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Arestas do Brasil / Edges of Brazil

Education and civic orientation

Bruno Peron, 25 February 2018

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It is remarkable that Brazil faces cumulative challenges in the education of its people. Some old situations (but which cannot be deemed obsolete) remain, while others turn out in the agenda of educational policies. The disordered population increase indicate that Brazilian cities grow without their due infrastructural development (asphalt, communication, sewage, health, green parks). And the following is of the highest concern: decisionmakers have not done yet a systematic review of the way of educating this desperately uncivilized people.

Some well-intentioned beings contribute with their pertinent and revolutionary ideas. They often express themselves in a shy and discrete way, though. One of such ideas is in favour of the educational regeneration of the youth. So much money is due to postgraduates and expensive researchers of public universities (who speak constantly to their American and European counterparts), but much less resources achieve basic education in its agony and contempt. It is as though they did not speak the same language, or did not live in the same world. The well educated receive better education and the uneducated can only see it fade away. We have seen an absurd balance in the distribution of funds for education.

This phenomenon is so peculiar in Brazil that it deserves consideration. The uneducated, who were supposed to be a minority in this country, have become disoriented and bewildering majorities. They follow the “every man for himself”, they are corrupt and agents of corruption, they drive badly, they exploit others mercilessly, they compete beyond any solidary value, they take fraudulent advantages, they deceive and trick, they are not interested in learning anything because they always pretend they know everything, they are lazy, and they enjoy taking their time to pry into other people’s lives.

Were it not for the punishment culture that spreads through our public policies, Brazilians would be savages struggling for survival. It is a misfortune, on the one hand, that governors do not instruct the population on how to live in society; and, on the other, that we Brazilians have trusted much less in our representatives. A quick consultation to the news brings us the information that the Brazilian institutions quarrel, politicians and civil servants corrupt themselves, and the population believes in authoritarian and uncertain exits (Jair Bolsonaro) to this crisis.

It is urgent that, in face of the misadventure that education experiences in Brazil, those who still believe in change get together to remake the social contract that regulates Brazil. We should think of the kind of people with whom we would like to interact: in the neighbourhood (gossipers or busy workers?), in traffic (ignorant motorcyclists or judicious drivers?), in the sidewalk (tramps or courageous people?), in commerce (cheaters or honest?), at work (colleagues or competitors?), and everywhere (animals or citizens?). It is necessary to reduce the number of idle people (which I call the grown men of sidewalks) and value work through education.

Factory of dreams? Brazil is still a country of factories: transnational factories that obtain competitive advantages for having their branches here; factories of humans who cluster in popular condominiums; factories of fast and modern vehicles that congest our narrow and bumpy streets; factories of diplomas and certificates that on their own do not elevate Brazilians’ competence. Education should not be confused with certification.

We wish that more citizens (instead of ignorant people who are only aware of Gérson’s Law) dwelt in Brazil. However, there are forces pressing in favour, but others urging against this scenery. The highest investment a country could have is in its people’s knowledge, instruction and civic orientation. Whereas in the United States almost every citizen has an entrepreneurial and innovating mentality, in Brazil we have the thought of assuring labour benefits and advantages in exchange for our manpower. Today we do not know yet the laws that the elite created; in the ideal scenery, legislation will be only a formality of everybody’s ethical behaviour.