The New People's Army in Isabela province, in the northern Philippine region of Cagayan Valley, has recently developed a literacy and numeracy program especially designed for NPA members who do not know how to read, write and do simple math.
The NPA primary education program, called LitNum, is conducted in formal classroom style where two or more students of equal ability, participate. Advanced programs are also available for Red fighters who already know how to read and count, so that they can further develop their skills.
A great number of NPA Red fighters come from the peasantry and national minorities, many of whom never had an opportunity to attend primary school.
According to NPA Cagayan Valley, LitNum is designed to give the Red fighters more confidence to lead political activities among the local communities. Some of the subjects taught are Reading Comprehension; Listening and Understanding; Creative and Technical Writing; Basic Math and Public Speaking. There are also lessons on science and history.
LitNum uses a variety of teaching methods, including theatrical forms referencing the local culture. According to NPA Cagayan Valley, one proven method is ‘Song Analysis’ where students listen and explain the message of songs, which develops critical thinking. Students also participate in workshops on poetry and essay writing, focusing on revolutionary themes.
Red fighters in the LitNum program learn to listen, take notes, comprehend and take tests during classes on science and history. A Marxism-Leninism-Maoism dictionary has also been developed containing common words used in the studies and concrete examples of how the terms are used.
The NPA instructor’s group has also developed a curriculum adopted to students with dyslexia. A student is asked to use pieces of wood and strings to represent letters and numbers which otherwise cannot be recognized or distinguished when written down.
Literacy and numeracy classes are also taking place in various communities throughout the archipelago under the auspices of the New People’s Army and local organs of the people’s democratic government.