By Advertising Reading, Brazil Is Trying to Sell Meat to Vegetarians

Reading promotion Finally, a Brazilian administration has perceived that it must promote reading in Brazil with part of the R$ 5.6 billion (US$ 2.8 billion) it spends annually on publicity. This is a laudable decision and it is gratifying to see these announcements during the breaks in the nighttime TV shows. 

Unfortunately, the advertising will have no effect upon the 14 million illiterate adults in Brazil or upon the 35 million who, while capable of reading the title of a book, cannot capture the message.

Few of the current 55 million elementary/secondary students will dedicate themselves to reading in the future because those who do acquire this aptitude in childhood and adolescence rarely are transformed into readers. Our schools, moreover, are not creating readers.

Minister of Culture Ana Hollanda’s campaign should be praised, but, at the same time, the administration should take the actions necessary to transform Brazil into a country of readers.

The first step is the revolution in elementary/secondary education, which is achieved through quality teachers with better salaries, better training, rigid selection and constant evaluation, through schools with attractive, comfortable, well-equipped buildings holding full-day sessions.

It is also achieved through methods that include reading as a substantial part of the educative process. All this demands federal responsibility for elementary/secondary education.

While the Ministry of Culture is using publicity to encourage reading, the Ministry of Education (MEC) takes care of the federal universities and the municipalities have to educate their children with their few resources.

The second step is the eradication of illiteracy, not only among teenagers and children over six years of age but also among adults. Few of these newly literate adults will become voracious readers. And to promote reading among the children it is necessary to have literate parents.

Third, it is necessary to make books less expensive by giving incentives to publishing houses and bookstores – at least equal to those given to the automobile industry – and by setting up libraries, theaters and movie houses since these cultural activities play an important role in the promotion of reading.

Finally, in the field of publicity, it would be more efficient to incorporate reading into the nighttime TV shows than to broadcast messages during the commercial breaks.

There would be an greater incentive to read if Tufão’s house had a bookcase, if Nina would appear reading The Art of War to inspire her strategies against Carminha, if Agatha, besides eating, went to school and read something, and if a young hero would successfully impress young women with his reading instead of his musculature.

Scenes like this are not filmed because, for the Brazilian public, they would seem exaggeratedly fantastic: a house with books, a child reading.

When all this is done, Brazil will not need a publicity campaign to promote reading.

I want to reaffirm, nevertheless, that without the combination of actions necessary to change elementary/secondary education, the Ministry of Education’s publicity messages will have no effect.

This would be like advertising meat in a country of vegetarians.

Cristovam Buarque (CBUARQUE@senado.gov.br) is a professor at the University of Brasília and a senator (PDT-DF).

Translated by Linda Jerome (LinJerome@cs.com).

Tags:

You May Also Like

EU Worries About Brazil Agricultural Competitiveness Before Signing Trade Agreement

Brazil’s agricultural competitiveness is a concern to countries and trade blocs negotiating agreements with ...

Violence and Corruption: Double Challenge for a Prosperous Brazil

The numbers from the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) are impressive: Brazil ...

3 Million Brazilians Overseas Might Vote for Congress

Brazilians living abroad can currently vote only in the presidential election. This situation will ...

Jambalaying in Rio

Introducing the Jambalaya Jazz Festival taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 6 ...

Brazil Loses Millions of Tons of Grains Due to Errors

Between 1996 and 2000 Brazil failed to harvest around 28 million tons of grains, ...

Google Has Only Until Tomorrow to Deliver the Goods to Brazil’s Justice

It ends this Friday, September 15, the time granted by Brazilian justice for Google ...

Despite Low GDP Brazil’s Economy Jumps from 15 to 11th Place in the World

Brazil became the leading Latinamerican economy in 2005, ahead of Mexico, and ranked eleventh ...

Brazil to Tell US: Our Sanitation Has Improved

This week Brazil and the United States will return to the negotiating table for ...

In Brazil, Rule of Law Is for the Birds

Brazil is a nation suffering from a substantial lack of commitment to the rule ...

Brazil to Increase Coffee Production by Up to 23% This Year

Coffee crop in Brazil this year may beat the 48.48 million bag record, the ...

WordPress database error: [Table './brazzil3_live/wp_wfHits' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed]
SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `wp_wfHits`