The Quota Law turns 10 in 2022, celebrated by its advocates as a milestone for affirmative action against inequality in higher education in Brazil. After sanction of President Dilma Rousseff, in August 2012universities and federal institutes should, little by little, reserve 50% of their vacancies for students from public schools, giving preference to candidates with a per capita income of less than 1.5 minimum wage, blacks, browns, indigenous people and people with deficiency.
An article by itself Law 12,711/2012 provided that it would be up to the Executive Branch to review this law, a competence that was withdrawn after an amendment in 2016. As only another law would have the power to extinguish or change the current legislation, dozens of projects have been presented in recent years in the National Congress. Among them, those that extend the deadline for the review, on the one hand, stand out; and those who defend the exclusion of ethnic-racial criteria for quotas, on the other.
Bira do Pindaré (PSB-MA) is the author of one of the many projects sent to the National Congress in favor of extending the law. However, to anticipate the need to strengthen a single project of the opposition to the government of Jair Bolsonaro (PL), he decided to accept the rapporteurship of another proposal prepared by several members of the PT bench and headed by Valmir Assunção (PT-BA).
“Valmir’s project goes further. He proposes the extension for 50 years and also the creation of an affirmative policy council in the MEC [Ministério da Educação] for constant evaluation, in addition to a ‘permanence grant’ policy to support quota holders, because this is a real problem. There are people who enter under this law, but are unable to stay in college”, defends the deputy.
Also read: Opinion | Quota Law has to be renewed so we can dream of a less unequal Brazil
Projects call for an end to quotas for blacks, quilombolas and indigenous people
For Friar David Santos, founder of the NGO Educafro, the attacks on the Quota Law date back to the period of its approval, when he helped mobilize buses full of black activists to put pressure on parliamentarians. “We knew it would be difficult because it would take away the privilege of the big, the ruling class who put their rich children in free public schools. We were sharing the pie, saying, ‘We poor people are also entitled to these public resources,’” he recalls.
In his opinion, the part of society that has taken a stand since that time against racial quotas, which includes the President of the Republic himself, “is against black people being aware of their rights”. He also states: “The right wants to remove the word ‘black’ and put ‘poor’. And we want you to keep what is there: ‘black’, ‘poor’, ‘indigenous’ and ‘quilombolas’. To name the victims of history so that injustices are not forgotten,” he emphasizes.
Friar David’s outcry makes references to proposals such as that of Professor Dayane Pimentel (PSL-BA), from 2019, who calls for an end to racial criteria, considering a policy that promotes “division among Brazilians” and that could even arouse “conflicts among Brazilians”. unnecessary socials”. Deputy Dr. Jaziel (PL-CE) resorted to similar arguments when he presented his PL 5.303/2019.
More recently, it was the turn of Kim Kataguiri (União Brasil-SP) to defend the end of what he called “positive discrimination” and “differentiated treatment” with regard to color, race and origin in the text of the project he sent to a committee of the Chamber of Deputies. in February this year. The three projects believe that the income criterion alone would be enough to correct inequality in access to education.
“We disagree with this view because we consider it denialist. A vision of those who somehow want to ignore the existence of racism in Brazil”, says Bira do Pindaré, who also considers the Quota Law “a very successful policy, which has played a fundamental role in the development of the country and increased the wealth of knowledge in the country”. parents”.
There is a lack of research that points to the results of law enforcement
Those who attend these teaching places, many of them recognized for their excellence, notice the progressive change in the profile of the students. That’s what Julia Oliveira Souza, 22, reports, is a quota student in the Collective Health course at the University of Brasília (UnB). “Before the quotas, only those who had access to UnB were rich whites. This change is very clear. […] In college, I met indigenous students, quilombolas, trans people, people who were not my acquaintances. The university opens up that space,” he argues.
One of the main complaints of parliamentarians to subsidize the debate is the lack of studies carried out by the Ministry of Education (MEC). “We keep getting data here and there from researchers, from someone who made an assessment, but nothing is more systematized”, laments Bira. It is unknown, for example, what the total number of quota students are currently enrolled in the country and what percentage of those who manage to finish the courses they enrolled in.
However, some data are known, such as the results of the Census of Higher Education 2019, carried out by the National Institute of Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira (Inep), which point out that whites (42.6%) are still the majority if they are added together. public and private universities. In the survey, people who self-declare as black add up to 7.1%; yellows, 1.7%; indigenous people, 0.7%; in addition to 16% of people not meeting the criteria.
Another survey carried out by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea), published in August 2020, points out that 36% of white young people aged between 18 and 24 are studying or have completed some degree. This percentage drops by half, 18%, when it comes to blacks and browns, far from the 33% target set for 2024 by the National Education Plan.
Considerations about the law
Frei David says he recognizes the advances of the Law of Quotas and, even so, points out problems. One of them concerns cases of fraud in the racial self-declaration process, supported by the lack of clear criteria on color and race. He regrets that “white brothers” have taken advantage of this fragility in the system to “obtain rights that do not concern them”, in addition to observing a “connivance” and even “permissiveness” of deans with cases of manipulation.
To present coercive initiatives to cases like these, several universities announced the creation of heteroidentification commissions. Each university has created its own rules and deadlines, such as UnB, which in 2020 expelled 15 students for defrauding the self-declaration, and which, from 2022, will carry out interviews before a diverse panel to evaluate case by case.
Another problem pointed out is the lack of support for low-income quota students to prevent the phenomenon of dropout, as provided for by the 2012 law. Frei David cites a personal survey: “Before the pandemic [de covid-19], of every 100 blacks who entered through quotas, 30 more or less had left for lack of one simple thing: housing allowance and food allowance. After the pandemic, we estimate that this rate has doubled and that, now, for every 100 black students, there are 60 dropouts”, he calculates.
The PSB deputy defends the need to create a mechanism for monitoring and correcting distortions, which for him does not prevent him from continuing to pursue the path. “We do not agree to ignore the reality that is set, of structural racism, of the rancidity of slavery. We will fight for racial quotas to be maintained”, he guarantees.
Editing: Rodrigo Durao Coelho