Brazil’s various state-run enterprises have committed themselves to developing educational projects in four areas the government considers strategic priorities: strengthening and expanding public universities (which are tuition-free); expanding technical and professional courses; improving the quality of elementary education; and, eliminating illiteracy and social exclusion.
According to Minister of Education, Tarso Genro, speaking at a forum on the issue, at the moment, state-run enterprises are involved in some 200 educational projects, but they are not coordinated.
“We are using this forum (Fórum das Estatais pela Educação) to give direction and control to the work that is being done.”
An example of what the project can do which was cited by the Minister is the so-called “factory floor” school program that will become operational next year.
The schools will be located within state-run enterprises where students can be prepared for work in their areas of activities, either in the public or the private sector.
Genro says the government’s state-run enterprises are willing participants.
“They can play an important role. They have various types of resources, besides physical facilities. Professional training and literacy projects will be their strong suit,” declared the Minister.
Genro went on to say that one aspect of the university reform project is to expand polytechnic type institutions around the country.
“These universities must be linked to regional development needs. A local state-run enterprise meets that requirement and can help the university fit in,” said the Minister.
Minister José Dirceu, the presidential Chief of Staff, who coordinates the forum, says that Brazil is trying to pay off a debt it has with education.
The state-run enterprise sector is a powerful, efficient research engine that we can put to work in the education sector, he said. But the development train is running late and we have to bring the future to the present right now, said the minister. “Brazil cannot wait,” he declared.
Translator: Allen Bennett