New Minister of Education of Brazil Promises that Public Education will Remain Secular

Milton Ribeiro, also a pastor, takes over MEC after Weintraub's departure and frustrated appointment of Decotelli

Paulo Saldaña Ricardo Della Colletta

The new minister of Education, Presbyterian pastor Milton Ribeiro took office on Thursday (16) and said he is committed to the secularity of public education and promises more dialogue in the ministry with institutions. Abraham Weintraub's administration was marked by attacks on various sectors, such as universities.

Milton Ribeiro is the fourth Minister of Education in just over a year and a half of the government. He holds a doctorate in Education from USP, and he has no experience in public management.

Milton Ribeiro. (Foto:Isac Nóbrega/PR) - Isac Nóbrega/PR

The new minister is pastor of the Presbyterian Church Jardim de Oração de Santos, on the coast of São Paulo. In videos published on social networks before taking over the ministry, he defended educating children for "pain" and said that men have to impose their way at home.

In the video of a sermon in April 2016, Ribeiro says that "this idea that many have that the child is innocent is relative." In explaining what he sees as the distinction between punishment and discipline, he quotes an excerpt from the Bible: "Punish your son while there is hope, but do not overdo it to the point of killing her."

After taking office, he denied having defended the violence, but said that teachers lost their authority in Brazil "due to the implementation of wrong educational policies and philosophies."

Sick, infected by Covid-19, Bolsonaro participated in the video event, at the Palácio da Alvorada, from where he signed the minister's inauguration. The ceremony was not open to the press.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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