Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said this Wednesday, February 22, in Marabá, in the northern state of Pará, that the program to extend higher education to the interior of Brazil will prepare qualified workers to meet the needs of the population and new regional labor market opportunities.
"This country’s multifunctionality, nowadays, demands eclectic citizens," Lula affirmed, after praising the partnership between the Federal University of Pará and the Vale do Rio Doce Company to train youth in the region.
Over the course of two days, the President visited six Brazilian states to take a close look at the installations on federal university campuses.
In his final engagement, in Marabá, Lula, accompanied by the Minister of Education, Fernando Haddad, said in a speech at the Federal University of Pará that the region possesses an "extraordinary" mining hub and, consequently, requires new course options geared to the job market.
When he referred to the federal government’s plan to expand higher education in the country, Lula recalled that he would have liked to attend a university but was unable to.
"I don’t want any youngster to turn 60, as I have, without a diploma. I want everyone to have access, because a university diploma represents the qualification of our youth," he pointed out.
On the Marabá campus, the federal government will invest US$ 352,000 (756.4 thousand reais) to build classrooms and laboratories for two new courses, with 70 openings in the initial stage. When the work is completed, the number of spots will rise to 300.
The two new courses, agronomy and information systems, will function alongside the existing courses in mining and environmental engineering, geology, and materials engineering.
According to information supplied by the Ministry of Education, the courses that are offered prioritize the qualification of specialized human resources in areas corresponding to the region’s potential – Marabá is the country’s largest multimineral zone, with deposits of iron, gold, and bauxite – as well as serving the needs of the diverse communities that inhabit the region, including Indians, ranchers, and landless rural workers.