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Education: The Strike Could Attain 75 Federal Institutions


At least 75 of the country’s 102 federal universities and institutes have called for protests this Wednesday, in response to the 30% blockade of budgets set by the Ministry of Education. They will be supported by state public universities from several states – including Sao Paulo, where USP, Unicamp and Unesp deans have convened teachers and students to “debate” the course of the area. One of the targets of the protest, Education Minister Abraham Weintraub said on Tuesday, 14, that universities must cease to be treated as “ivory towers” and did not rule out new contingencies.

Scientists and researchers from various institutions and students from private colleges also go to the protests called. This is the case, for example, of PUC-SP and Mackenzie. In addition to the higher education community, the core network also joined the paralysis. At least 33 of Sao Paulo’s main private schools will join the movement, despite the national federation of schools suggesting point-cut of misconduct. Apeoesp, the teachers’ union of the Sao Paulo state public school network, the largest in Latin America, called on the teachers to stop – the same was done by unions in the Sao Paulo network.

Acts in all states have been called by the largest student and union organizations in the country, including the National Union of Students (UNE) and the National Confederation of Education Workers (CNTE). In Brasilia, the MEC building has already dawned on Tuesday surrounded by men from the National Public Security Force. The executive secretary of the portfolio, Antoni Paulo Vogel, said the protection was requested by the federal government. “We have to be prepared to avoid any sort of problem, just like that.”

Autonomy and costs. Minister Weintraub said on Tuesday he was in favor until police entered the universities. “University autonomy is not sovereignty,” he said, during breakfast with reporters. He argued that in the past, the rule may have made sense, “but it is currently dispensable.”

He also stressed that the autonomy of institutions should also be given in the financial area, with the creation of mechanisms that allow the search for resources and sponsorship. “Today they can not … I’m not talking about charging, I’m against charging for undergraduates.” But, he added, “the ideal would be to create mechanisms for companies to become patrons of institutions, to build buildings, to put names in new facilities,” he said. “These ivory towers that we created prevent income from being generated for use in research.”

The minister shied away from commenting on the strike, but conditioned the release of blocked resources to the approval of the Social Security reform and did not rule out further cuts. Weintraub also sought to reduce the importance of the blockade suffered by the portfolio it leads, citing other ministries that have had larger contingencies, such as the Defense.

The minister said he had received 50 rectors since taking office and according to reports, the university account is up to date and “life is normal”. He reiterated that the blockade should only be felt in the second half. “If you have any problems, I’ll go to the Ministry of Economy to make an exception.”

In the afternoon, in an interview with Radio Jovem Pan, Weintraub again denied the 30% contingency – announced by the MEC itself. “Show the numbers, stop lying, we’re holding up 3.5 percent.”

In the morning, he had been dramatic in speaking about his brief period at the helm of the Ministry of Education. Less than two months after his inauguration, he complains of persecution. “I’m being hunted with baseball bat and hatchet, the number one enemy of all,” he said. “I’m being ground.”

Judge Renata Almeida de Moura Isaac, head of the 7th Civil Court of Salvador, requested that the Union justify, within five days, each of the budget blocks it imposed on higher education institutions in the country. The request is a consequence of the action on April 30, which called for the “immediate annulment” of the courts, on the grounds that Minister Abraham Weintraub (Education) publicly attributed the decision to a reprimand.