Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva defended the importance of investments in education Brazil’s development and, therefore, asked the Congress to approve the Basic Education Maintenance and Development Fund (Fundeb) before the end of the year.
"In education, Brazil cannot do without nor lose any more time," Lula said at the opening session of the 3rd National Conference on Science, Technology, and Innovation.
Through Friday (18) the meeting, which is being held in Brasília, will discuss new policies for the sector.
The President emphasized that the most powerful countries nowadays are the ones that possess scientific knowledge.
"These countries are the ones most capable of determining their own destiny, of defending their sovereign interests at international negotiating tables, and of seeking social justice in the best manner. This is what we are attempting to do for Brazil," Lula affirmed.
He mentioned the investments made during the past three years in the area of science and technology, such as the 54.6% increase in scholarship funds, in comparison with 2002.
According to the President, the country will have 9,500 new recipients of doctoral degrees by the end of this year and 10,600 next year.
Lula also referred to the increase in transfers to the National Scientific and Technological Development Fund. In 2006 the fund’s resources will grow from US$ 364 million to US$ 545 million.
The President recalled the approval of the Innovation Law, which grants partial income tax exemption to firms that hire holders of master’s and doctoral degrees in scientific fields, the Biosecurity Law, which will facilitate research involving embryonic stem cells, and the Informatics Law, which extends the sector’s tax incentives through 2019.
The conference brings together professors, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Brazil has 50 thousand scientists, responsible for 1.7% of the world’s academic production.