critical formation

Wols (Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze), untitled (time_money), 1988.
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By LUIS FERNANDO VITAGLIANO*

BTG and XP, examples of investment in education aimed against education

In these difficult and complicated times for our country in particular and even for the world in general, education, which could help, and a lot, for us to have better times, has shown signs of exhaustion of its model. The most recent news in this sector of little encouraging news is that Banco BTG opened its university, created INTELI (Institute of Technology and Leadership), in this case, within the USP campus in São Paulo. André Esteves will invest R$200 million in facilities for 180 students with monthly fees of around R$5,5 – with 90 of these scholarship students paid by the bank's partners.

In an article in GGN newspaper, Luís Nassif draws attention to the fact that the University of São Paulo, which comes from public resources, becomes a space for INTELI to use projects, professors and the intellectual production of one of the most important and consistent institutions in the country . In this case, BTG wants to benefit from the use of public resources to support its initiative, in a way that is quite contradictory to its ideals, which so shamelessly propagate the independence of the market.

For those who have been following the news of large companies and the financial sector for a while, you may remember that Corretora XP invested R$ 100 million to create five undergraduate courses and expand its postgraduate courses. “XP Educação” already had a series of courses for its clients, linked to investments and education technologies. Now 400 students will be selected for the first classes of five free undergraduate courses.

Respected figures in the media like Elio Gaspari and newspapers like Economic value celebrated as if it were a revolution for the sector the entry of the financial sector in the direct offer of courses. Gaspari was the first to talk about the BTG initiative and announced the XP Educação initiative in one of his articles in a celebratory tone. Certainly, as promoters and coaches like to put “the differential” of these companies in the educational environment, it is to provide training aimed at the needs of the sector and more specifically of themselves who want a specific type of professional. It's kind of like a tie-in: selling education to employ graduates.

Right from the start, the XP selection process deviates from the entrance exam rule. The brokerage selects its students as it recruits its traders; it is an HR recruitment similar to the selection of candidates for a job vacancy in business. All very “meritocratic”: more market and less, much less pedagogy. Evidently because pedagogy gets in the way of business.

The thing is so formatively scandalous that the absence of public debate on the issue can only be explained by circumstances. The situation is so dramatic that the elections have drained all efforts of public debate and with such intensity that everything else seems smaller. In this schizophrenic scenario, few people bothered to look at the timetable, subjects and course menus. Well, if you take the initiative, you will find a list of hyper-sophisticated technical subjects and an almost complete disregard for humanistic training.

Very well, the question is relevant: what is the interest of an XP manager in training people who understand human rights? Or have a vision about inequalities in Brazil and their perverse effects? I may be naive to believe that this type of discussion at a university will prevent the future formation of a manager who will organize a financial pyramid based on any bitcoin and end up with years of savings for middle-class families.

Or that this manager will not simply finance companies that do not comply with the labor rights of their employees because they come to the conclusion that it is more economically viable to face them in court; or even flee the trend that environmental and climate issues should be discussed and respected and that investments by big funds do not need to deal with measures to protect the environment for future generations.

There is no space in the programs of these brokerage houses for this type of debate. If the person does not form a citizen conscience at the University that corrects our oligarchic culture, where are we going to find this space for the civilizing process? Considering that a manager trained at the BTG, XP or XPTÓ faculties of Faria Lima tends to be aware despite and not from his university education, that is: he came with a previous humanistic notion and not because he underwent training at the University.

All university courses must have a humanistic background. That is why disciplines such as sociology, philosophy and anthropology must be part of the curriculum of any higher education course. The role of these disciplines in courses such as business, engineering, medical sciences and health, etc. – even in law or applied courses in the humanities area itself is to discuss the relationship between technique and ethics – is to give understanding of the society in which we live, not only to discuss the purposes of that course, but also the means and responsibilities of a profession that has clear technical limits given by material execution and must also have ethical limits defined by professional behavior and responsibility with social, economic, environmental issues and principles related to citizenship and human rights. We have not forgotten that the highest university title is the PhD (Philosophys Doctor), any doctor must also be a philosophical authority on the issues he dominates, they are the ethical ends and means by which any knowledge is directed.

Today, the vast majority of private Universities, in order to compete on price, removed humanistic subjects from the face-to-face grid. Public universities are increasingly failing with aging and dispersed degrees. It is easy to see the disdain that the major courses in Law and Administration, for example, have for the disciplines of anthropology. All relegated to marginal presences in the training of students, and when they are not remote disciplines, they are in marginal and diminished spaces of training without the slightest attention from students. The direct result of this process that has been intensifying and degenerating the general education of students is that we, as a society, are becoming boçais.

Note that in the higher education segment, Bolsonaro leads the presidential race, as the latest QUAEST survey points out, with 37% of the voting intentions in this segment. How can a fascist, violator of social rights, defender of torture be valued by a significant part of people who had a university education in that country? The only explanation is that it doesn't matter to university students that a president of the republic is critical of democracy, human rights and defends torture. In this case, the problem is not exactly with the people, but with the values ​​they decide to consider. And that's a training problem

The central pillar of our citizenship since the bourgeois revolutions is equality of rights and the fact that, in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro leads the higher education polls is a decisive symptom to diagnose the failure of university education in Brazil.

The fact that people with a university degree have no sense of civilization demonstrates that Brazilian higher education has become just a professional technical reinforcement.

The idea of ​​the University that sustains itself in the modern era represents the proposal of complex humanistic training and imprints the student with the intellectual solidity of his profession. The project was precisely to prevent qualified professionals from contributing to the corrosion of civilization; such as, for example, preventing engineers from collaborating in the construction of Auschwitz and preventing them from doing execrable things from a civilizing point of view, even if they have the technical capacity to execute. An example of this critical formation is the Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov, who built the hydrogen bomb for the USSR and who later became an activist for human rights and against the atomic race of the Cold War, who ended up being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975.

Perhaps due to pedagogical lack of knowledge, perhaps even maledicence (it is not possible to specify the reason), but in fact and concretely, what BTG, XP and other corporate initiatives propose to do is to form new fascists, as long as they fill the pockets of the your business. By the way, let's face it: train that bureaucrat that Hannah Arendt portrays very well in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem it is much better for the financial elites of this country. Less work to convince them to do the necessary cruelties to maintain their privileges. It is only necessary to emphasize that, when they say: “the ignorant do not know how to vote”, it is necessary to remind them who the ignorant are: knowing how to make an account, build a building, carry out differential calculations or manage a project does not make anyone wise or intellectual ; in the conditions of Brazilian higher education today, it is just ignorant in many ways.

*Luis Fernando Vitagliano political scientist and university professor.

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