Former minister arrested by the Federal Police with pastors, accused of turning the Ministry of Education (MEC) into a business desk, with the right to bribes in gold bars. Billionaire budget cut after more than two years of pandemic. Another former minister investigated by the STF who leaves office and goes, in a hurry, to the United States.
It sounds like a tragicomic fiction script, but these episodes are part of the recent history of public education in Brazil.
Currently under the management of engineer Victor Godoy Veiga, the MEC announced, in early June, that it will cut R$1.6 billion in funds earmarked for the area. The news, which implies a 7.2% reduction in the budget for federal universities, UFRJ once again announces that it is in danger of closing its doors.
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The cut in education spending comes at a time when, four months before the election, President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) seeks to please civil servants with a readjustment. In addition to federal universities, the scissor will reach the National Education Development Fund (FNDE); the National Institute of Educational Studies and Research (Inep), the autarchy responsible for Enem; and Capes, which funds scientific research in the country.
Budget dehydration is the most remarkable achievement of the administration of Godoy Veiga, who took over the portfolio on March 29 to try to placate the corruption scandal involving the previous minister of the portfolio, Pastor Milton Ribeiro.
In fact, there are many ways to tell the story of the dismantling of public education during the Bolsonaro administration. One of them is going through each of the four ministers that his government put at the head of the MEC, in a period of just over three and a half years. Almost five ministers, if we want to count the meteoric appearance of Carlos Decotelli, he resigned before taking office, as the fanciful additions he made to his own curriculum were revealed.
Through the main actions (or lack of them) in each of these periods, it is possible to show how the attacks on Brazilian education, which resists weakened, are not occasional. On the contrary, the BdF explica as they are the result of an institutional political project that is underway.
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Editing: Thalita Pires