Brazil's Ministry of Educationâ€™s (MEC) Afro-Atitude Program will distribute 500 scholarships to students of African descent. The US$ 88 (241 Brazilian reais) grant will go to ten federal and municipal universities that already have established the affirmative action quota program for blacks.
Resources will be used for research on the social, economic, and cultural status of Afro-Brazilians, as well as on Aids.
The general idea is to stimulate universities to adopt quota programs as well as to benefit the 500 students that have already entered higher education through quotas.
MECâ€™s Affirmative Action consultant in the Secretariat of Higher Education, Déborah Santos, said that each university will receive 50 scholarships.
According to Santos, the program is a way of keeping students in school. "With this small contribution, they will probably be able to pay for books or transportation."
Student performance and projects will be considered in the selection process. Santos explained that each university developed a project, and that coordinators will select 50 of these university students. She says that the main criterion will be the students' social-economic situation.
"We consider these scholarships very important, because it is not enough to grant access to public schools for students we know have financial difficulties, and not be able to keep them in the university," said the consultant. Santos says that these students have a higher performance than the others.
The program was launched on December 1st, 2004, and is currently coordinated by the Ministries of Health and Education, and by the Special Secretariats for Human Rights and for the Promotion of Racial Equality
Translation: Andréa Alves