Brazil Takes Portuguese to East Timor

Brazil’s Ministry of Education is calling up trained Brazilian teachers with teaching experience to sign up for the Training Program for Teachers and Portuguese Language Instructors in East Timor.

Fifty teachers will be chosen. They will each receive a monthly subsidy of US$ 1.1 thousand. Their contracts will last 12 months renewable for another 12.


The teachers chosen for the program will conduct research and train teachers in East Timor, in addition to giving Portuguese classes in local schools.


The Coordination for the Training of University Personnel (Capes), the foundation in charge of the Ministry of Education’s program, is accepting candidates from various academic fields – mathematics, Portuguese, physics, chemistry, biology, and administration.


According to Maria Luiza Carvalho, an analyst in the Capes general coordination office for international cooperation, one of the aims of the program is to expand cooperation in the educational area between Brazil and East Timor, as well as to train teachers and administer Portuguese classes in that country.


Carvalho explained that this is a priority program of the Brazilian government, since Brazil has decided to provide support to Portuguese-speaking countries.


“At present, Brazil has as one of its goals to back Portuguese-speaking countries, and Timor chose Portuguese as the country’s official language. This program will fortify and spread the mother tongue.”


Carvalho also explained that East Timor is having considerable difficulties in expanding the country’s school system, due to the lack of resources and teachers trained to do their job.


For this reason, she contends, the recipients of the grants will work at various levels of the educational system – in the university, in the Institute of Adult Education, and in the interior of the country – to carry out these training activities.


Besides the monthly grant, the teachers who are selected will receive health insurance, a moving subsidy, plane fare, and training. More information about the program is available at the site www.capes.gov.br.


East Timor is currently considered one of the world’s poorest countries. There are over 30 dialects. The country’s official languages are Portuguese and Tetum, which is spoken by a large part of the population.


According to Leonardo Sakamoto, a researcher at the University of São Paulo (USP), Portuguese became a symbol of the independence struggle, because it was the language used by the resistance movement and was proscribed by the Indonesian government.


Translation: David Silberstein
Agência Brasil

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