At the age of 20, Gilmar Tupã re sapy Chamrro was the first Avá Guarani of the family of seven to enter higher education. In 2019, after the publication of a public notice by the Federal University of Latin American Integration (Unila), he was selected based on his academic record, and not on a common entrance exam. The victory was also shared by about 10 other indigenous people from the same community. The selective process model, which used to be sporadic, has now been regulated through a resolution passed last Tuesday (27).
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It is estimated that the initiative should allow the university to have 200 students annually from indigenous communities. The measure is considered historical and can repair the difference between the representativeness of students as a percentage of the population.
Professor Clovis Antonio Brighenti, researcher on indigenous history at Unila, was part of the commission that drafted the resolution. According to him, in a decade, Unila had just over 200 indigenous students: less than 20 a year at a university focused on Latin America – in which 8% of the population is self-declared indigenous.
With the change, up to eight indigenous people will be able to join each class, totaling around 200 per year. “Now we have the possibility of having a number of vacancies compatible with this proportion of indigenous people in Latin America”, defends the professor.
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The measure is valid both for Brazilian indigenous people and for those who live in other countries on the continent and takes into account the cultural aspect of these peoples.
Clovis points out that within these cultures, the vision of the nation-state, imposed from the 19th century onwards, entered the communities, but does not belong to them, since the indigenous organization has to do with its cultural aspect.
“Indigenous people had and were forced to conform to these states, adopting nationalisms. So this idea of treating indigenous peoples with a supranational category overcomes these nationalisms from the national-states and dialogues with the perspectives of plurinational states, such as Bolivia, that recognized the presence of all indigenous peoples […] With Unila’s proposal, overcome, considering the indigenous people as indigenous.”
respect for education
Another factor, according to Clovis, is recognizing and respecting indigenous education. Today, some Brazilian universities offer specific university entrance exams for the communities, while others adopt the National High School Exam (Enem) exam.
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In the second format, part of the indigenous knowledge is left out and the preparation obtained in the communities often becomes incompatible with what is taught in non-indigenous schools, where study in pre-university courses and “third parties” is emphasized focused on the test that will give entrance to the university.
Gilmar, who entered through the model of analysis of school history, said that this is not an indigenous incapacity, but rather to allow equal access to peoples, respecting their culture.
“We know that for Enem it is more difficult. Not because the indigenous person doesn’t have the capacity, but because of the difficulty of competing with other non-indigenous people, even for the quotas. Due to the academic background, like Unila, I think it is more viable and this makes us more likely to enter a university of higher education”, points out Gilmar, who is studying a Degree in Geography and is part of the monitoring for indigenous people at Unila, keeping in touch with other indigenous peoples.
In addition, the integration of more indigenous peoples will allow for cultural exchange between students and will serve as an example and model for more indigenous people within communities to seek higher education.
Source: BoF Paraná
Edition: Lia Bianchini