In the centenary year of Paulo Freire, patron of Brazilian education, a figure who represents the conception of liberating, critical and awareness-raising education, we come across statements by the current minister of education, Milton Ribeiro, defending the technicality of teaching and a university, in his words: “for few”.
There are those who argue that the sentence in question was just a misplaced sentence by the minister, but the practice of dealing with issues relating to education in the administration of the Bolsonaro government shows us that this is not a misplaced sentence, but rather a misplaced sentence. another poorly placed minister, with a view to meeting the government’s project to dismantle education.
In a scenario of budget cuts for education, university scrapping, attempts to privatize public universities and interventions in rectory.
Actions carried out by the still minister Weintraub added to the latest statements of current minister Milton Ribeiro, the true face of the concept of education of an authoritarian extreme right-wing government is presented: to train subjects with technical capacity to serve the market and not conscious subjects who produce knowledge at the service of the community.
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The false dichotomy between technical education and a university career, presented between the lines by Minister Milton Ribeiro, is an attempt to throw students onto opposite sides of the struggle in defense of education. But education cannot serve as a bargaining chip, and students cannot be coerced into having to choose where federal investments in education should go.
The destination of investments must serve all educational institutions. The only choice students must be subjected to is to have the right to decide which educational institution they will enter.
Milton Ribeiro’s administration at the Ministry of Education, however, is marked by the regrettable record of the lowest number of enrollments in the National Secondary Education Examination (ENEM) in the last 15 years, with only 3.1 million enrolled to take the test. access to Higher Education, according to a survey by Inep.
The low number of subscribers for the 2021 edition of ENEM is a multifactorial fact, none of which is the lack of interest from students, as the federal government tries to justify, but, above all, the disregard for the agendas of education.
The drop is directly related to the rules for obtaining the registration fee exemption – which provided that if a student who requests the fee waiver does not attend the exam, he is not entitled to receive it the following year. Due to the pandemic, however, more than half of the participants abstained from attending the exam in 2020. To grant exemption again to students who missed last year, the MEC did not accept the fear of contagion by covid-19 as a justifiable reason . In other words: those who failed to take the test because they did not want to expose themselves to the risk of becoming contaminated lost the right to exemption in this edition.
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In a scenario of economic crisis, where the poorest students are already financially disadvantaged, and due to remote education, which was less effective for this portion of students, the Bolsonaro government demonstrates its lack of commitment to education and to democratization of education.
The posture of the Ministry of Education should have been at least to review this tax exemption rule, but this inaction, added to the declarations that the university space should be for a few, reveals the true face of the Bolsonaro government’s education project: a project of exclusionary education, which does not have accessibility and popularization of higher education in its programmatic horizon.
On a recent visit to Ceará, for the inauguration of the new campus of the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) in Itapajé, minister Milton Ribeiro was welcomed with a protest organized by the political forces that build the student movement, members of the UFC’s Central Directory of Students and students from various courses who went to express their discontent with the education project that has been woven by the current minister’s administration.
The students, who were exercising their democratic right to protest, were met with a disproportionate reaction of truculence on the part of the (patrimonial) guards of the Federal University of Ceará, who, in theory, should play the role of valuing the material structure of the university.
But the management of the UFC rectory, in line with the Bolsonaro government, combined with the management of the MEC of the Bolsonaro government, uses all weapons to attack students, even going against the defined role of the institution’s security and providing tools for their individual interests.
The harassment made by the group of students to the minister of education is an expression of indignation at the project to dismantle education, as well as the willingness of the student class to defend education. The 2019 education tsunamis mobilized students to fight the Bolsonaro government’s attacks, and this mobilization has acquired a permanent character of awareness and appropriation of students in the defense of education agenda and the need for an inclusive, democratic and popular conception of the teaching.
It is time to exercise in practice Paulo Freire’s legacy and build the paths for the conception of a critical, awareness-raising and liberating education, socially engaged and at the service of social progress, of education.
This education will be built by the mobilization of students who historically in Brazil play an important role at the forefront of the defense of the Brazilian nation and people, and in the current conjunctural moment have the historical task of defeating this authoritarian and anti-popular conception of education represented by Bolsonaro government.
*Member of the National Coordination of the Popular Youth Rising and Director of UNE
***This is an opinion piece. The author’s vision does not necessarily express the newspaper’s editorial line Brazil in fact.
Source: BoF Ceará
Edition: Francisco Barbosa