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Illiteracy Among Blacks in Brazil Is 17%. Among Whites, 7%.

Ending prejudice begins with education. With this motto, Brazil’s Ministry of Education’s (MEC) 3rd Black Awareness Week seeks to draw attention to the Brazilian government’s anti-racist policies in the country’s educational systems and the valorization of black personalities and performers.

According to the study, "Portrait of Inequalities – Race and Gender," done by the Applied Economics Research Institute (IPEA) and the United Nations Women’s Development Fund (UNIFEM), 16.8% of blacks aged 15 or more are illiterate, compared with 7.1% of the whites in the same age category.

Another important piece of data, discovered by the National Educational Research Institute (INEP), is that students of African descent are the ones who most frequently abandon school and repeat grades.

The minister of Education, Fernando Haddad, contends that it is a challenge to turn this situation around.

"Studies show that there is an abyss between the two Brazils (black and white), and it is up to government authorities to restore the unity of these two elements in a single Brazil," he remarked.

The singer Leci Brandão, who was among those invited to the ceremony to open the week, said that racial equality is only possible with a conscientious, smart, and organized nation.

"It’s in the classroom that citizens are formed; it’s in the classroom that a nation is changed," she asserted.

The 3rd Black Awareness Week, which was organized by the coordinating board of the MEC Civil Servants’ Group for Racial Equality, extends through December 2.

Various activities, dealing with issues related to blacks and the work of MEC educational administrators, are planned for several Brazilian cities,

Agência Brasil

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