The Grenada Revolution Online

Organizations and Programs

The People's Revolutionary Government (PRG) had visions of social programs to aid the general welfare of the people of Grenada. Some of these programs had begun before 13 March 1979, and were enlarged after the new government settled into power. Some were newly developed.

The high energy and collaborative spirit of the population was strong during a large portion of 1979 and through 1980, even into 1981. Typical of the spirit of the times, The Free West Indian staff writers wrote the following in March 13, 1981:

In a real democracy, like the one being built in Grenada, the most important role rests with the people . . . In a real democracy, the people don't sit back and wait for politicians to remember election promises because the people are the politicians.

Mass participation was the name of the day. Bishop talked about popular democracy and posed a question:

What has this new and popular democracy made evident?

(a) It underscores the fundamental principle of our party and government: the involvement and presence of the people in all aspects of national development.

(b) The replacement of old structures of privilege and elitism by new forms which allow the increasing participation of the people in all the revolutionary process.

(c) The involvement of the people increasingly calls for more, not less, education . . . Popular democracy does not stand on the same ground as ignorance, myth, and superstition. Genuine democracy—the ability to participate, and the exercise of that right—implies the right to information and the critical mastery of knowledge. That is why one of the slogans of the revolution has been: ‘Only an educated and productive people can be truly free.’

Was the energy and enthusiasm for the Revo sustained? Like visualizing a game where you come out the winner because you have the trick moves, how the game is actually played, move by move, determines the final outcome. Marable, in his book African & Caribbean Politics, indicated an important clue to judgment of the outcome of participatory democracy:

For several years, about half of all adults in the country attended weekly meetings. But by 1982-1983 participation began to decline: not a single NJM Central Committee member attended even one Zonal Council meeting in the last eighteen months of the revolution.

Many of these programs were financed directly and indirectly by the Cuban Government. Estimations are there were 60 Cuban educators and trainers on Grenadian soil during the time of the PRG. The statistics listed below, primarily of numbers of those who participated in programs, is taken directly from governmental sources. Evaluation of the programs itemized here varies widely, is primarily heresay, and awaits analytical study. The program descriptions below are introductory summaries.

Sign - Builders of the Revolution

Community Groups, Zonal Councils, Parish Councils,
Workers' Parish Councils and Parish Co-ordinating Bodies,
Community Work Brigades

Conceived of as a country-wide system where residents, country and city, could discuss their concerns with PRG leaders and other officials, a placement of 8 Parish council meetings was in place as early as 1978. When this proved to unwieldly, the parish was divided into 18, one source says 36 zones, for country-wide Zonal Council meetings. There were also parish meetings focusing on sectors of the population - women, youth, farmers, and workers. These groups were considered parallel to the Zonal Councils. Parish, Zonal and mass organization representatives went to a National conference of Delegates. This National Conference would filter resolutions to the Central Committee.

The Center for Popular Education (CPE)


The Center for Popular Education (CPE) started in full swing during September 1980 with a core group of 1000 to 1500 volunteer tutors who worked in all parts of mainland Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique to reduce adult illiteracy. The CPE was based on the principle that one is never too old to learn. Another important concept was that education does not end when school or schooling ends. CPE volunteers participated under the slogan 'each one teach one.' Its goal was to bring about a third of Grenada's illiterate adults to a level of basic literacy within six months. And this happened by February 1981 when 881 people received completion of course certificates, a reduction of illiteracy, according to PRG figures, by 49%; primarily of women as teachers and students. For more information from Prime Minister Maurice Bishop link to his speech of 30 October 1980 Education is a Must!

This programme was based on the Cuban model of adult education with Cuban experts conducting pedagogical studies of the Grenadian school system in September 1979; making recommendations and giving technical aid. Jamaica JAMAL, Freire. The CPE was under the initial administration, of Valerie Cornwall, followed by Didacus Jules. The first text title page and a page from that text are displayed.

Let Us Learn Together - CPE text

After the first phase of this mass literacy campaign ended February 1981, Phase II of March 1982 saw the program moving toward completion of primary education for adults with a program of basic English, Mathematics, Geography and Natural Science and Grenadian History; a post-literacy program.

Three Adult Education texts were published for Phase II by the collaboration between the Centre for Popular Education of the Ministry of Education, Grenada and the Publishing House Pueblo y Educación of the Ministry of Culture, Cuba, ©Centre for Popular Education, Grenada, 1982, published in Havana. Below is an example of the title page for the second volume and a page from the mathematics section.

Adult Education Book 2   Geometry

National In-Service Teacher Education Programme (NISTEP)
and the Community Day School Programme (CDSP)

The all-island 30 October 1980 National In-Service Teacher Education Programme (NISTEP) and the companion program the Community Day School Programme (CDSP) reflected initiatives to increase the educational level of Grenadian young people. Great emphasis was put upon the relation of education to production; notably production of workers in the cocoa, the nutmeg, the banana, and in the agro-industries. Fisheries and tourism were also considered sectors of the economy that produced wealth. Production included the lessening of unemployment, focusing on youth. The point was made that education was costly and increases were clearly in the future.

NISTEP staff worked in tandem with the University of the West Indies School of Education and Cuban advisors. Marable's research revealed that “NISTEP was designed to improve the skills of 612 untrained teachers within a three-year period, and to standardize the nation's school curriculum.

According to Pryor,

In its first year, about half of the primary and secondary teachers on the island participated in the program, which involved teachers attending an all-day training session once a week and receiving a salary increase upon successful completion of the program. Complementing NISTEP was the Community Day School Program (CDSP), in which members of the community would take over the classes while the teachers were in training to take the children on field trips and help them learn practical skills.

Practical skills included sewing, agriculture, handicraft, patois, culture, story-telling, school beautification and so on. On the CDSP days, the Primary and Junior Secondary schools would change their normal time schedules and use one of the speciality subject skills class taught by Community Volunteers.

The stated objectives of the CDSP-supported Community School Councils were 1) to make the school the centre of the Community, and so promote a sound relationship between the two; 2) to involve the school and Community in building the nation through joint work; 3) to develop work study approach and so make students conscious of the relationship between theory and practice; 4) to help with the formation of a new curriculum by a) linking school and community, b) experimental use of new ideas and experience, c)showing the importance of the new approach to study; 5) to offer a different outlook on life and prepare students to participate more productively in the building of the nation; 6) to awaken hidden talents in the students and community; 7) to develop and encourage both quality and quantity towards greater production, and 8) to promote a keen sense of patriotism. In a nutshell, these Community-School Councils were to oversee Programme days, supervise school meals programs, organize school repairs and regulate truancy.

Higher Education, Multi-National
Scholarship Programme and UWI

Free secondary education was provided to Grenadian students after September, 1981.

Many students took the opportunity to study abroad in programs offered through the auspices of the PRG. Student scholarships were offered for university studies, political/military studies and technical training by Cuba, the Soviet Union, German Democratic Republic (GDR), Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria. Over 175 scholarships were awarded by Cuba alone from 1979 through 1981. Over 750 Grenadian civilians were trained by Cuba either in Cuba or in Grenada during the first couple of years of the PRG. Under the PRG, with Cuban aid, new educational institutions were formed: a School of Pharmacy, a hotel workers' training school, a school for children with needs for special education, a fishing school, the Mirabeau Farm School, the School of Nursing, and the Institute for Further Education.

The NJM also began repayment of the debt Gairy carried, owed to the University of the West Indies regional system.

National Women's Organization
Photo, The Resource Center

National Women's Organization sign
Photo, The Resource Center

The National Women's Organization (NWO)

The National Women's Organization challenged women to be fully part of the developmental process of the nation - "Women, Step Forward!"

Founded in December 1977 as the 'Progressive Women's Organization' was the Women's Arm of the New Jewel Movement (NJM). The group was renamed the NJM National Women's Organization in May 1980 and opened its ranks to general membership. At its height the number of groups reached approximately 100. During 1981, reports state that membership of the National Women's Organisation doubled, reaching about 3000 women, or one out of every eight women in Grenada. The creation of pre-school nurseries and primary school was a joint venture between NWO, other community groups and the government.

Maternity Leave Law

See People's Laws 1980 and Maternity Leave Law

Ministry of Education, Women's Desk
School Book and Uniform Programme

Primarily for low-income mothers without support, a $20,000US fund was established August, 1980, for assistance in purchasing school books and uniforms. The fund increased by September 1981 to $75,000US for the neediest families. Showing an increase of over 200% from 1980, EC$60 thousand was set as part of the 1981 budget in a program administered by the Women's Desk in the Ministry of Education. The program was designed to assist needy students at primary, secondary and junior secondary levels to purchase books and school uniforms. a potential recipient made application through NJM Parish Offices.

School Repair Programme

National House Repair Programme

Free Milk and Subsidized School Meals Programme

Free milk was provided to all primary and pre-primary school children. Subsidized meals were provided to nearly half of all school children.

Land Reform and Co-operative Movements, The National Co-operative Development Agency (NACDA), House Repair Programme

The National Cooperative Development Agency was created in April 1980 under the Ministry of Agriculture. Loans, training, equipment and land were given to NACDA groups. Farming co-operatives were to be a partial solution for chronic unemployment with production and achievement beneficial to all participants.

Unions - Farmers' Unions, Trade Unions

Mobilizing School Children

The National Youth Organization (NYO), plus The National Students' Council, the Pioneer Movement

At its start in June 1978, the National Youth Organization (NYO) was selective, but by April 1980 NYO became a mass organization of approximately 85 groups of young people. The claim of increase to 185 groups, nearly 8,000, by a year later is from NJM statistics.

Young Pioneers

The Pioneer Movement was for children of six years to twelve. Children were taught about Grenada, its heroes and culture.

Student Councils

Militia Training

Secondary School Cadet Corps

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