Prejudice plays major role in lack of motivation in most schools in Brazil, this is what reveals an unprecedented research released June 17th, by Fundação Instituto de Pesquisas Econômicas – FIPE (Economic Research Institute Foundation). Following interviews with over 18,500 students, parents, teachers, principals and school staff from 501 public schools in Brazil, the study revealed that 99.3% of the people admit having some type of prejudice varying from ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, or geographic discrimination.
The research – a pioneer project aiming to provide subsidies for the implementation of actions promoting diversity in Brazil school system – was requested by the Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisas Educacionais Anísio Teixeira – INEP (National Institute of Educational Research and Studies Anísio Teixeira).
The so-called “Prejudice and Discrimination in the School Environment” by FIPE, indicated that 96.5 % of the interviewees as being prejudiced against physically challenged individuals, while 94.2% against certain specific ethnicities. 93.5% also affirmed discriminating against gender, while 91% against age.
Social class-based prejudice also was included as case-study among 87,5% of the ones being interviewed. In addition, the statistics also pointed out that 87.3% of people somewhat discriminate against particular sexual orientation, and 75.95% of the discrimination numbers are territory based (geographic prejudice).
According to the project coordinator, José Afonso Mazon, Professor of Economy, Business Administration and Accounting from University of São Paulo (FEA), the research concluded that prejudice is mostly widespread within the school environment and it affects everyone.
“There is no one that being prejudiced towards one aspect, will not be towards another. The majority of people will discriminate in 3 or 5 different areas. The fact that prejudice is so generalized amongst people is very preoccupying,” affirmed Mazon.
Considering discrimination intensity levels, the research showed that 38.2 % of the people were strongly prejudiced against gender, especially in relation to women. Ageism hit a 37.9% mark, affecting mostly senior citizens. 32.4% strongly discriminated those with special needs (physically challenged).
Sexual orientation was also a concern hitting a 26.1% high. Social Economic class reached a 25.1% intensity. Racial discrimination came with 22.9% mark, and geographic prejudice came in last with a 20.6% figure.
Most people interviewed confessed keeping certain groups at a distance. The ones suffering the most with social exclusion are the mentally challenged with a 99.9% rejection rate, homosexuals follow after with 98.9% rejection level.
Gypsies come in third place with a rejection mark of 97.3%. Physically challenged are also affected with a 96.2% rejection. Indigenous people 95.3%, underprivileged or poor citizens with 94.9%. Residents of the favelas (shantytowns) 94.6%. Rural workers 91.1%, and afro-Brazilians 90.9%.
According to Daniel Chimenez, director of Studies and Continued Evaluation for the Secretary of Education, Alphabetization and Diversity (Secad) from MEC (Ministry of Culture and Education), such numbers will be analyzed with the intention of making school environment an appropriate place where social relations can be expanded.
“There are initiatives already being conducted by MEC (in relation to diversity), what needs to be improved is how to get deeper into this issue, expanding its coverage, and perhaps even to the extent of creating a course within the school arena, reflecting upon all of these issues, and tackle it with an integrated approach,” affirmed Chimenez.
There was no further analysis of whether history played any factor in sculpting prejudices in Brazil and integrating it in the national sub-consciousness, or any debate over the role of parental education, religious awareness, and media.
Prejudice is not the only concern making headlines for Brazil’s Educational System. In a recent study released early last week by OCDE (Economic Development Cooperation Organization), the country is also on top of the list, when it comes to student indiscipline. Roberto De Leão, president of Education Workers National Confederation did not find such information alarming.
“I have not read the latest research about the indiscipline, but I know for a fact that much of a teacher’s time is consumed in tasks, that is not part of the nature of the job. Most of the time, teachers have to act as psychologist, social worker. It looks as though all social problems converge to the classroom.”
Edison Bernardo DeSouza is a journalist, having graduated from the Pontifical Catholic University in São Paulo, Brazil. He lived in the US and Canada for close to 10 years and participated in volunteering activities in social works agencies. DeSouza currently lives in São Paulo where he teaches English as a Second Language for both private English Language Institute and Private High-School. He has already participated as an actor in three English plays in Brazil and is pursuing further advancements in his career. He is particularly interested in economics, history, politics and human rights articles.