Brazilian students in public schools around the country are getting hands-on experience in the oversight of the use of public monies in their cities. Ironically, for months now, the country has been engulfed in a scandal involving public money.
Through a program called, National Fiscal Education, which is coordinated by the ministries of Education and Finance, along with state authorities, teachers have been trained to teach fiscal education.
The program was created in 1996 at the suggestion of the National Council for Financial Policy (Confaz), which consists of state secretaries of Finance. It has trained 124,000 teachers who have given classes to over 4 million students in 2,000 cities.
The classes focus on four subjects: the Social Context of Fiscal Education, the State-Society Relationship, the National Tax System, and Democratic Management of Public Resources. Besides classes, students attend seminars and do research projects.
According to the program executive secretary, Manoel José Forero, the idea is to have a community with the means to understand how public money is spent in Brazil. “Citizens should be aware of how their tax money is used,” says Forero.