[08/20/07] MST Informa #140: National Campaign in Defense of Public Education
Dear Friends of the MST,
In this bulletin we want to talk about a very important topic for Brazil: education. But it’s impossible to speak about education without engaging in an important discussion about the economic policy that the Brazilian state has put into practice. An increase in investment in public education is the basis for every transformation in teaching in the country, which begins by increasing the number of vacancies, with conditions for access and remaining in school until arriving at an improvement in the quality of teaching. Improving quality requires structure, an investment in research and valorizing educational professionals.
Currently only 3.5% of the Gross National Product is invested in education, half of the 7% that was the goal in the National Plan for Education, which passed in January 2001. With the lack of investment in education, Brazilian public education goes down a road without exit: condemned to be scrapped completely, held hostage by a logic of commodification, which subjugates knowledge to private interests.
To change this logic is to struggle for the State to retake its role as the provider of social rights, guaranteeing quality public education for all. And in this sense, we in the MST along with other movements in the educational sector, today, August 20, begin the National Campaign in Defense of Public Education. We want quality education based on humanistic values and not subjugated to the interests of the market.
Our role in this struggle is to organize the thousands of Landless throughout the country for a broad and organized demonstration of our dissatisfaction with the state of Brazilian public education. We want education to be a universal right for everyone, but we need specific public policies for the countryside, which today is excluded. We are struggling for public schools to be built in settlement areas and encampments to ensure education at all levels.
We uphold the right of universal access to basic education and we raise the demand for literacy programs. This demand we put into practice with the National Literacy Campaign in the MST – Every Landless Person Studying, whose objective is to build terrorities that are free from illiteracy. We also have a commitment to the demand for the democratization of knowledge and for this, in August we began the National Campaign for Solidarity with the MST Libraries, whose goal is to collect 150 thousand books for the libraries in settlements and encampments throughout Brazil and for the training centers in the states, including the Florestan Fernandes National School, located in Guararema (SP).
We struggle for the universal right to higher education. For this we join with other sectors of society to democratize access to the university, with affirmative action policies to enroll and keep students, for quality teaching, investment in research and the valorization of the trainees. Besides this, we continue in defense of public universities in the rural areas, with courses based on the reality of the Brazilian countryside, that can form citizens with the critical capacity to seek solutions for the problems of the people and not to serve the interests of the accumulation of wealth for the profits of the large corporations.
For all of this, we call on the landless and all those who are dissatisfied with the current state of Brazilian education, whose outrage propels them to struggle for universal quality public education that is socially relevant. We reproduce below the letter with the main demands that are the result of the struggle of the social movements and the groups that head up the Campaign for Education.
Good struggle to everyone!
National Secretariat of the MST
OUR DEMANDS – WE ARE MOBILIZING:
1. To eradicate illiteracy;
2. WE WANT TO STUDY: guaranteed access for the working class to quality, socially relevant public education at all levels;
3. Implentation of affirmative action policies that are capable of reversing the historical policies of exclusion, with scholarships and student assistance to guarantee that students can remain in school;
4. Increase the public investment in public education to a minimum of 7% of the Gross National Product;
5. An expansion of vacancies with a guarantee of quality and the opening of competitions for professors and technical administrators and an adequate infrastructure;
6. Autonomy for the universities in the face of interventions by the government and its defenders;
7. In defense of university training based on teaching, research, and expansion and against the commodification of education and making knowledge into a product;
8. For an institutional evaluation of socially relevant higher education, with the participation of students, education professionals, and social movements, without being productivist, based on meritocracy, or punitive.
9. Democratic management, with same-level participation of students, technical administrators and teachers at all levels of decision-making in the institutions and teaching systems;
10. Public control of private teaching at all levels. For a common model of quality in education. For the reduction of monthly fees and against punishing those who cannot pay;
11. A guarantee that unions and students can organize freely, especially in the private institutions. In defense of the right to strike.
12. For a national educational system that prevents fragmentation among the different levels and ensures that public middle school education is compulsory.
13. Against the privatization of public teaching and of the unversity hospitals either by means of private foundations or by the approval of the project to create state foundations;
14. For the guarantee of the rights won by professors and technical adminstrators in the public institutions, against the proposed bill PLP 01;
15. For free student transit passes financed by the profits of transportation companies;
16. In defense of a national wage floor for education workers calculated by the DIEESE for a 20 hour day;
17. For the overthrow of the vetos to the National Plan of Education 2001. For the collective building of a new National Plan by Brazilian soceity that serves the historic demands of the working class;
18. For the immediate implementation of Law 10.639 /2003 in all educational levels.
MST, Via Campesina, UNE, UBES, Andes, Conlute, CMP, CMS, CONLUTAS, CONSULTA POPULAR, CONTRAPONTO, CPT, ABONG, CÍRCULO PALMARINO, DCE/PUC-PR, DCE/UFBA, DCE/UFPR, DCE/UFSE, DCE/UNIBRASIL, DCE/Unicam, DCE USP, Educafro, Denem, Enecos, ENEF, ENEFAR, Enen/ Nutrição, Exneto/ Terapia Ocupacional, , FEAB, FEMEH, GAVIÕES DA FIEL, INTERSINDICAL, JULI-RP, LEVANTE POPULAR, MAB, MAIS-PT, MARCHA MUNDIAL DE MULHERES, MCL, MMC, MMM, MOVIMENTO CORRENTEZA, MOVIMENTO MUDANÇA, MPA, MSU, PJR, REPED, ROMPER O DIA, UJC, UJR, UJS, UEE. UEE-SP.