivo, all the
faculty members, and two student representatives from each fac-
ulty, elects the president and has the ultimate power in university
affairs. Funds for the University are allocated by the national
legislature and, by law, must be 15 per cent in excess of the Uni-
versity's budget for the previous year. This provision will clearly
have to be altered in the future, but it places the University in an
excellent bargaining position when legislative changes are made.9

I had asked Mr. Herrick to investigate the legal possibility of
establishing private universities in Central American countries. His
interviews elicited the information that there are apparently no
legal restrictions on the founding and operating of such institutions.
However, he was never able to gain a really satisfactory answer to
my queries concerning the fate of the Universidad Libre begun in
Managua in 1946 after the closing of the Universidad Central there.
As nearly as he could determine, it was harassed by problems of
finance and of accreditation. In Costa Rica, a barrier to the effective
functioning of a private university could be the glacial speed with
which the Consejo Superior would act in accrediting such an insti-
tution. Plans are under way now for the founding of a Catholic
university in Guatemala, but they are only beginning. In El Salva-
dor, land has already been given for a university in Santa Ana
with the provision that it be situated there. The University will be
Catholic and may be Jesuit. There is a likelihood that it will call
itself a Central American university, but there is a question as to
how "Central American" it will actually be.

III. The Caribbean Islands
Ever since the days of Marti, Cuban students have been engaged
in a bitter fight against recurrent dictatorships. It was the ABC
student cells which hastened the fall of the dictatorship of Gerardo
Machado, and readers are referred to the Hispanic American Report
for details of the long struggle between Batista and the students,
who finally overthrew the well-armed dictator. In the course of this
crusade, the University of Havana (the others scarcely count)
achieved prestige, autonomy, and some degree of affluence. The
constitution allocates 2/ per cent of the national budget to the
University, and Cuba is one of the few Latin American countries
where professors are paid a substantial rather than a token salary
(admittedly, "full-time professors" are becoming more common in
other countries, but they are still very much of a minority). Gov-
ernment police are forbidden by law to enter the campus of the
University of Havana, and the students have sometimes taken
advantage of this to turn the buildings into an armed citadel. The
government of Fidel Castro represents in large measure the student
groups which fought with fanatical bravery against the armed
might of Batista. Today there seems to be a close understanding

36 The Caribbean
between the government and the University, and the students form
an armed militia pledged to defend the Castro regime. Presumably
a similar situation exists in the much smaller Central University in
Santa Clara and the Oriente University in Santiago. The Catholic
University of Santo Tomas Villanueva, which had shown less
revolutionary zeal, is somewhat out of favor. There was at one
time a tacit understanding between Castro and the Church that
the Church would support his movement and that he would after
his victory restore religious education to schools, but anticlerical
elements in Castro's government prevented him from carrying out
this agreement.
There seems to be a consensus among observers that the curse
of Cuba and of Cuban education has been corrupt politicians. In
a now-historical address given at the Stanford Conference on Latin
America, held on October 9-11, 1959, Herbert L. Matthews
defended the present regime of Fidel Castro (whose shortcomings
he freely recognized) by saying that it had given Cuba its first
honest government. The university group had hoped for reform from
the administrations of Grau San Martin (once a professor) and Prio
Socarras, but both tolerated something approaching gangsterism
in the educational life of the country. It boded ill for the prestige
of education in Cuba that the worst offender should be precisely
the Minister of Education in the last months of Grau's term, Jose
Manuel Aleman, who died leaving millions in real estate in Cuba
and in Miami. When asked how he acquired his wealth, Aleman
reportedly said quite cynically that he had carried it out in suitcases
from the Treasury. Senator Pelayo Cuervo accused the Grau San
Martin administration of having misappropriated $174 million (His-
panic American Report, IV, No. 4, p. 24). It is easy to dismiss Fidel
Castro as a madman, just as from the peace and quiet of the
American scene it was natural to regard Senator Eduardo Chibas,
leader of the Ortodoxo party, as insane when he committed suicide
during a radio speech as a protest against Cuban corruption. For
the Cuban masses, Chibas is a martyr, and his memory has had a
profound influence on the university group and on many who are
now guiding the destinies of Cuba. This is recognized by an impar-
tial observer, S. Walter Washington, who spent two months in
Cuba this summer and who reported on his observations in a paper
entitled "The Political Activities of Latin American Students."10
The Cuban educational system has long suffered from political

corruption from top to bottom. The Statesman's Year-Book for 1959
says quite candidly: "Teachers are political appointees with life-
tenure on full salary whether teaching or not; the rectification of
this is regarded as Cuba's major educational problem." As a result,
Cuba has not received a proper return on its investment in educa-
tion. Education is theoretically compulsory between the ages of
7 and 14 and free, but, as so frequently is the case in Latin America,
this requirement has meant practically nothing. This is proved by
the fact that not only the absolute number but even the percentage
of illiterates has increased. The 1953 census showed that 23.6 per
cent of all those over 10 years of age were illiterate, while the pro-
portion of those between 10 and 14 years was 28.8 per cent.
It is saying a great deal, but Cuba has probably the worst record
of corruption in the Americas. The reason for this is difficult to
ascertain. Certainly the nefarious influence of Miami and Las Vegas
gambling syndicates and the presence of hordes of American tour-
ists for whom the summum bonum is gambling have been catalytic
agents. Incidentally, both of these phenomena have done the
United States immense harm in Middle America, where Russia is
now widely regarded as a more serious, more intelligent, and more
moral country than the United States. This is patent in the cartoons
of Abel Quezada, who has just sketched his way through Russia;
his graphic commentary may be seen in the conservative Mexican
newspaper Excelsior.
In an essay which appeared in the last issue of Cuadernos (39,
November-December, 1959) and which bore the significant title
"La 'agonia' antillana," the Peruvian writer Luis Alberto Sanchez
suggests that Caribbean corruption has deep historical roots: the
absence of an Indian tradition which would give the country some
kind of telluric stability, and the long history of rapacious exploita-
tion of the area and its imported Negroes by white adventurers.
While Sanchez is less than fair to the United States, the United
Fruit Company, and Great Britain, his description of the Caribbean
as an amoral, money-crazy region is not without a considerable
measure of truth; and he points out the deleterious effect this has
had on education.
The author of this paper travelled the whole length of Cuba in
December, 1959, and was struck by the energy with which the
new government is pursuing the development of education.
Armando Hart Davalos, the young Minister of Education, is a

38 The Caribbean
member of Fidel Castro's inner council, and he is making a de-
termined effort to eradicate illiteracy. Throughout the republic,
barracks are being transformed into schools. Manuel Ray, another
young revolutionary leader and one of the most able men in
Cuba, who resigned as Minister of Public Works shortly before
the end of 1959, worked closely with Hart Davalos in the campaign
to bring education to the rural masses. He is now devoting himself
to the creation of a technological college, a small-league MIT, in
what was Campo Columbia, rechristened by the rebels Campo
Libertad, the military stronghold from which Batista and other
dictators terrorized Havana. The executive head of the powerful
Institute Nacional de Reforma Agraria, Antonio Nuifiez Jimenez,
is a professor of geography whose Geography of Cuba, which had
been banned by Batista, is now the textbook in government high
schools. This is but one of the many changes by which it is hoped
to effect a basic reform in the educational system. A new univer-
sity statute is being drawn up by which the students will have
direct participation (co-gobierno) in the administration of the in-
stitution. In general, education is in the hands of young men in
their twenties or thirties. They have rejected the older genera-
tion in toto, accusing it of being corrupt and of having deceived the
Cuban youth which put its trust in them.
Whether the Castro regime, which theoretically at least has
noble puritanical ideals, will be able to erase the leopard's spots
remains to be seen. In this at least we should wish him good luck,
but it is all too likely that human nature will reassert itself again.
The sorry record of Haiti is reflected in the highest illiteracy
rate in the Americas, over 80 per cent. A bill was passed in Sep-
tember, 1958, providing for a five-year campaign to eliminate illit-
eracy, and UNESCO has selected Marbial (a rural region with
a largely illiterate population of 26,000) as the site for a concen-
trated campaign against illiteracy. The success of both projects
is doubtful, since the causes are too deep to permit easy treatment.
They are essentially the poverty of the overcrowded Negro popu-
lation and a peculiar linguistic rivalry. In the constant struggle for
power between the petits blancs (or mulattoes) and Negroes, the
former, with the encouragement of the Catholic clergy, which is
largely French and French-Canadian and which has been conduct-
ing a bitter fight against voodoo and other Negro legacies, have
promoted the use of French in instruction, while the Negroes are

more sympathetic to that incomprehensible linguistic medley
known as creole. The small University of Haiti is largely techni-
cal in character and plays a minor role in the public affairs of the
The situation is better in the Dominican Republic, where a stable
government has at least brought order to community life. The
University of Santo Domingo, which claims to be the oldest in
the Americas (it was founded in 1538), occupies an attractive
campus, but the complete absence of freedom of speech and the
de facto requirement that the present administration be the object
of repeated adulation have made a mockery of the intellectual
life of the island. The Catholic Church is closely associated with
the present dictatorship, so that the state has a monolithic char-
acter with obvious consequences for education.
Education has made great strides in Puerto Rico, and a cause
of serious friction was removed when the United States gave up
in 1949 its attempt to impose English as the language of instruction.
Today practically all instruction is done in Spanish, although on
the university level, especially in the United States-supported Inter-
American University, a small Presbyterian institution in San Ger-
man, English is used by American professors. The University of
Puerto Rico, located at Rio Piedras seven miles from San Juan, is a
significant institution even by United States standards. The island
has been divided by the prolonged dispute between Governor Luis
Mufioz Marin and his former prot6g6, Chancellor of the University
Jaime Benitez. While the reasons for this feud are very complex,
one aspect of it is the prevalence of nationalist, anti-American senti-
ment on the campus, which goes counter to Munioz Marin's pro-
American "Commonwealth" policy. It must be admitted that Be-
nitez himself has not displayed anti-American feelings. Muiioz
Marin has shown that his administration is of quite a different
caliber from other Spanish American governments by scrupulously
refraining from using the means at his command to force Benitez
out of office. One interesting development is that, whereas Gover-
nor Muiioz Marin is deeply concerned with Middle American af-
fairs, University Chancellor Jaime Benitez has an "Athenian" out-
look; nevertheless, he has encouraged the foundation of an Institute
of Caribbean Studies which, under the able direction of Dr. Rich-
ard Morse, and with help from the Ford Foundation and the
Pan American Union, may become a pan-Caribbean center.

40 The Caribbean
The West Indies Federation is a still untried political system,
with Jamaica threatening to withdraw unless it is given representa-
tion proportionate to its population. Be that as it may, Jamaica
is the seat of the University College of the West Indies, still a
small institution, affiliated with London University and founded
in 1949. West Indian political institutions being much more stable
than their Spanish American counterparts, the University has not
felt called on to play a vigorous role in the history of the federa-
tion. Moreover, Jamaica lives in a British framework, almost com-
pletely insulated from the Spanish tradition of violent politics in

IV. Venezuela and Colombia
Venezuela plays a key role in Caribbean politics. Its population
is not large (six millions), but since Miranda, Sim6n Bolivar, and
the other liberators burst onto the Spanish American scene, these
energetic, creative, rough people have made their presence felt
in the Caribbean much more than the far more numerous Colom-
bians (thirteen millions), who lead a proud and withdrawn exist-
ence. Caracas is essentially a Caribbean city, Bogota is not. The
discovery of oil and iron ore has transformed the cowboy country
of Venezuela into the Texas of Latin America. Whether dictatorial
under G6mez and Perez Jimenez or democratic under R6mulo Be-
tancourt, Venezuela is the senior partner in the Caribbean company,
the directors of which make the most quarrelsome American cor-
poration seem like a chorus of angels. R6mulo Betancourt enjoys
enormous prestige among the people of Middle America, and his
friendship with university groups is especially significant in the
formulation of enlightened opinion in the Caribbean.
It is difficult to report fairly on the general state of Venezuelan
education after the Perez Jimenez dictatorship. Like some other
dictators, Perez Jimenez wished to prove that he was a friend of
culture and education by putting up buildings which, while they
may have allowed contractors who belonged to the government
clique to enrich themselves unduly, at least constitute a useful
material asset. Schools were built, and above all an imposing and
modernistic University City replaced crowded and decrepit down-
town buildings as the site of the Universidad Central, which in
size and influence is in a different category from the other univer-

sities in the country. While dictator P6rez Jimenez demanded
credit for the building of the University City, it was in fact the
idea of democratic President R6mulo Betancourt in his 1945-48 ad-
ministration. The Universidad de los Andes at Merida and the
Universidad de Zulia at Maracaibo are small and are located in the
extreme west of the country, far from the center of political gravity.
There are two Catholic universities in Caracas, Andres Bello and
Santa Maria, and they are at present receiving support from busi-
ness elements opposed to the present regime. The Catholic Church,
which has traditionally been very reactionary in Latin America, is
undecided as to which road to follow socially. If in Venezuela the
state universities and the Catholic universities become foci for
rival ideologies, there is the danger of a running feud between
the two types of institutions, a danger which in greater or lesser
degree is present in all of Latin America.
When the Perez Jimenez dictatorship fell, the Universidad Cen-
tral was purged of the faculty members who had served it, and it
became a focus of liberal thought for Caribbean intellectual lead-
ers. It is ironical that in 1954 the University City, then controlled
by the police of Perez Jimenez, was the scene of the Tenth Con-
ference of American States, at which Secretary of State John Foster
Dulles demanded a condemnation of the pro-Communist govern-
ment of Guatemala. The reaction to this event in university circles
probably explains why former Guatemalan President Juan Jose
Arevalo, who was forced into exile by the June, 1954, revolution
of Castillo Armas, which was the sequence to the Caracas confer-
ence, was invited to join the faculty of the Universidad Central,
where he is now a well-established figure. Should he, despite the
efforts of the present Guatemalan government, return to the presi-
dency of his country, it would represent a significant shift in the
balance of power between government and university in the Carib-
Reports from Venezuela suggest that the students of the Univer-
sidad Central are flushed with political victory as are those of the
University of Havana. They played a key role in the bloody events
of 1958, when P6rez Jimenez was ousted in January and when in
July faculty and students said they would take up arms if the
Army carried out its alleged plot to overthrow the new regime.
When R6mulo Betancourt was elected President on December 7
and assumed office peacefully on February 13, 1959, it was con-

42 The Caribbean
sidered a triumph for the University, especially for the students.
The Army lost a corresponding amount of prestige, and another
country added its voice to the clamor from one end of Latin Amer-
ica to the other to free the continent from militarism. The not un-
justified impression that the United States has allied itself with the
military in Latin America against the university groups is a prime
cause of anti-Americanism in Latin America. We must in any case
realize that students are a powerful political force in Caribbean
politics. In an article entitled "Student Politics in Latin America:
The Venezuelan Example," S. Walter Washington suggests that
the faculty of the Central University of Caracas is sometimes cowed
by the students."
Whereas the Betancourt administration has consistently refused
to have dealings with the Communists, who were less coldly treated
by Perez Jimenez, there is no doubt that there are Communists
among the student leaders, who are sharply divided. Just as there
is a struggle to see whether Latin American labor unions will af-
filiate themselves with the Communist-sponsored World Federation
of Trade Unions, with headquarters in Warsaw, or the pro-Western
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, with headquar-
ters in Brussels, so there is a fight to see which organization will
affiliate Latin American student organizations, the Communist-
sponsored International Union of Students, with headquarters in
Prague, or the pro-Western Coordinating Secretariat of National
Student Organizations, with offices in the Dutch city of Leyden.
Three Latin American student unions have affiliated themselves
with the Prague organization those of Venezuela, Bolivia, and
An important event was the Third Latin American Student Con-
gress, held in Caracas September 6-15, 1959. The first two con-
gresses had been held in Montevideo and La Plata. The third
was to have met in Costa Rica, but when that country found itself
unable to meet the expenses involved, Venezuela extended an invi-
tation which was approved by both the Fifth Congress of the Inter-
national Union of Students (Communist), meeting in Peking, and
the Eighth International Conference of Students (pro-Western),
which met in Lima in February. The Latin American students
proposed at Lima that the two international student confederations
be united, but "the Anglo-Saxon majority" (whatever that means)
frustrated the attempt.12

The Caracas Latin American Student Congress attempted to
bring together both factions in a spirit of concord, and the famous
writer R6mulo Gallegos gave the opening address and by implica-
tion the blessing of the Venezuelan government. There immedi-
ately arose a struggle as to what student organization was to rep-
resent each country, and the credentials committee worked long
and hard on this delicate matter. Colombia sent two rival delega-
tions, and it was finally decided to admit both as observers. Cath-
olic universities were looked upon as not being bona fide auton-
omous institutions, and they were invited to send delegates with
voice but no vote, a condition which most Catholic universities
refused to accept. However, the Catholic movement Pax Romana
appointed four observers. Puerto Rico was represented by the
pro-independence Federacion Universitaria Pro-Independencia
(FUPI), which both Mufioz Marin and Jaime Benitez have refused
to recognize. When two of the three delegates returned to Puerto
Rico, the United States customs authorities at the San Juan airport
seized all the printed matter they were carrying (some 40 to 50
lbs.), including some novels by R6mulo Gallegos and resolutions
passed by the congress supporting independence for Puerto Rico
and the "democratization" of the University of Puerto Rico. The
customs men were undoubtedly acting on instructions of the FBI,
with or without the knowledge of Mufioz Marin and Jaime Benitez.
Concepci6n de Gracia, president of the Puerto Rican Independence
Party, immediately pointed out that the act was illegal, since fed-
eral law empowers customs men to search for "pornographic ma-
terial or seditious or political propaganda of a communistic nature."
Concepcion de Gracia is acting as legal representative for the two
students, who have protested to federal authorities.13 This act
would seem to be as gauche as the holding by immigration author-
ities in Ellis Island, a few years ago, of the distinguished Colom-
bian German Arciniegas, now his country's Ambassador in Rome,
an episode which helped to alienate Latin American intellectuals.
Presumably the observers of the U.S. National Student Associa-
tion brought back the same "subversive" printed matter, but there
is no record that it was taken from them.14 Communist China is
wooing Latin America in an attempt to offset the unyielding hostility
of the United States, and Radio Peking broadcast reports on the
conference, giving special attention to the Puerto Rican delegation.
Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay sent no delegates to the Caracas

44 The Caribbean
meeting, and Brazil sent only one; the student movement in Brazil
has few connections with that of Spanish America. The Dominican
Republic and Haiti were represented by organizations of exiled
Despite all the wrangling at the conference, there was one con-
crete result: the establishment at Caracas of a permanent secre-
tariat, composed of the representatives of Venezuela, Cuba,
Uruguay, Honduras, and Ecuador. The office will be financed by
Latin American funds, without any contributions from interna-
tional organizations. This proviso was presumably taken in order
to prevent the secretariat from becoming a tool of either group,
but presumably the struggle between Communists and anti-Com-
munists will go on within the organization, the former having at
present the edge.
In any case, Venezuela is now a focal point for student activities
in Latin America. When the third assembly of the Union of Latin
American Universities met in Buenos Aires September 20-27, im-
mediately after the student meeting in Caracas, the president of
the Central University of Caracas, Dr. Francisco de Venanzi, was
one of the key figures. The tone of this meeting of Latin American
university administrators echoed that of the student meeting in
Caracas with denunciation of dictatorships and of militarism.
The voice of Colombia is not heard clearly in academic matters,
partly because Bogota is still a rather isolated Andean city, and
partly because of the multiplicity of universities there and in other
cities. Until recently, the law did not prevent any institution from
calling itself a university, and the Bogota phone book lists an
array of so-called universities, rather reminiscent of the barber col-
leges in the United States. The official universities have been the
scene of power struggles between Liberals and Conservatives, and
the so-called parity formula by which the two traditional parties
share power has not neutralized the voice of the country and of the
university. One healthy phenomenon has been the development
in traditionally clerical Colombia of truly independent universities,
free from Church dominance; the best-known are the Universidad
de los Andes and the Universidad de Am6rica. The creation of
Catholic universities throughout Latin America may well accentuate
the struggle between rival factions, and they may thus become
a divisive force. It is regrettable that other countries do not, like
Colombia, develop nonsectarian private universities.

V. Conclusion
It is clear from this survey that Latin American universities live
in a tense political atmosphere quite unlike anything in the United
States, and that there is an unending action and reaction between
government and university. The simple consequence is that stu-
dents devote a considerable amount of time to politics. How should
we judge this phenomenon? On the one hand, it is admirable.
The complete apathy and ignorance of the ordinary American stu-
dent regarding political and international affairs contrasts sharply
with the passionate concern of Latin American students and with
the informed attitude of most European students. With their cult
of football, most American students unwittingly follow the obscur-
antist policy of Fernando VII, "pan y toros." Latin American stu-
dents are often right in their idealism and brave in upholding their
beliefs, while their elders willingly come to terms with evil, corrup-
tion, and dictatorship. Bernard Shaw, an author whom I dislike,
was at least partly right when he said: "Every man over forty is
a rogue." This generalization would not apply to those idealistic
professors who have really suffered because of their resistance to
oppressive governments, a Spanish American tradition which goes
back to the fight for independence.15
However, a university is not essentially a place for noble senti-
ments and noble deeds. It is becoming more and more the guard-
ian of professional standards. It alone can and must provide the
atmosphere in which the various disciplines are developed. If it
fails to do this, then the country is left without a system of higher
education. A basic problem in most Latin American countries is
the lack of serious professional standards. All too frequently the
Latin American student thinks that being Latin he is automatically
cultured and that being a student he is ipso facto an intellectual.
Both suppositions are gratuitous. In any field, even in the arts,
training involves a rigorous discipline. Beethoven and Bach did
not simply sit down at the keyboard and strum off brilliant music.
Even though, or perhaps precisely because, they were geniuses,
they worked incredibly hard at their art. If it is true of music,
it is a fortiori so in fields such as medicine and engineering. I see
this problem in the preparation of the Hispanic American Report,
which is extraordinarily exacting work. Latin Americans should
have a running start in this field, but most Latin Americans are

46 The Caribbean
temperamentally disinclined to get down to the business of serious
analysis. Until they realize that they are engaged in the acquisi-
tion of rigorous professional skills, their work remains superficial
and slipshod, even though they are usually bright and pleasant
This suggests the final, critical question. In the underdeveloped
countries of Latin America, where the establishment of professional
standards is essential if these countries are to progress by them-
selves and not merely by external stimulus, what will happen if
the students and indeed the faculty are so distracted that they
are unable to devote themselves wholeheartedly and completely
to their professional fields?16 Instead of advancing, as their peo-
ples all so ardently wish, these countries will fall further and further
behind in the competitive race of the nations. The cult of ill-used
leisure and the constant preoccupation with immediate financial
rewards may have a similar effect in more advanced countries. The
laws of history are harsh. Lex, dura lex.

1. See Molly A. Moore, "Mexican Church-State Relations in the Field of
Education, with Emphasis on the 1946 Reform of Articulo Tercero Constitu-
cional." M.A. Thesis, Hispanic American Studies, Stanford University, 1948.
2. For an account of the quite unsatisfactory state of higher education in
Mexico outside the capital, see George F. Kneller, The Education of the
Mexican Nation (New York: Columbia University Press, 1951).
3. For this information about the present status of Central American univer-
sities, I am indebted to George H. Herrick of Valley College, Van Nuys, Cali-
fornia, who made an on-the-spot survey of this matter in the summer of 1959.
4. Data secured in interviews with Hugo Cerezo Dard6n, chairman of the
Department of Letters and former dean of the Faculty of Humanities, and
with Robert W. Rosenhouse, registrar of the Summer School, June 23, 1959.
5. Data secured in interviews with Irving Lewis, U.S. Embassy Cultural
Attache, June 29, 1959, and with Napole6n Rodriguez Ruiz, acting president,
July 1, 1959.
6. Data secured in interviews with Paul Vinelli, member of the Faculty of
Economic Sciences and former dean, and from Jorge Fidel Dur6n, former presi-
dent of the University, July 3, 1959.
7. Data secured from Mariano Fiallos Gil, president of the University, in an
interview July 7, 1959, from John T. Fotos, visiting instructor of English, July
8, 1959.
8. Data secured in interviews with Rodrigo Facio Brenes, president, July 14,
1959, and with Rafael Alberto Zuiiiiga T., instructor in economics and manager
of the Banco de Costa Rica, July 16, 1959.



9. Data secured in interviews with Bernard Lombardo, dean of the Faculty
of Natural Sciences and Pharmacy, and with Rafael Moscoto, dean of the Fac-
ulty of Philosophy, Letters, and Education, July 20, 1959.
10. Presented at the Seventh National Conference of the U.S. National
Commission for UNESCO (Denver, September 29-October 2, 1959).
11. Foreign Affairs, XXXVII, 3, April 1959.
12. Universidad Central, informative periodical of the University of Caracas,
September 14, 1959.
13. Island Times, San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 25, 1959.
14. The U.S. National Student Association has its headquarters in Philadel-
phia. It was represented at Caracas by Willard Johnson, Vivian Johnson, Isabel
Marcus, and Robert Aragon. The last-named, a staff member of the Association,
is especially interested in Latin America, being of Los Angeles Mexican back-
ground. His brother, Manual Aragon, Jr., is a California student leader, who
shares this intense interest in Latin American student activities. He attended
the Lima meeting of the International Conference of Students. The two plan
to make a survey of Latin American student activities next year; Robert will
cover Middle America, and Manuel, with his headquarters in Montevideo, will
travel through the southern countries.
15. See Luis Alberto Sanchez, "La Universidad y la Democracia," Combate
(San Jose de Costa Rica), No. 6, May-June 1959.
16. The day the author visited the University of Havana campus in Decem-
ber, 1959, all classes had been cancelled unexpectedly because the body of a
student killed by Batista had been found in Santa Clara, and it was being
buried in Havana. Student militia with fixed bayonets stood guard over the
coffin in the main hall of the university, and in the afternoon there was a mass
student procession to the cemetery. A tank which the students had used in
the civil war decorates the central cloister of the university. While the patri-
otism and idealism of the students are admirable, the atmosphere is scarcely
conducive to study. However, it had not been for many years, and at least
student strikes have stopped.

Part II



Francisco S. Cespedes: PUBLIC ELEMENTARY

FIRST, A WORD about the term "Caribbean." This term is
usually associated with tropical islands, palm trees, and pirates;
with rhumba and hurricanes; with sugar, tobacco, and rum. To
most people, the Caribbean consists primarily, if not exclusively,
of the islands of the Caribbean and the ports on the mainland
touched by winter cruises.
For the purposes of this Conference, however, the Caribbean
region includes not only those islands and ports but all the coun-
tries surrounding the Caribbean: Mexico, the five Central Ameri-
can republics, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and the Guianas.
Except for their coastal areas, several of these countries cannot
be rightly considered Caribbean.

I. Background
The Caribbean region, as defined for the purposes of this Con-
ference, is about two-thirds the size of the United States and has
a population of over 80 million. Of these 80 million, however, more
than one-half are accounted for by the populations of Mexico and
Colombia. Except for the Atlantic coast of the latter, they are strictly
non-Caribbean countries.
The region under consideration is extremely varied from every
point of view: geographically, ethnically, economically, culturally,
and politically. It follows that there is also a wide variation in the
educational systems of the region.
In the treatment of the subject of this paper I will group the

52 The Caribbean
countries and territories of the region according to political consid-
erations as follows:
1. The Spanish American republics (from Mexico down to Ven-
ezuela, on the mainland, and the island republics of Cuba and the
Dominican Republic) and the Republic of Haiti.
2. The British group: the West Indies Federation (Barbados,
Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and Windward
Islands), British Guiana, and British Honduras.
3. The French group: French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and Mar-
4. The Dutch group: the Netherlands Antilles and Surinam or
Dutch Guiana.
5. The United States group: the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
and the Virgin Islands of the United States.
This grouping fits the varied historical background of the region
and, broadly speaking, corresponds to the main ethnical, political,
cultural, and educational patterns to be found in the area. I say
broadly speaking because the above classification does not hold
in all cases. Puerto Rico, for instance, could be rightly included
with the Spanish American republics from the ethnical and cultural
point of view. Haiti, on the other hand, shares some of the basic
characteristics of the French group.
Before presenting the picture of public elementary education in
the Caribbean, I think it will be pertinent to bring out at least a
few of the many factors that have contributed to shaping educa-
tion in each of the political groups of the region.
One of these factors is purely demographic. In this respect we
find here two contrasting situations: low density of population
in the Spanish American republics, and populations approaching
the explosion point in the British, French, Dutch, and United States
islands. If the republics had the same population density of the
West Indies, they would have 12 times the 75 million they have
today, that is, 900 million.
A second factor derives from the differences in outlook and re-
ligion prevailing in the European countries that colonized the
region under consideration. With the Spanish conquistador came
the priest. Catholicism is the dominant religion in the Spanish
American republics. From Great Britain and the Netherlands came
Protestantism, which is the dominant faith in the British and Dutch

The degree of self-government achieved by each of the countries
and territories of the region is another significant factor perhaps
the most inclusive and therefore the most important. Spain, Eng-
land, France, and Holland from the sixteenth to the nineteenth
centuries, and the United States (in the beginning of this century)
imposed upon their respective possessions the set of political and
economic institutions and with them the pattern of education -
best suited to their colonial interests.
The Spanish American republics and Haiti, ever since they ob-
tained their political independence, have been free to develop their
own school systems according to their own conceptions of their
national needs and to incorporate into them ideas and practices
from other countries. Political independence in these republics it
should be noted has been accompanied by political instability
and the consequent lack of continuity in governmental policies and
The British, French, and Dutch areas, on the other hand, could
not receive any influence other than the one from the respective
metropolitan "mother country." They could not mold their educa-
tional systems to the local situation.
Within the last decade we have witnessed a movement whose
educational effects can readily be seen. Puerto Rico obtained the
status of a self-governing commonwealth. The larger British islands
have constituted the West Indies Federation, and the French pos-
sessions have become Departments of France.
Throughout the whole area a deep feeling of national conscious-
ness and a strong urge for economic and social improvement are
clearly in evidence. All this is having, and will continue to have,
far-reaching effects on education, which is universally recognized
in the area as an indispensable tool for the full realization of the
national potential for economic, social, and cultural development.

II. The Terms "Public" and "Elementary"
I should begin my presentation of the highlights of public ele-
mentary education in the Caribbean by clarifying the meaning of
the terms "public" and "elementary" as applied to education, inas-
much as both terms do not mean exactly the same thing everywhere
in the region.
In the United States "public" education refers to that education

54 The Caribbean
which is entirely supported by public funds and is controlled and
administered by public authorities, as opposed to "private" educa-
tion which is supported by private funds, controlled and admin-
istered by private agencies or individuals. This concept is generally
prevalent in the Spanish American republics and Haiti, in the
French group, in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands of the United
States, with one difference. This difference is that in some of the
countries mentioned some private schools receive a subsidy or
other form of public financial aid. The terminology applied may
vary from place to place. In Panama, for instance, "education is
official or private. That education which is supported in whole or
in part by the state is official; that which is offered at no cost what-
ever to the State, is private; but all education is public, in the sense
that all educational establishments, whether official or private, are
open to all pupils without distinction of race, social position, or
religion." (Art. 3, Ley 47 de 1946, Orgainica de Educacion.) In
all countries in these three groups, private education even that
receiving government aid is primarily for people who can pay
for it.
In the British and Dutch groups, on the other hand, the distinc-
tion between public and private education is less clear-cut. In
the British group, most schools are conducted under what is known
as the "dual control system," whereby governments and the
churches or other recognized bodies cooperate as partners. Here
we find government-owned, government-assisted, and independent
schools. In the Dutch territories the State subsidizes all forms of
private schools, which in most cases are operated by religious de-
nominations. In both the British and Dutch areas there is a marked
trend toward the increase of government schools.
The picture is not too different as regards the term "elementary."
The idea of elementary or primary education as the first stage or
level of a process common to all children and leading to secondary
education is not yet the norm throughout the region. It is, in Puerto
Rico and the Virgin Islands of the United States. It is also the
norm in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Ven-
ezuela, Cuba, and Haiti, though in these countries very few of the
schools serving rural areas offer the established complete elementary
course. In the other Spanish American republics, the elementary
school system includes, in addition to the five- or six-grade elemen-
tary schools, schools which by legal prescription and because of their

location, offer some sort of two- (Nicaragua, Colombia) or three-
year (Honduras, Dominican Republic) terminal education.
In the British, French, and Dutch groups, the terms "elementary"
or "primary" do not refer to a level but a kind of terminal educa-
tion which covers from two to four years beyond the sixth or
seventh grade ("complementary courses," "continued," "advanced,"
"senior" elementary) parallel to secondary or technical education.

III. How Universal Is Elementary Education?

Elementary education is compulsory in all the countries and
territories of the Caribbean with the exception of Barbados and
St. Vincent. Public elementary schooling is free everywhere in the
region except in British Honduras, where tuition must be paid at
the rate of five cents a week. The age limits of compulsory educa-
tion are usually from 6 or 7 to 14 or 15. Children completing
elementary education (or the legal minimum according to the ex-
tent of schooling available) before reaching the age limit and those
reaching this limit without finishing their elementary schooling
are exempt from further school attendance. In other words, "com-
pulsory" education applies to the elementary level only.
This is in contrast with the situation in the United States, where
compulsory legislation applies to school attendance up to a spec-
ified age and not to school level. In Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, and
Dutch Guiana the legal provision may be fulfilled by submitting
adequate proof that the child has received education at home. As
a general rule, the compulsory education provisions do not apply
to children living beyond a prescribed distance from a public
The principle of compulsory elementary education was adopted
by the countries of the region away back in the nineteenth century.
Had it been adequately carried out, no normal living person in
the Caribbean would have been deprived of a full elementary
How successful have the countries of the region been in their
efforts to provide elementary education for all? For most of these
countries we have official statistics on school enrollment and at-
tendance and estimates of the school age population. However,
the fact that the countries differ in regard to the duration of ele-
mentary schooling and the length of the period of compulsory

56 The Caribbean
education makes it difficult, if not impossible, to express the situa-
tion in comparable quantitative terms.
One of the best attempts in this respect can be found in
UNESCO's World Survey of Education, II: Primary Education,
published in 1958. In this study a "primary enrollment ratio" is
given for every country of the world, which demonstrates the rela-
tionship of elementary school enrollment to the population between
5 and 14 years of age for each five-year period from 1930 through
1954. The ratio is based on the age range from 5 to 14 and is
affected by the length of the elementary school course. Two coun-
tries having the same proportion of school-age population enrolled
in elementary schools may have different ratios if the length of the
course and the school entrance age are not the same. To have
an idea of what the enrollment ratio means, it should be noted that
the ratio for the United States was 86, for the period 1950-54.
On the basis of the data given in the above-mentioned study,
elementary education in the Spanish American republics and Haiti
is not so widely extended as in the other groups of the Caribbean.
In other words, from a quantitative point of view, the republics do
not seem to have done as well as the other countries of the Car-
ibbean in the task of making elementary education universal.
There are several historical, political, and geographical factors
that may account for this situation. During the period in which
the European powers colonized America, the ability to read was
more important in the Protestant countries than in the Catholic.
In all the colonies education was entrusted to the church. While
in the British and Dutch territories the church congregations -
mainly Protestant paid more attention to elementary schools, in
the Spanish American colonies the Catholic congregations the
only ones permitted accorded more importance to institutions of
secondary and higher education. The Spanish American republics,
upon freeing themselves from the political rule of the mother coun-
try, had to develop educational facilities for the training of leaders
in all fields of national activity. In the territories under the rule
of the other European powers, colonial officers and leaders in busi-
ness and the professions came from the respective metropolitan
countries; those who wanted to receive advanced training had to
go to the mother country. These are perhaps some of the reasons
why in the Spanish American republics and Haiti, and also in
Puerto Rico, the school systems have extended more in the secon-



dary and higher level than in the other areas. In addition to these
historical and political considerations, it should also be noted that
the Spanish American republics are thinly populated and that,
other things being equal, in areas of low population density it is
more difficult to provide complete elementary education than it is
in densely populated areas.

IV. The Public Schools
The total number of children enrolled in elementary schools in
the region is approximately 12 million, of which roughly 10 million
are in the Spanish American republics and Haiti, and 2 million in
the British, French, Dutch, and United States groups.
In the Spanish American republics, the public school enrollment
ranges from approximately 70 per cent (Haiti) to 95 per cent
(Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, and the Dominican Republic)
of the total elementary school enrollment. In the French group,
the public school enrollment represents 76 per cent in French
Guiana and 97 per cent in Martinique. In the Commonwealth of
Puerto Rico, public school enrollment makes up approximately 95
per cent of the total elementary school enrollment. Of the British
group 53 per cent of the elementary school children in Jamaica,
95 per cent in Trinidad and Tobago, and 7 per cent in British
Guiana are enrolled in public schools. In the Netherlands Antilles
and Surinam, the public school enrollment represents 17 per cent
and 33 per cent respectively of the total enrollment. In the British
and Dutch groups, as it was pointed out earlier, many of the pri-
vate schools are government-assisted.
Public elementary schools are commonly classified into urban
and rural in the Spanish American republics, Haiti, and Puerto
Rico. In Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Venezuela,
Haiti, and Cuba, the program of the rural schools extends for the
same number of years (six) as that of the urban schools, though
a very small proportion of them offer the complete elementary
course. In the countries mentioned, there has been a marked ten-
dency towards adapting the rural school program to the needs of
rural life by emphasizing the teaching of agricultural practices and
other aspects of country living. The actual accomplishment in
this respect falls far short of official statements of principles and
aims of the rural schools. It so happens that as a general rule the

58 The Caribbean
rural schools are staffed by untrained teachers, and handicapped
by inadequate buildings and almost complete lack of school ma-
In Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic,
the rural school program is by law shorter in duration than the
program of the urban schools.
For the purpose of providing better supervision for the rural
schools and enabling children to receive the complete elementary
school course, several countries have established what is called the
nucleos escolares. A nucleo consists of a central school sometimes
annexed to a normal school and sectional one- or two-teacher
schools feeding into the central school. The central school usually
has on its staff teachers of agriculture, home economics, health, and
other subjects, who supervise and assist in the teaching of these
subjects in all the schools of the nucleo.
Another attempt to make elementary education available to chil-
dren in rural areas is represented by the hogares campesinos of
Cuba. These are boarding schools offering instruction correspond-
ing to the upper grades of the elementary school to children from
localities where these grades are not available.
A large proportion of the rural schools in the Spanish American
republics are one-teacher schools. In some instances the rural
schools are under the administration and supervision of a depart-
ment or authority within the Ministry of Education different from
the one in charge of urban schools. In Haiti the rural schools oper-
ate under the Ministry of Agriculture, Development, and Natural
Resources. Most of the rural schools are public. There is a grow-
ing realization that opportunity for education in the rural areas
should be on a par with that in the urban.
The public urban schools usually consist of six grades organized,
in some countries, into three levels or cycles. In the cities they are
frequently overcrowded, due to the tremendous influx from the
rural areas, and the inability of the government to provide the
school buildings necessary to meet the demands of a fast-growing
population. To cope with this problem many urban schools are
housed in rented, inadequate buildings and have resorted to the
practice of the double or triple shift.
In the British, French, and Dutch groups the organization of
the public elementary schools follows to some extent the pattern
of their respective metropolitan countries. The classification of

schools into urban and rural is not to be found in these areas, with
the exception of Surinam, where country children attend schools
(District GLO) which offer a different course of studies from that
of the schools attended by city children.
The average British West Indian elementary school consists of
two infant classes and six "standards" or grades. In British Guiana,
elementary schools are organized into four divisions making a total
of eight years.
The elementary school in the French areas consists of a prepara-
tory section for children 6 to 7, an elementary course for children
7 to 9, a middle course for children 9 to 11, a higher course for
children 11 to 12, and a school-leaving course for children 12 to 14.
In Surinam the six-grade schools are classified into GLO-A
schools for children from Dutch-speaking homes and GLO-B
schools for children from non-Dutch-speaking homes. On complet-
ing the sixth grade, children may go on for two more years of
"continued" elementary education or for four more years of "ad-
vanced" elementary education. Those wishing to go into a secon-
dary school may do so by passing an entrance examination at age
11 or 12. This practice is also followed in the British and French
As in the case of the Spanish American republics and Haiti,
the lack of school buildings results in overcrowded classrooms. A
similar situation exists in regard to textbooks, teaching materials,
and equipment.

V. Curriculum
The school curriculum throughout the area includes the conven-
tional school subjects: reading, language, arithmetic, geography,
history, nature study, and science. In the Spanish American repub-
lics, Haiti, and Puerto Rico, emphasis is placed on the study of
national history and geography, as a reaction against the former
concern with the study of other areas of the world to the neglect
of their own. In the French departments the study of local history
and geography is made a part of the study of French geography
and history. Instruction in the Catholic religion is compulsory in
the public schools of Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, and the Do-
minican Republic. In Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua,
Venezuela, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, and the French group, re-

60 The Caribbean
ligion is not taught in the schools. The public schools in the British
and Dutch areas impart religious instruction without preference for
any specific denomination. All over the Caribbean region, elemen-
tary education places a great deal of stress on the mastery of the
tool subjects and the acquisition of knowledge.
In all the countries of the area, promotion from one grade to the
next and satisfactory completion of the elementary course are de-
termined, to a varying degree, by the results of examinations. The
practice of requiring mastery of the subject matter prescribed for
a grade is prevalent in most of the region.
This practice is one of the many factors that account for the
high percentage of children who repeat one, two, or three grades,
which in turn results in an alarming rate of retardation and school
desertion. In Mexico, for instance, of the 4,436,561 places existing
in 1958 in the elementary schools, 738,580 were occupied by "re-
peaters." An alarmingly low percentage of children finish the ele-
mentary school.
Other causes for this "educational wastage" must be found in
poor instruction, inadequate buildings, and incomplete schools and
in the handicaps that accompany the low social and economic con-
ditions that the school itself cannot remedy.

VI. Problems and Prospects
The task of improving and extending public elementary educa-
tion in the Caribbean so that every child is assured of the basic
human right to education is one of tremendous magnitude. It in-
volves raising the standards of the existing school system, making
up for the accumulated educational deficit, and keeping up with the
demands of a fast growing population.
Just to illustrate what all this means in terms of human effort
and financial resources it is appropriate to cite some of the figures
from a report of a commission appointed by the President of Mex-
ico to formulate a plan to solve the problem of elementary educa-
tion. To accomplish this purpose, the Commission concludes that
in eleven years Mexico will have to provide elementary school
facilities for more than 7,000,000 children (present enrollment
4,500,000) which will require training 68,000 teachers; building
27,440 rural classrooms and 11,825 urban; reconditioning 36,735
rural classrooms. All this, the expansion and maintenance of the



necessary services and the provision of textbooks and teaching ma-
terials, would require the additional expenditure of 4,804,537,978
Mexican pesos (U.S. $348,363,038.00) in the eleven-year period pro-
posed for the execution of the plan.
Some of the countries and territories of the region may be farther
ahead on the road toward the solution of their elementary school
problem; others are surely behind. Be as it may, the figures quoted
could be taken as indicative of the amount of effort that will be
necessary to provide adequate elementary education for all.
Whether the Caribbean countries are capable of this undertak-
ing no one can tell for sure. Everywhere there is a sense of urgency
and everywhere progress is being made. The effort is at times dra-
matic, as in the case of Venezuela where the government coming
into power early in 1957 immediately doubled the educational
budget and established school facilities to accommodate 150,000
new elementary school pupils an increase of 20 per cent over the
preceding year. In other instances, such as the case of Puerto Rico,
where education is being developed according to plan, improve-
ment has been rapid and steady.
At present many of the countries of the region do not seem to
have the human and material resources required to solve their
educational problems. However, there are signs indicating that
the situation is far from hopeless.
Throughout the region there is a growing popular demand for
education. This demand is inherent in the urge of the masses for
social and economic betterment. Parents, instead of having to be
compelled to send their children to school, bring pressure upon
their governments to provide schools for their children.
Everywhere in the region education is assuming more importance
as an instrument of national policy, as a logical result of increasing
nationalism and the desire for self- or representative government,
as the case may be.
Among the officials responsible for the direction and administra-
tion of education, two significant ideas are gaining ground. One of
these ideas is that national educational needs can be adequately
met only through systematic planning of education. School build-
ing programs are to be found in many countries. Planning offices
are being established in several of them. In order to assist the
Member States to set up educational planning services, the Organ-
ization of American States, with the cooperation of UNESCO and


The Caribbean

the government of Colombia, recently held in Bogota an inter-
American course on planning of education for high officials of the
Ministries of Education. As planning becomes an established policy
we can expect a more rational use of available resources and a
clearer concept of needs and objectives.
The idea of educational planning is closely related to the idea of
social and economic planning. Educators are becoming increasingly
aware of the relationship between education and social and eco-
nomic conditions. Some of the present school problems, such as
school desertion, are not exclusively educational problems. They
can be solved only through measures designed to increase pro-
ductivity and to raise social and economic conditions. Increasing
the number of schools, training more teachers, devising more
effective curricula all this will help, but will not be enough.
Education cannot prosper in the midst of poverty; in order to
do its job well the school needs an environment that motivates
and utilizes education.

VII. Regional and International Cooperation
The last decade has witnessed the beginning of regional cooper-
ation in the Caribbean. Under the auspices of the Caribbean Com-
mission (now Caribbean Organization) the member countries of
this organization have got together for the study of the common
problems and common lines of action, including education. The
University College of the West Indies is a concrete example of this
cooperation. Similar activities have been carried out by the five
Central American republics through ODECA (Organizaci6n de
los Estados Centroamericanos).
Mention should be made of the part played by international
cooperation in the improvement of education in the Caribbean.
The International Cooperation Administration of the United States is
developing teacher training and rural school programs through the
cooperative services established with the governments of Guate-
mala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Haiti, and the Dominican
UNESCO, by means of its Major Project No. 1 on the extension
of elementary education in Latin America and through its technical
missions, is encouraging and assisting the governments to expand
and improve their compulsory education programs. The OAS main-



tains the Inter-American Rural Education Center (Rubio, Vene-
zuela), with the cooperation of the government of Venezuela and
UNESCO, for the in-service training of normal school teachers and
administrators and supervisors of rural education. OAS and
UNESCO have jointly sponsored a series of Inter-American semi-
nars on educational problems. The sixth of these seminars, held in
Washington in 1958, dealt with the problem of over-all educational
planning. Its conclusions and recommendations are helping the
governments to plan their educational services.


British Guiana, Education Department. Annual Report of the Director of
Education; Annual Summary for the Year 1957-1958. Georgetown, Demerara,
British Guiana, 1958.
--. St. George's Cathedral School: Scheme of Work, 1959.
----. Triennial Report of the Education Department for the Years 1954-
1957. Georgetown, Demerara, British Guiana, 1959.
Haiti, President de la Republique. "Decret imprimant a l'Enseignement Rural
une orientation nouvelle qui correspond mieux aux realitis et aut besoins du
milieu et fixant le statut de l'Instituteur Rural, le 16 D6cembre 1958," Le
Moniteur, Port-au-Prince, Annee No. 11 (19 Janvier, 1959).
Joint Conference on Education and Small Scale Farming. Trinidad, 1954. The
Administration of Education. Reports by National Sections of the Caribbean
Commission. . Trinidad, 1954. (Second Subject: The School in its
Relation to the Community.)
----. Note on the Administration of Education in British, French, Nether-
lands and United States Caribbean Countries. Reference Document No. 6,
by Mrs. V. 0. Alcala, Research Secretary, Central Secretariat, Caribbean
Commission. Trinidad, 1954. (Second Subject: The School in its Relation
to the Community.)
----. Note on Financing of Education in British, French, Netherlands and
United States Caribbean Countries. Reference No. 7, Trinidad, 1954. (Sec-
ond Subject: The School in its Relation to the Community.)
----. Statistical Abstract to the Joint Conference. . Vol. I: Caribbean
Education, 1940-1952. Compiled by the Statistical Unit, Research Branch,
Central Secretariat, Caribbean Commission. Trinidad, 1954.
Lara Barragan, Antonio. "Solucion final al problema educative," El Universal,
M6xico, D. F. (28 de octubre de 1959).
Nicaragua, Ministerio de Educaci6n Puiblica, Direcci6n de Servicios Admin-
istrativos, Secci6n de Estadistica. Boletin estadistico, no. 1, 1958-1959.
Managua, Nicaragua, 1959?
Pan American Union, Department of Statistics. Area, Total Population and
Population Density of the American Nations: Most Recent Population Esti-
mates, Previous Population Estimates, Most Recent Censuses. Washington,
D.C., 1958.

The Caribbean

Pizzani, Rafael. Exposicion del ciudadano Ministro de Educaci6n. Caracas,
Octubre de 1958 [radio address].
Puerto Rico, Department of Education. Public School System of Puerto Rico:
General Information. San Juan, 1957.
Seminario de Educacion Primaria Urbana de Centroamerica y Panama.
Managua, 1958. Estudio de los problems de la education primaria urbana;
document producido por el Comite Nacional de Honduras. Tegucigalpa,
D.C., 1958?
----. Informe presentado por el Comite Nacional de Educacion Primaria
Urbana. Managua, D.N., 1958.
----. Informe national: la education primaria urbana en Panama. Panama,
----. Informe final. Managua, 1958.
Seminario de Educacion Rural Integral de Centroamerica. Guatemala, 1958.
La educacidn rural en Guatemala; informed del Comite Nacional. Guatemala,
----. Estudio de los problems de la educacidn rural integral de Centro-
america; document producido por el Comite Nacional de El Salvador. San
Salvador, 1958.
----. Idem. Anexos. 1958?
----. Estudio de los problems de la educacio'n rural integral de Centro-
america; document producido por el Comite Nacional de Honduras. Tegu-
cigalpa, D.C., 1958?
----. Estudio de los problems de la educacion rural integral de Centro-
america; document producido por el Comite Nacional de Panama. San
Salvador, 1958.
----. Informe presentado por el Comite Nacional de Educaci'n Rural Inte-
gral de Nicaragua. Managua, D.N., 1958.
Surinam, Department of Education. Report on Education in Surinam. Para-
maribo, 1954?
Torres Bodet, Jaime. "Comision Nacional para formular un plan destinado a
resolver el problema de la educacion primaria en el pais," El Universal,
M6xico, D.F. (28 de octubre de 1959).
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Current
School Enrollment Statistics, No. 5, Paris, July 1958.
----. World Survey of Education, II: Primary Education. Paris, 1958.
University of California, Committee on Latin American Studies. Statistical
Abstract of Latin America for 1957. Los Angeles, 1959.




THE SUBJECT MATTER of this paper is College and Univer-
sity Public Education in the Caribbean. This term requires some
definition and explanation to make clear what it is that we shall
be discussing. "College and university education" is being inter-
preted to mean organized programs of instruction at the higher
education level generally; that is, programs requiring for admission
the completion of a full program of secondary and preparatory
level studies usually entailing a total of eleven or twelve years of
combined primary, secondary, and preparatory schooling, and lead-
ing to a higher degree, diploma, certificate, or title. With respect
to the word "college," most of the so-called "colleges" or "colegios"
of the area are secondary or preparatory level institutions and con-
sequently will not receive treatment here. Likewise, we shall not
be concerned with secondary and preparatory programs of study
offered at institutions of higher education, other than to note at
times the existence of such programs.
On the other hand, there are a growing number of institutions,
organizations, and agencies in several countries of the area (notably
Mexico and Colombia) which, while not designated as universi-
ties or regarded as such in the conventional understanding of that
term, are offering programs of instruction at the higher education
level in certain individual and specialized fields. An example of an
institution of this type which has been rather common throughout
the Spanish American republics of the area is the Escuela Normal
Superior, or Higher Normal School, which resembles in some
respects the United States teachers' college. While fully recogniz-


The Caribbean

ing the existence of specialized institutions and programs and
devoting some attention to them, we shall concern ourselves in this
paper primarily with higher education as offered at the regular
universities and comparable institutions.
A second delineation of the scope of our subject here is indicated
by the fact that this session was designated to deal with "public"
education. If we were dealing with higher education in the United
States, this would rule out consideration of a majority of its insti-
tutions of higher learning. Not so in the geographic area we are
discussing, because higher education in the Caribbean is primarily
public education. The only territory or country where there are
more private than public institutions of higher learning is Puerto
Rico, whose institutions divide into four private and one public.
Even here, the one public institution the University of Puerto
Rico-far outstrips the combined enrollment of the other four,
being 17,579 as against 3,753 at the beginning of the 1958-59 school
year, according to figures in the 1959-60 edition of the United States
Office of Education's Higher Education Directory. In the European
affiliated areas of the Caribbean, all higher education, with one
minor exception, is public.
Insofar as the Latin American republics of the area are concerned,
although the universities founded in the Colonial Period were
generally church-connected and -controlled, most of them were
nationalized following independence, and most new universities
since that time have been creatures of the State. Nevertheless, in
recent decades a significant development in the Spanish American
republics of the area has been the founding of private universities
and other institutions of higher learning by both secular and reli-
gious bodies. Detailed discussion of these institutions will not be
attempted here, since they lie outside the scope of this paper and
Private Education is the subject of another session of this Con-
ference. Mention is simply made of such well-known examples as,
in Cuba, the Universidad Santo Tomas de Villanueva; in Mexico,
the Instituto Technol6gico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey,
the Universidad Aut6noma de Guadalajara, the Universidad Femi-
nina de Mexico, and Mexico City College; in Venezuela, the
Universidad Catolica Andr6s Bello and the Universidad Santa
Maria; and in Colombia, the Universidad de los Andes de Bogota,
the Universidad Pontificia Cat6lica Bolivariana, and the Pontificia
Universidad Cat6lica Javeriana, which was founded as the Acade-

mia Javeriana in 1622, closed in 1767 with the expulsion of the
Jesuits, and reopened in the 1930's.

Let us now turn to a survey of some of the main characteristics
of public higher education in the Caribbean, and of the facilities
for such education. There are five basic national patterns or systems
represented in the area's institutions of higher public education -
the British, the French, the Dutch, the United States, and the
Spanish American. We shall discuss each of these in turn, recog-
nizing that the last-named is represented by the vast majority of
the institutions of the area those of the 11 Spanish American
republics and that for this reason we shall devote to them the
major portion of our discussion.
The British system of higher education finds expression notably
in the University College of the West Indies in Jamaica, and also in
several institutions offering specialized forms of education. The
University College was discussed in some detail in Dr. Wilgus'
essay which formed the introduction to the volume containing the
papers of the Eighth Conference of this series, and it is therefore
unnecessary to repeat here the details of its origin, development,
and programs up to that time. Suffice it to say that the University
College, which under the constitution of the new West Indies Fed-
eration has become a responsibility of the Federation as a whole
and which serves British Guiana and British Honduras as well,
exhibits some of the trends and developments common to higher
education in the Caribbean area generally. One of these is the
steady expansion of enrollment since the University College opened
its doors in 1948. Although by comparison with the National Uni-
versities of even the smaller Caribbean and Central American
republics, the University College is one of the smaller institutions
in the area, enrollment reached an all time high of 722 at the begin-
ning of the current (1959-60) academic year, just 100 over the
previous high of 622 enrolled at the beginning of the 1958-59
academic year. It is expected that enrollment will continue to
increase with the planned expansion of academic programs and the
demand for higher education by the rapidly increasing population
of the British Caribbean territories.
A second trend is the just-mentioned expansion of academic

68 The Caribbean
programs. The University College has increased its programs since
its inception so that today it is a combination of (a) an undergrad-
uate institution offering programs for the Bachelor's degree in its
Faculties, or Schools, of Arts and Natural Sciences, (b) a profes-
sional medical school, and (c) a small post-graduate Department
of Education whose instructional program consists of professional
training primarily for secondary school teachers. New Faculties
planned include (a) a Faculty of Agriculture which is to begin opera-
tion in the fall of 1960 with the absorption of the Imperial College
of Tropical Agriculture at Trinidad into the University College and
the initiation of full degree programs in agriculture, (b) a projected
Faculty of Engineering, and (c) a Faculty of Social Sciences,
towards which the initiation of a program in the fall of 1959 for
the Bachelor of Science degree in Economics was regarded as the
first step.
With the addition of new programs and growing maturity, the
University College of the West Indies is also looking to the time
when its dependent relationship to the University of London will
terminate and it will be a full university in its own right. In all of
its units, except its Department of Education, it has had from the
beginning the admission requirements and has granted the degrees
of the University of London. Another feature of the University
College that must be mentioned in any summary of its programs is
the work of its active Extra-Mural Department, which brings Adult
Education opportunities to each of the British Caribbean territories.
It should also be noted that, with the development of the University
College of the West Indies and perhaps because of it, the limited
program of university level studies in the classics and theology at
privately administered Codrington College in Barbados has prac-
tically disappeared. Since 1875 these studies have led to the degrees
of the University of Durham.
In addition to the University College of the West Indies, the
British Caribbean has several public institutions, some of them new,
which offer programs in specialized fields at the higher education
level. The one of longest standing is the aforementioned Imperial
College of Tropical Agriculture, founded in 1922, which is soon to
merge with the University College. It has offered diploma courses at
both undergraduate and graduate levels to a limited number of
students. Its undergraduate programs have been intended primarily
for British West Indians and its graduate work for agricultural

specialists preparing for service in all Commonwealth tropical areas.
Other institutions that have new programs of study which they
regard as going beyond the secondary level include the recently
reorganized and expanded Jamaica School of Agriculture, the new
Jamaica Institute of Technology, and the recently opened Trinidad
Polytechnic Institute. It should also be mentioned that in some
United States educational institutions the work of the last year in
the three-year program of the Jamaican Teacher Training Colleges
has been considered to be comparable to studies at the higher
education level in this field in the United States.
The French and the Dutch systems of higher education are
extremely limited in their representation in the French and Nether-
lands affiliated Caribbean areas. In the French Caribbean areas, the
only university type institution is the Ecole de Droit, or Law School,
in Martinique which is affiliated with the University of Bordeaux
and prepares students for its law degrees. In 1958-59 it had some
240 students enrolled, and also offered extension courses in Guade-
loupe. Martinique and Guadeloupe each has an Ecole Normale
(Normal School), which offers a one-year post-secondary concen-
trated course in teacher education subjects, which is usually
regarded in the United States as being at the higher education
level. It should be noted that despite the paucity of institutions of
higher learning in the French Caribbean territories, the influence
of the French system is widespread in the Caribbean area. This is
due to the fact that not only in French-speaking Haiti, but also in
the Spanish American republics, university organization and pro-
grams since independence have been patterned largely on the
French example, with, of course, indigenous adaptations.
Insofar as the Netherlands affiliated territories are concerned,
there are two institutions of university standing in Surinam a Law
School and a Medical School. The latter grants a degree which
enables the recipient to be a general practitioner in Surinam and
which is usually accepted in the Netherlands as a basis for further
specialized medical studies. The Medical School also trains phar-
macists and prepares students who have had prior training with
a dental surgeon for the dentists' certificate examinations.
The United States system of higher education is represented in
public institutions in the area by the University of Puerto Rico,
despite the Hispanic cultural orientation of that island. Founded
as a training center for teachers in 1903 after Spain's cession of the

70 The Caribbean
island to the United States, the University is a fully accredited
United States institution of higher learning, with its organization,
programs, and degrees similar to those of a large State University
in continental United States. For this reason it is not intended to
discuss the University in detail here. However, a few salient facts
must be noted. The first is that in sheer weight of numbers enrolled,
the University of Puerto Rico is one of the three largest universities
in the Caribbean area, and is perhaps second only to the National
Autonomous University of Mexico in this regard. A second fact is
that since its founding as an institution for teacher training which
is still recognized as its prime function it has expanded its pro-
grams to meet the needs of the Puerto Rican people and society for
general, professional, and advanced education and training. In the
words of its Chancellor, "the University lays special emphasis on
the study of the social, economic, political, administrative, educa-
tional problems affecting the Puerto Rican community." A third fact
is that, as might be inferred from its character as a university in the
United States pattern, its advanced undergraduate, graduate, and
professional programs are grounded in basic liberal arts and
preprofessional studies. And a fourth point of interest has been the
development of the function of serving as a meeting place of North
American and Latin American educators and educational practices.
The Spanish American pattern of higher education is, of course,
the one most widely represented among institutions of the Carib-
bean area. Moreover, because of the common French influence, the
pattern of university education is not dissimilar in Haiti, which we
shall therefore consider along with the other republics of the area.
In these republics, these characteristics vary in the degree of their
applicability from country to country and from institution to institu-
tion. While these characteristics are generally well known to stu-
dents of Spanish American culture, it may not be amiss to enumer-
ate and briefly discuss some of them here, before continuing our
imaginary tour of institutions of higher education in the area.
1. In the Caribbean republics, as in the Latin American republics
generally, higher education is primarily professional education. By
and large universities are collections of professional schools and
departments usually called Faculties or Schools. With a few excep-
tions which will be noted later, there is no equivalent in the
Caribbean republics of the United States liberal arts college or of
preprofessional education at the university level. Students usually

proceed directly from the secondary and preparatory schools, or an
equivalent program of studies, into the Faculty of their professional
specialization. What in the United States would be university level
preprofessional courses relating directly to professional study are
usually included in the first and second years of the professional
programs. Some of these programs, for example those in medicine,
law, and engineering, usually take longer to complete than purely
professional programs in the United States. Programs of study
within each Faculty are rigidly prescribed and there are few or no
electives. There is little or no opportunity to take courses outside
one's own Faculty.
2. There is usually no Faculty or School for the study of the pure
sciences for their own sake. Science subjects are usually studied in
different Faculties as part of, and are oriented to, professional pro-
grams of study. Laboratory facilities are often deficient and learning
is theoretical, though this is not the case in some institutions. In a
few institutions in the Caribbean area, such as the National Autono-
mous University of Mexico and the Central University of Caracas,
there are Faculties or Schools of Science, which prepare for profes-
sional careers in various scientific specialties.
3. Faculties of Humanities, or of Philosophy and Letters, which
are now found in most public universities, are not usually intended
to provide liberal arts education for university students generally.
They provide education and training in various subject specialties
for prospective secondary and university level instructors and in
some cases for those willing and able to defer or take time out from
professional preparation. There are some specific deviations from
this pattern, for example in Costa Rica. It may also be mentioned
here that higher education in the Caribbean republics has not, gen-
erally speaking, concerned itself, or been expected to concern itself,
with the education and training of elementary school teachers.
Those who teach at the elementary level are usually trained in sec-
ondary level normal schools. In the main, University Faculties or
Schools of Education where they exist, as well as Higher Normal
Schools, have been primarily concerned with the preparation of
secondary level teachers. There are some exceptions to this general
situation, notably, again, in Costa Rica.
4. Graduate work as organized and as understood in the United
States is virtually nonexistent. In some Faculties, for example Engi-
neering, where degree programs last five or six years from the time
of admission, the final year or two might be comparable in some
respects to graduate level work in the United States. In general,
however, there are no regular university level instructional programs
emphasizing advanced classroom study and research in the sense

72 The Caribbean
of United States graduate work. The Graduate School of the
National Autonomous University of Mexico is an exception in cer-
tain respects. In some universities special Institutes for advanced
study and research have been established, but usually not in con-
nection with regular degree programs.
5. Though degrees and titles vary from country to country, degrees
granted by some institutions common to many fields of study are the
Licienciado and the Doctorado. These usually represent completion
of three, four, or five years' work. For this and other reasons, the
Doctorado is not comparable to the United States Ph.D. degree.
Likewise, the title or degree of Maestro (Master), which is granted
by some institutions, such as the National University of Mexico
after three years of study in a program of preparation for secondary
teaching, is not comparable to the Master's degree in the United
States. Some institutions, instead of a general degree in various fields
of study, award titles appropriate to the particular professional
specialty, such as Engineer, Architect, Agronomist, Pharmacist,
Chemist, or Secondary School Teacher. In some institutions titles
representing completion of one- or two-year programs of specialized
preparation are granted.
6. For the most part, professors are professional men devoting
a few hours a week to teaching. There are at least three reasons
for this. In the first place, despite provisions in many national con-
stitutions and laws prescribing a fixed percentage or some other
formula for financing the universities, their income is not, generally
speaking, sufficient to permit full-time teaching staffs. Second, many
of these professional men prefer to practice their professions while
simultaneously enjoying the prestige of a part-time university affili-
ation. And third, there is a dearth of persons especially prepared
for teaching and scholarly pursuits at the higher education level
owing to the almost exclusively professional orientation of university
education and lack of graduate study.
7. Public universities in most of the republics of the Caribbean
are legally autonomous and some, in fact, carry the word Autdnoma
in their official nomenclature. This means that legally they are self-
governing, not subject to regulation or control by governments.
This autonomy stems historically from the university and student
reform movements which began in Argentina in 1918 and spread
throughout Latin America. In practice, legal provisions for univer-
sity autonomy, like constitutional provisions for civil rights and
democratic government, mean as much or as little as political
traditions and governments permit them to mean, as witness gov-
ernment interference in the autonomous University of Habana
under Batista in the 1930's and again in the 1950's, and in the

autonomous Central University of Caracas under Perez Jimenez
in Venezuela, also in the 1950's. It should be noted that while most
universities in the republics of the Caribbean area have legal auton-
omy, most other public institutions or agencies giving instructional
programs at the higher education level are under direct government
control. Thus Higher Normal Schools usually fall under the Ministry
of Education, and other public institutions or agencies offering
specialized forms of education are usually subject to the appropriate
8. In most Faculties, a large part of the student body attends
classes in the late afternoon and early evening because they must
work to support themselves during the day. This is a reflection of
the fact that, owing to the processes of social change, university
students are no longer drawn largely from the economic and social
elite; those from the less privileged social groups now form the
bulk of university students. Generally, instruction in public insti-
tutions is either free or there may be moderate tuition, matricula-
tion, and registration fees.
9. In most public universities of the Caribbean republics, students
have a much greater influence in university government and admin-
istration than they do in the United States. In most cases where
universities are autonomous, students are represented on their gov-
erning bodies and those of the individual Faculties, under the
system known as cogovernment. More important in some cases is
the direct action they take to achieve their objectives through
student strikes and other types of mass action. University adminis-
trative matters to which students have given attention have included
revision of the curriculum, dismissal of professors, and the sched-
uling of examinations and vacations. And closely related to student
participation in these matters has been their active role in national
politics generally. Except for one or two countries, university stu-
dents in the Caribbean republics have exhibited varying, and in
some cases intense, degrees of activity in these matters in recent

Having discussed some of the characteristics of public higher
education in the Caribbean republics generally, we now move to
a discussion of their individual facilities for such education by
country or subregion. To this end we shall deal in turn with Mexico,
Central America and Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and the island


The Caribbean


If we accept as substantially accurate the Pan American Union's
current provisional listing of Mexican institutions of higher educa-
tion, we note that there are 53 institutions or organizations in that
country offering programs of study at that level. Of these, 39 or
so may be considered as public institutions, of which 21 are either
called universities or are affiliated with universities. Most of the
others either are called Institutos (Institutes) or Centros Tecnolo-
gicos (Technological Centers), each with a number of Faculties or
Schools in various fields, or are denominated as independent
Escuelas (Schools) in individual specialties, including several
Higher Normal Schools. A good number of the public institutions
offering instructional programs at the higher education level, includ-
ing most of the universities, also have schools offering instruction
at lower levels.
Public institutions of higher learning in Mexico are either federal
or State institutions. The largest, not only in Mexico but in the
Caribbean area generally, is, of course, the National Autonomous
University of Mexico, supported by the central government and
usually considered as the country's leading public institution of
higher learning. The descendant of the Real y Pontificia Universidad
de Mexico founded in the sixteenth century, the present University
is in reality a modern creation dating from 1910 and thus coincides
in its development with the period of the Mexican Revolution.
Reorganized in 1920, it obtained autonomy in 1929 and was again
reorganized in 1945. Its total enrollment as given in the new Inter-
national Handbook of Universities is about 30,000.
The University consists of twelve regular teaching Faculties and
Schools offering work at university level, and in addition about
fifteen Institutes for the pursuit of specialized study and research
in various fields. It is one of the Latin American universities most
of them in the Caribbean which have summer schools offering
courses and programs of study designed primarily for United States
and Canadian college and university students and adapted to the
United States system of higher education. Its Summer School
(Escuela de Verano) has been functioning since 1921 and offers
courses and programs leading as high as a United States Master's
degree in certain fields.
The National University is one of the institutions in the Caribbean

area to initiate the trend towards the Ciudad Universitaria, or Uni-
versity City, where most Faculties and Schools are brought
together in a University community or campus. This site located
near Mexico City, which the University's Faculties and Schools
began to occupy in 1953, is well known because of the spectacular
modern architecture of its buildings, with their colorful mosaics
reminding one of Mexico's pre-Hispanic and colonial history. One
result of the move to the University City, which is located far from
the center of the capital, has been to point up the need for a full-
time faculty. It is especially difficult for part-time professors, who
spend the major part of their time practicing their professions, to
get to the University City, much as they may enjoy the prestige of
university teaching. Some full-time professorships have been estab-
lished, and the trend is in this direction.
The University City is the headquarters of the Union of Latin
American Universities organized in 1949, of which the National
University of Mexico and most of the universities of the Caribbean
republics are members. The National University also played a
leading role in the formation, in 1950, of the National Association
of Universities and Institutes of Higher Education of the Mexican
Most of the states of Mexico now have their own individual State
Universities. A few of these have existed, in some cases under other
names, from the nineteenth century or earlier, but most are of
twentieth century origin. There are now about 20 of these institu-
tions. Although their respective programs are limited in number
in comparison with those of the National University, they corre-
spond in substance closely to those of the latter. Those with the
most varied offerings include the Universities of Guadalajara (not
to be confused with the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, a
private institution), Puebla, Nuevo Leon, Sinaloa, Guanajuato, and
Veracruz. The trend is towards the addition of new Faculties and
Schools in the State Universities. As at the National University,
preparatory schools are annexed to most of the State Universities,
many of which also provide normal school departments and various
types of subprofessional training for workers.
As already indicated, various Institutes and independent schools
also give specialized study and training at the higher education
level. One of the most significant as indicating the interest of the
central government in technological education is the National Poly-

76 The Caribbean
technic Institute, operated directly under the Ministry of Education
and consisting of nine professional schools, as well as a large num-
ber of vocational secondary schools.


In the republics of Central America and Panama, higher educa-
tion is confined almost exclusively to the one National University
of each country. The University of San Carlos de Guatemala has
the distinction among this group of being the oldest (founded in
1676), of having the largest enrollment (some 4,200 in 1957), and
of offering the greatest number of different programs (eight Facul-
ties, each with a number of Departments or Schools). An interesting
development in Guatemala is the existence of Schools of the Univer-
sity in several subject fields at Quetzaltenango, away from the main
University headquarters at Guatemala City. Known as Escuelas de
Occidente (Schools of the West), they embrace Schools of Human-
ities, Juridical and Social Sciences, and Economic Sciences (the
last-named including a School of Rural Social Service). Another
development which is a departure from traditional Latin American
practice is the recent establishment of physical and psychological
criteria for student admission, along with efforts to establish the
principle of assessing fees on the basis of ability to pay. The Uni-
versity also has underway the creation of a University City. Mention
is also made of the University's Summer School for North American
students, with which the University of Florida maintains a coopera-
tive relationship.
The University of Costa Rica, founded in 1843 but dating in its
modem revival only from 1940, has established itself in its own
University City, and enrolled something over 3,000 students in
1958. It has undergone substantial modifications and innovations
in its programs of study in the past few years. Long without a
Faculty of Medicine, a most unusual situation for a Latin American
National University, it has seen the establishment of such a Faculty
in the past year. Of major import in the University's development of
new programs was its break with tradition in creating a Faculty
of Arts and Sciences in 1957 and assigning to it an important role
in the education of all University students, in addition to its own
degree programs. The University now requires that all students
take one year of preprofessional general studies in this Faculty

before entering a professional Faculty. Another development at the
University of Costa Rica has been the initiation of a two-year pro-
gram by its School of Education, in conjunction with its Faculty
of Arts and Sciences, for the preparation of elementary school
teachers. As previously noted, training for such teachers has usually
taken place at secondary level normal schools in most of the Carib-
bean republics.
The National University of Nicaragua and the Autonomous Uni-
versity of Honduras, stemming in their origins from 1816 and 1845,
respectively, have somewhat limited professional offerings, and are
the only Central American universities without Faculties or Schools
of Humanities, Philosophy and Letters, or Education. Each had an
enrollment of about 1,000 in 1957. The University of Nicaragua,
located at Leon, away from the capital city of Managua, represents
a consolidation of the three public universities which existed until
the late 1940's. It officially came into existence in its present form
and under its present name in 1947.
The University of El Salvador had the smallest enrollment of
the Central American universities in 1957, about 500 students, but
the programs in its professional Faculties are an example of the
liberalizing and broadening trend in such education which has
begun in some universities of the area. They now include some sub-
jects of a general cultural nature and others of a basic preprofes-
sional orientation for the student's professional specialization.
The University of Panama is the most recently founded of the
universities of the Central America-Panama area, dating from 1935.
It has a variety of professional curricula, including various programs
under a Faculty of Public Administration and Commerce. It is
housed in its own University City outside Panama City and had an
enrollment of about 2,500 students in 1956-57.
All the universities in Central America and Panama are now
autonomous, the most recent to gain this status being the University
of Nicaragua in 1958. The universities of the five Central American
republics are organized into the Confederation of Central American
Universities, thus paralleling in the field of university education the
intergovernmental Organization of Central American States. The
Confederation created earlier this year a Permanent Secretariat to
promote various common interests, including the unification, in
fundamental aspects, of the respective universities' plans of study.
The Permanent Secretariat is provisionally located at the National

78 The Caribbean
University of Nicaragua until 1960, with its permanent seat planned
for the University of Costa Rica.
With respect to nonuniversity higher education, at least two of
these republics El Salvador and Honduras have Higher Normal
Schools for the education and training of secondary school teachers
(in all the republics save Honduras and Nicaragua such teach-
ers are, of course, also prepared in University Faculties or Schools
of Humanities, Philosophy, or Education). In Costa Rica, the reg-
ular normal schools, like the National University's School of Educa-
tion, now offer a two-year post-secondary program of preparation
for elementary school teachers.
Mention should also be made of the Inter-American Institute of
Agricultural Sciences at Turrialba, Costa Rica, an educational and
research institution sponsored by the Organization of American
States, which offers specialized instruction in agriculture. Through
its Escuela de Graduados (Graduate School), it has a program for
university graduates leading to a title comparable to a United States
Master's degree. It also offers special courses and programs for agri-
cultural specialists and technicians who are not university graduates.


The Pan American Union on its provisional list of institutions of
higher learning in Colombia includes 41 such institutions in 1959,
of which about 25 are public institutions. A few of these are schools
for advanced training in various special fields, most of them attached
to government Ministries. Public institutions with more generalized
offerings include the regular universities and several special Colom-
bian creations known as Colegios Mayores de Cultura Feminina
(Higher Colleges for Women). The public universities of Colombia
are either National or Departmental institutions. National univer-
sities are supported directly by National government funds and are
administered as National institutions. Departmental universities are
the fiscal responsibility of the Departments, which are the geo-
graphic units of governmental administration in Colombia, but also
receive direct financial assistance from the National government.
Their legal autonomy was affirmed in 1958.
The National universities are three in number. The first of these
is the National University of Colombia at Bogota, which traces its
history back to 1573 and which was established in its present form

in 1936 by bringing together various independent Faculties, Schools,
and Institutes. Generally considered the leading institution of higher
learning in Colombia and setting the pattern for other universities
in organization and minimum curriculum requirements, the National
University has a wide variety of professional offerings through its
various Faculties and Schools. Special studies and research func-
tions are carried on through its several Institutes in different fields,
and it also operates the National School of Fine Arts, the National
Conservatory of Music, the National Museum, and the National
Astronomical Observatory. Several of its Faculties maintain
branches in cities other than Bogota, and its Faculty of Agriculture
is located in Medellin. The National University has the largest
enrollment of Colombian universities, about 4,500 students in 1957.
The other two National universities are institutions primarily
for the preparation of secondary and normal school teachers. They
are the Universidad Pedag6gica de Colombia (Teachers University
of Colombia) at Tunja, for men, and the Universidad Pedag6gica
Nacional Feminina (National Teachers' University for Women).
Both are of recent origin, having been developed out of the pre-
vious Higher Normal Schools and organized as universities in 1953.
They consist of separate Faculties for the study of various academic
subjects, as well as for professional training in education and teach-
ing. The establishment at Tunja also has affiliated primary and
secondary schools.
The Departmental universities include those of Antioquia, Cal-
das, Cartagena, Atlantico, Cauca, Valle, and Popoyan. Some of
these universities were founded in the nineteenth century and
reorganized into their present form in more recent years; others
are of completely modern origin. The number and extent of their
respective Faculties vary from institution to institution, though
none has the breadth of Faculty offerings of the National Univer-
sity and some have as few as three or four. They generally include
also a number of institutes and schools, some at below-university
Another Departmental university of recent origin (1947), the
Industrial University of Santander, has devoted itself exclusively
to technological education and consists of six Faculties in various
branches of engineering. It is another institution which exemplifies,
however, the innovation in university education represented by the
inclusion of general culture and preprofessional courses in its cur-


The Caribbean

riculum. Its first year of work for all Faculties consists of a pre-
professional year in a separate Department of Mathematics and
Physics which includes not only basic physical sciences and mathe-
matics but courses in Humanities, Philosophy, and English. Other
institutions in Colombia, such as the University of Cartagena,
include in the first year's work in each Faculty a survey course
in the Humanities, as well as in foreign languages. The universities
of Colombia maintain close relations with each other and in 1958
established the Colombian Association of Universities.
The Colombian Colegios Mayores de Cultura Feminina, to which
reference has already been made, have been established, pursuant
to a law of 1945, to expand the facilities for the professional educa-
tion and training of women. To date three of these Colegios have
been set up, that of Antioquia at Medellin, that of Bolivar at Carta-
gena, and that of Cundinamarca at Bogota. They are national
institutions and offer various programs of specialized education,
some of which are at the higher education level. The Colegio Mayor
de Antioquia, for example, includes five schools Commercial Sci-
ences, Library Sciences, Social Service, Architectural Drawing, and


Public higher education in Venezuela is exclusively a function of
the central government, despite Venezuela's being the only federal
republic of the area other than Mexico. Of the country's eight
regular institutions of higher learning, five are national universities,
one is a teacher training institute, and two are private universities
founded within the past five years. Of the five public universities,
two were established in 1958 the University of Carabobo at
Valencia and the University of Oriente at Cumana. It is expected
that their Faculties and programs will emphasize higher techno-
logical education.
Of the older public universities the largest is the Central Univer-
sity of Venezuela at Caracas, which was established as a university
in 1725 and is now housed in the spectacular and physically well-
equipped University City. The University has eleven Faculties
with a wide variety of fields of study for degrees. The University
of the Andes at Merida assumed full university rank in 1810 and
now consists of eight Faculties. The newest of the three older uni-