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Brazil Wants Indians in College

The Ministry of Education (MEC) is encouraging Indian students to acquire higher education, so that they can contribute to basic education in Brazilian villages. The MEC intends to graduate four thousand Indian teachers over the next four years.

"Our challenge is to graduate these teachers, urgently, so that they can go to work in native schools," said the MEC's General Coordinator of Indigenous School Instruction, Professor Kleber Matos.

Data from the Ministry reveal that there are 2,179 native schools in Brazil operating within Indian territories, but most offer only grades 1-4, for lack of teachers with higher education.

The Coordinator emphasized that the MEC currently counts on a network of universities and faculties to receive these students.

He recalled, as well, that all types of inclusion of native students in higher education are encouraged by the MEC, not just admission to licentiate degree courses, which grant teaching certificates, but also to regular courses, such as Law, Medicine, and Dentistry.

At the beginning of the year, the University of Brasí­lia made the unprecendented gesture, in Brazil, of reserving 15 places for Indian students.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva informed the Council of Economic and Social Development (CDES), last May, that the government will send Congress two bills that will ease the ingress of students from low-income families into tuition-free, federally-run universities called "public" universities, as well as tuition-charging private universities.

The government's idea is to have public universities reserve half of their enrollment for students coming out of public high schools. That works out to around 60,000 places.

"This is a way for us to promote racial equality in public universities," said Lula, explaining that some of the places will be automatically reserved for Blacks and Indians.

With regard to unemployment, Lula once again expressed the government's concern. He cited the Soldier Citizen program as one of the action plans to deal with the problem. That program will create 30,000 jobs through an enlarged enlistment in the Armed Forces beginning in August.

Annually some 70,000 recruits go into the Armed Forces. This year that number will rise to 100,000. The program will provide them with professional training and, when they complete their tour of duty, job placement opportunities.

Lula also announced a renovated First Job Program, with less red tape and more incentives for businesses to hire first-time workers.

Agência Brasil

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