Brazilian Ministry of Education defends external control over Universities

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

BRASILIA, Brazil — The Brazilian government has proposed a policy to increase external control on public and private Universities. The Brazilian magazine Veja published a cover story about the subject criticizing this proposal[1].

The magazine put a picture of a donkey on the cover, a critical allusion to the recent political decisions related to Education taken by the government (in Brazil the donkey is a symbol of stupidity). The magazine claims the recent decision of the government's new education policy is motivated more by ideological rather than technical reasons.

On June 06, 2004 during a convention of intellectuals, the president of the Confenen (National Confederation of the Educational establishments) Robert Dornas said the idea of external control conflicts with the idea of the university autonomy. "This is the way of all totalitarian States" , he added.

The Vice-chancellor of the UFRJ (Federal University of Rio De Janeiro), Aloísio Teixeira, said to fear that the advice finishes obliquing the activities of the university. According to him the university should be evaluated by already existing mechanisms, as the National Congress. Pablo Alcântara Gomes, the chairman of the board of the Brazilian Universities’ Vice-chancellors, said Brazilian universities do not need external control, but internal advice with participation of the society.

There are worries that with the external control universities may be subject only to political and ideological oriented decisions of non-representative groups.

The Ministry of Education Tarso Genro is a defender of the external control: "I am enthusiastic about the external control. Me and my friend Olívio Dutra (minister of the Cities), are the founders of the shared public budget program in Porto Alegre. This model of management worked like a organized social external control over what is the exposed power nerve, the public budget. And it worked. Therefore, I think it is a good thing. We have to enrich what is not the State, but the public space."