By Harold Emert
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Angered that their federal universities will receive budget cuts of over 30 percent, Brazilian educators, scholars and students are reacting this afternoon with protests.
Held back by police in Rio’s north zone in front of the Military College where President Jair Bolsonaro visited to celebrate the Institution’s 130th birthday Monday morning, hundreds of high schoolers were joined by university students and teachers, booed and held their placards up high to emphasize students are not always from the elite in Brazil.
The students blocked traffic and chanted: “Bolsonaro, take your hands off my school” while waving their textbooks in the air.
The President rubbed salt into the academic community’s wounds, emphasizing that despite cutbacks in Federal Universities, more military schools were needed throughout Brazil.
A research project by Andifes (National Association of Directors of Higher Education at Federal Institutions), an Association which unites rectors of Brazilian universities, shows that half of the students in Federal entities are from low-income families.
The study will be presented on May 16th, or on the same day Andifez has a meeting with Education Minister Abraham Weintraub.
Earlier today nine thousand Academics Universities around the world have protested with an open letter, written by two Harvard graduate students, against cuts of Brazil’s Federal University budgets announced last week by Brazil’s Ministry of Education.
They claim that Brazil’s plan to disinvest in philosophy and sociology at public universities could have “a devastating effect on Brazil’s democracy.”