Brazilian students and teachers are taking part in rallies across the country today (Aug 13) in defense of the autonomy of public universities, and against the reduction in funding for education and the overhaul in the country’s pension system. The demonstrations were called by students’ movements and trade unions.
According to the National Confederation of Education Workers (CNTE), marches have been slated in at least 170 cities in all states. The countrywide demonstrations come as a follow-up to the protests staged in May, for the preservation of funds for higher education. The cuts announced by the government, Brazil’s National Students’ Union (UNE) argue, affect not universities, but also school education in all stages.
The protests, UNE reports, come also in response to the government’s new program Future-se, described by the Education Ministry as a plan to bolster the administrative and financial management of federal universities and institutes by means of a privately-held fund, whose quotas are negotiated at stock exchanges.
In the view of trade unions and students’ movements, the initiative places tasks under the government’s responsibility in the hands of the market.