The conversion of part of Brazil’s foreign debt into investments in education was one of the topics discussed at a meeting between the Brazilian Minister of Education, Fernando Haddad, and the Spanish Vice President, Maria Tereza Fernandez de La Veja. Brazil’s debt to Spain comes to approximately US$ 25 million.
According to Haddad, “the two governments will establish an international cooperation agenda to pardon the debts and, at the same time, receive investments.”
The agenda will also make it possible to verify that “a specific sovereign gesture of one country implies effective support for a specific project.”
During the meeting it was decided that between now and October, when the two governments are scheduled to meet in Salamanca, Spain, work groups from the two countries will deepen the debate over the criteria to adopt for the conversion proposal to go into effect.
“The criteria still need more polishing, to assure the country that is pardoning part of the debt that there will be real investments in education. For this reason, all scrutiny concerning the accounting of this project is important,” the Minister declared.
According to Haddad, these accounting criteria need to be rigorously determined. “It is possible through accounting procedures to show that there were greater investments in education as a result of a specific act of debt-pardoning, when in fact there weren’t.
“What we want to do is to shield the project so that additional support for education can actually be corroborated, through one country’s generous gesture on behalf of an educational project settled by mutual accord.”
The cooperation between Brazil and Spain also calls for investments in training teachers in Spanish language instruction.
A law signed last Friday, by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva made it mandatory to offer Spanish classes in public and private secondary schools. Schools will have five years to comply with the new law.