Bolsonaro's Education Plan Means To Expurge Paulo Freire's Influence From The School System

Educator is one of the best-known Brazilian intellectuals in the world, and his education methodology is used in many elite schools in the country

Paulo Saldaña
Brasília

There are precious few details from the Bolsonaro administration regarding education known to the public, but one of them calls attention: the plan to wipe the name Paulo Freire from all Brazilian schools.

It's not clear what this means in practical terms, but educators are up in arms against the plan. Freire's method and philosophy are a strong influence in some of the best public and private schools in Brazil, and he is the best-known Brazilian intellectual worldwide.

Specialists say that Freire, who passed away in 1997, became a scapegoat to those who accuse schoolteachers of indoctrinating children. His work and its influence among educators would be the base for sectarian education, and one of the reasons for the failure of the Brazilian public educational system - a belief not shared by owners and principals of the country's elite schools.

Paulo Freire in 1994 - Folhapress

Born in 1921 in Recife, Pernambuco, Paulo Freire's name emerged in education circles in the early 1960s, when he developed a successful alphabetization methodology for adults in the countryside of the state of Rio Grande do Norte. The Paulo Freire method, which builds reading skills using the students' knowledge and experiences, became known worldwide.

Freire's work is the cornerstone of critical pedagogy, based on the dialogue between teachers and students and the value of education as a tool for social and individual emancipation.

Freire's most influential book, "Pedagogy Of The Oppressed," is among the 100 most cited works in English, according to Google Scholar. He is the only Brazilian name in the list, and in education, is the second name most quoted - the volume of citations is one of the most critical indicators of scientific relevance.

Economist and Stanford professor Martin Carnoy says that the concept of education as "freedom from ignorance and political subjugation" is a common theme in Illuminism, from Rousseau to Thomas Jefferson. "Bolsonaro's attack to Freire is an attack on the foundations of Western democracy and the concept of freedom."

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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