The civic-military schools

Clara Figueiredo, Mercato Domenicale Porta Portese, Balilla_ one for 15,00, three for 30,00 euros, Rome, 2019


The Bolsonaro government’s main education project is, in practice, an “income transfer program” for reserve military personnel.


The purpose of this text is to make some considerations about the National Program of Civic-Military Schools (PECIM), established by Decree 10.004, of September 04, 2019. PECIM constitutes the materialization of Bolsonaro's campaign promises, whose succinct Program (a power point, in fact) vaguely indicated that education needed “new contents and methods, without early indoctrination and sexualization”, aiming to reverse the “terrible results” in the face of “adequate investments”.

To achieve this objective, we divided the text into short topics, dedicated to each of the 'promises' contained in PECIM, in addition to this introduction, in which the theme and its problems are located, and the final considerations, when we summarize our impressions. The sources of the work are fundamentally available legislation and journalistic material, confronted with some meager analyzes on the process of militarization of Brazilian education,[I] here represented by PECIM.

Education in Brazil is regulated by the Federal Constitution and by Law 9394/1996, the so-called Law of Guidelines and Bases of National Education (LDB). The Constitution indicates education as a right for all and a duty of the State (art. 205), determining, among other issues, “democratic management of public education, in accordance with the law” (Art. 206-VI). On this aspect, the LDB establishes that:

Art. 14. Education systems will define the norms for the democratic management of public education in basic education, in accordance with their peculiarities and in accordance with the following principles:

I – participation of education professionals in the elaboration of the school's pedagogical project;

II – participation of school and local communities in school councils or equivalent.

We've italicized 'education systems' to determine what we're talking about. Three education systems are regulated by the LDB (Art. 8): the federal system, the systems of the States and the Federal District and the municipal systems. In addition to these, and which we are all aware of, there are three other systems expressly excluded from the scope of the LDB (Art. 83), the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, each with its own teaching law. A quick consultation of the respective laws shows that none of the military education systems mention “democratic management”. We'll come back to that.

Having its own education system was a prerogative that the military guaranteed for themselves even during the 1988 Constituent Congress, a reflection of so many years of corporate power. Military schools have other teaching methods, other pedagogical material, another curriculum, etc. And, above all, they have a different objective from emancipation through knowledge: their objective is the discipline necessary for war, which can be summarized by the doctrine of the three Ds: “do not doubt, do not disagree, do not argue” (Rattenbach, 1972). In other words, if pedagogical work requires discipline, this is a “conscious and interactive” means in civil education, while in military schools discipline works as “an end in itself” (Alves; Toschi, 2019, p. 640 ).

It should also be taken into account that the project of militarizing education in Brazil is not new. On the contrary, several experts show that, at least since the proclamation of the Republic, the armed forces have provided projects both in terms of content (the introduction of disciplines such as physical education is the best-known example) and method (Ribeiro; Rubini, 2019), as well as models administrative (Mathias, 2003). It should be added that neoliberalism and conservatism on the rise in the world and especially in Brazil, combined with the increase in violence and crime, is fertile ground for the advance of mechanical responses by the authorities (Martins, 2019), as is the militarization of schools.

Having said these brief words about schools for the military, we move on to the object of this short article: the project of civic-military schools. As informed, through decree no.o 10.004, the National Program of Civic-Military Schools (PECIM) was instituted. Although the document states that the adherence of federal entities to PECIM is voluntary, already in the project's launch speech, Bolsonaro stated that it is necessary to impose militarization on communities, as parents who do not accept militarization would be 'irresponsible', they do not know what it's better for your children.[ii]

Another element worth highlighting in this same speech concerns the novelty of PECIM, heralded by MEC and official propaganda, but absent from the presidential speech which, on the contrary, shows that PECIM is backed by projects of 'militarization' of public schools promoted in the different federative entities through partnership projects with public security departments, with the use of military police and fire departments. Thus, the only novelty of PECIM, as Bolsonaro admits, because it exalts the schools under the management of the PMs, is the inclusion of retired members of the armed forces to work in schools.

The first militarized civil school (managed by the PMGO) was inaugurated in 1998 – just two years after the LDB – in Goiânia (GO), spreading across 22 Brazilian states in an accelerated manner, reaching 120 schools in 2018, 55 of which in Goiás. With twenty years of experience, there has been more than enough time for such schools to show whether and how much better they are than civilian public schools. However, what specialists have indicated is that militarized civilian schools fulfill their promises only in appearance, repeating past experiences (Ribeiro, Rubini, 2019, 762), in addition to confronting legal precepts, including constitutional ones (Martins, 2019, 697) . As the experience of Amapá points out, “(…) the novelty of the model analyzed here is only sustained from the point of view of the institutional arrangement that transferred the management of the civilian public school to military [police officers], thus constituting a hybrid model. From the point of view of Pedagogy, there is nothing new (...) (Ribeiro; Rubini, 2019, p. 763). Our aim here is not to study such state experiences. However, in order to better present PECIM itself, we will use available evaluations on the experiences of militarized civilian schools.

According to the MEC portal, 15 states and the Federal District, and 600 city halls have expressed interest in participating in PECIM. After analyzing the demands, 54 were chosen for the so-called “pilot edition”. Of these schools, half of them will have the participation of members of the armed forces, concentrated in 12 states (Acre, Amapá, Ceará, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Roraima, Santa Catarina and Tocantins) ; in the other 27, it will be the police corporations (PM and Firefighters) that will lend their soldiers and the federal government will transfer the resources.[iii] It can be noted, therefore, that unlike what was promised, the 'new' civic-military school is very little different from those implemented on the initiative of the state governments themselves.

Considering, therefore, this introduction to the subject, we list some other issues – what we previously called 'promises' – that we believe are very important in the conception and implementation of PECIM:

PECIM starts from a misdiagnosis of reality

Even before reaching the Presidency of the Republic, Bolsonaro and his team stated, with regard to education, that the main problem was “indoctrination in schools”, which would distance the student from the civic spirit necessary for citizenship – hence the great support that groups such as “ School without a Party” gave to the captain's campaign. The lack of civility further fueled the surrounding violence, especially in schools on the outskirts, exposed to drug trafficking, generating indiscipline and bringing crime into the schools. The lack of security, therefore, is presented as the great justification for the creation of the Military Civic Schools (ECIM). Although much explored by the media, the few existing studies do not reveal a causal relationship between school militarization and the reduction of violence. For example, for Alves and Toschi (2019, p. 642),

[Although Goiás is at the top of the process of militarization of public schools, having, in April 2019, 54 schools under the responsibility of the Military Police (PM), with 61 thousand students (...) police pages as a state with high rates of violence, embittering two murders of state school coordinators in the short space of four months (April and August 2019) (...)

It can be said that the promise of the military school is not to reduce violence in the community in which the school is located, but to allow a school environment alien to youth violence, organizing it in order to build a future 'good' citizen. However, if the imposition of order happens only inside the schools, what it does is hide and even fuel greater violence against the students themselves, who need to live in two repressive worlds without being able to express themselves. This, at best, will create an orderly but also maladjusted citizen.

PECIM is misleading especially with teachers

When teachers hear about civic-military schools, education professionals, especially elementary school teachers, immediately think of their peers from military schools. In that environment, remuneration is higher and paid on time, professionals have a better career plan and working conditions, not needing to double or sometimes triple the workday to obtain a decent monthly income. Faced with this material scenario for teaching, we know that some teachers would even ignore the constant reports of moral harassment and censorship of professionals who had been hired in military schools, in search of improvements in remuneration. However, PECIM does not change any of the material characteristics of the profession and, as MEC informs, not even the budget reserved for the project – BRL 54 million – will be applied to materially improve the school reality, since most of that amount will go to the payment of military personnel who will work in schools.[iv]

Another belief nurtured among teachers is that ECIM will be much safer, including in its surroundings, due to the presence of police, firefighters and military personnel who will work there. Again, it's a scam. As established by the decree itself, the military will act in administrative, didactic-pedagogical and educational management, and not in school security. Furthermore, as mentioned above, militarizing schools does not necessarily lead to a reduction in violence in their surroundings.

PECIM deceives the community, especially the family

The growing difficulty of involving the school community in the school's routine is known, and that this is an issue that cannot be resolved just by blaming an alleged “lack of will” on one or the other. The project deceives the family by offering the idea that very complex issues in the school environment will be resolved through militarization.

Two examples should suffice to show this decoy. The first one, the theme of drugs. For many worried parents, the militarized school will be able to “save the child from the world of drugs”. However, a short haircut and a ban on wearing an earring will not do this, hence the decoy. Public health, education, and work policies are needed that allow young people to have a critical understanding of the reality that surrounds them, allowing them to make informed decisions, including about drugs, which is a health issue to be addressed in the school environment, and not public safety. Another example is the LGBT issue. For many military personnel, sexual orientation and feminism destroy families, and both are to blame for society's moral breakdown. Really? Preventing young people from expressing their sexuality only makes them practice it in an uninformed or hidden way, which exposes them to all kinds of vulnerabilities, particularly psychological and sexual.

It should be remembered that, unlike schools in general, military schools have a more homogeneous public, coming from military families, which also changes the relationship between the student's father (usually the mother) and the school, unlike territorialized schools, which operate in different neighborhoods of the city. Preliminary studies with militarized civil schools reveal that these have been going through a similar process, becoming 'elitist' (Ribeiro; Rubini, 2019, p. 753) because, in addition to charging monthly fees, they reserve vacancies for the children of police officers, firefighters and teachers similar schools, which reinforces the idea of ​​homogeneity.

Military colleges are the best, so they must be an example

Here is another fallacy. For those who attend the school environment, they know that the big issue that differentiates public school teaching in general from teaching in federal institutes and application schools is the investment per student. The investment per student in military schools is almost three times greater than in civilian public education. Even so, they have lower results than federal institutes, which also receive more funds. In other words, if we were to take any school as an example, it would be the federal institutes. According to data from the International Student Assessment Program (PISA), of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), evaluating the areas of Science, Reading and Mathematics, if we considered only the results of the Federal Network, the country would occupy the 11tha position among 70 countries in Science, the 2a position in Reading, and would exceed the Brazilian average by more than 100 points.

Regarding investments, a survey carried out periodically by the OECD, which in 2019 compiled data from 36 countries, shows that investment in education in Brazil is higher than the average (4,2% against the average of 3,2%). Although mentioning another source, the UN, the electoral program of the then presidential candidate for the PSL, confirms this data. However, forget to read the rest of the research, as it contradicts the data: as indicated by the OECD, Brazil invests much less in education per student, 56% less in primary education and approximately 64% in secondary education. The difference is best visualized in the table below:

Spending per student by grade level (in US$)[v]

Source: Own production based on G1 data, September 10, 2019.

In addition, the experience closest to the current government's project, the militarized civil schools, do not show higher performance rates in the evaluations, although, as we mentioned, they have existed for over 20 years. On the contrary, the UN itself expressed concern about the progress of these experiences in Brazil.[vi] In fact, the only example provided by militarized civilian schools, not just public ones, is of being a great business. Such schools “(…) represent a mixture of public and private interests, among the interests of the education and public security departments that act on the public school.” (Alves; Toschi, 2019, p. 641).

The project diverts resources from education to the Ministry of Defense

In fact, this is nothing new. It has been common, unfortunately, the diversion of resources constitutionally destined for education. In this case, the same thing happens. Resources from the Ministry of Education are decentralized to the Ministry of Defense for the payment of contracted reserve soldiers. The decree makes it clear that the military are not education professionals. They maintain their salaries as reserve soldiers and add to them the additional PECIM. In a country like ours, with our current unemployment rates, thinking about the possibility of people accumulating wages is absurd. In addition, it is common to have a high number of contracted professionals in the school staff, rather than public servants. The debate should be about how to create emergency job fronts for those who have none, or how to improve the career, with the consequent salary increase, of education professionals, already far behind in relation to the others.

As disclosed by the MEC, among the criteria used to exclude states and municipalities from the process of joining PECIM were those “(...) with a low number or no reserve military personnel residing in the city”.[vii] Now, if PECIM's proposal is to improve education, especially in the violent outskirts, how can one explain that this or that locality, despite responding positively to all the membership criteria, is eliminated from the program just because it does not have resident military personnel? Thus, the government itself admits that the largest amount of money is linked to the payment of military and police officers who will participate in the project.

One can better visualize how funds are used to give salaries to those who already have them through the numbers made available by the MEC itself, but not without resistance. Via the Law on Access to Information, the MEC was obliged to detail the application of resources in the pilot stage. In response, it was reported that most of them are destined to pay the soldiers who will work in these schools[viii].

According to the project, each school of 1000 students will receive 18 reserve officers to act as teachers and they (and only they) will receive a 30% additional about their salaries plus thirteenth, vacation, transportation and food. Taking into account that the base pay (salary) of a soldier in the intermediate phase of his career (captains and majors) ranges from R$ 9.200,00 to R$ 11.200,00, not counting additional payments and bonuses, we can make a simple calculation and arrive at the following numbers: each “official-teacher” will receive, on average, around R$ 3.000,00 more per month – salary higher than that of the absolute majority of state network workers in the country[ix] – and will cost public coffers around BRL 45.000,00 per year.

Considering the duration projected for PECIM, even maintaining the current size, we must multiply by 18, which represents an expense of BRL 810.000,00 per school, just to pay the military who will work in these schools in a role deviation - they will not be employed in defense (as in the case of the military) nor in security (as in the case of police and firefighters). Considering the project budget, excluding staff payments, an average of R$ 200 a year would remain for the school itself to spend. For a school unit with a thousand students, the final balance is very small, perhaps enough to renovate a sports court, for example. And detail: even with the pandemic and paralyzed schools, many of these military were hired last year and are receiving normally.

So what are civic-military schools for?

First, they serve to proselytize politically and feed a conservative base, including some neo-fascists, who elected the president because of his willingness to use force, including weapons, to solve any and all problems. Secondly, they send a message of patriotism, as if this could be guaranteed by the yellow green makeup in schools. This was the same pretension when, in 1969, the bureaucratic-authoritarian regime (1964-1985) introduced the disciplines of Moral and Civics (elementary education), Social and Political Organization of Brazil, OSPB (elementary and secondary education) and Studies of Problems Brazilians, EPB (higher education), making them mandatory for all levels. Even controlling the contents of these disciplines – they were also a way of employing reserve military personnel, especially colonels, who prepared contents and wrote handouts and textbooks (Mathias, 2004, p. 170ss) –, in a short time the government itself began to criticize them. them, stating that they did not fulfill the objectives of forging the patriotic citizen they wanted. Indeed, how can the artificial cultivation of national symbols and flags make a young person more fond of his homeland? Is it possible to say that the generation of the 1990s is more patriotic than that of the 2000s?

Thirdly, civic-military schools normalize the militarization of education, in its ethical, political, moral, financial aspects. It is a kind of sample, a laboratory of what is to come. Its about a project of militarization of life (of the individual as a whole, including social, political, economic aspects, etc.) already underway in Brazil. In the same way that a patriotic citizen is not created by imposition, the 'peace of the barracks' imposed on society as a whole tends, as history has shown, to be accompanied by the growing fraying of social solidarity, disorganizing social relations in such a way that the only order that will prevail in the end is the 'peace of the cemeteries'.

Fourthly, the ECIM, although maintaining that its implementation depends on consultation and a positive signal from the community that will receive it, is a disguised way of complying with the law, which establishes that public schools must have democratic management. This implies not imposing rules alien to that community of students. It implies that the entire body of staff, teachers and those responsible for students, and even these themselves, not only be heard, but participate in the pedagogical planning and administrative management of schools. The PECIM, as the militarized schools before it confirm, rules out this possibility, as it even submits the directors and coordination of the schools to the precepts brought by the military, who start to supervise the school management. Consultation with the community, carried out only at the beginning of the process, is, therefore, a simulacrum of the necessary, including because determined by law, democratic management of schools.

Last but not least, the ECIM are the way that President Jair Bolsonaro found to keep faithful, mainly through financial benefits, the most traditional core of his electoral base, made up of military police, firefighters and members of the armed forces. , especially the lower ranks. The selection of professionals to be hired is made by the military themselves, based on criteria such as camaraderie, loyalty, honor… In other words, nice attributes to justify the choice of political sponsors committed to supporting the government. The objective here is not even so hidden: in a situation of dissatisfaction of the people with the president, these security professionals will hardly be against those who guaranteed their “extra”.

Final Words

In summary, civic-military schools are expensive, but they are not because they invest in the school community, valuing new teaching methods and their professionals. They are expensive and, as we will probably see in the future, as inefficient as the militarized civilian schools that have already spread across Brazil from the various educational metrics presented throughout the text, serving exclusively to further disrupt public education in Brazil.

The main conclusion we reached from this study of PECIM is not, however, about the non-newness of the project, but rather that the Bolsonaro government’s main education project is, in practice, an “income transfer program” for military personnel from the reservation. More than governing for the very base that elected him, the president remunerates this base. And the main thing, it's not just any base, it's an ARMED base.

*Ana Amelia Penido Oliveira is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Public Policy and International Relations at Unesp.

*Suzeley Kalil Mathias is a professor at the Department of International Relations at the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences at Unesp-Franca.


ALVES, MF; TOSCHI, MS (2019). The militarization of public schools: an analysis based on research in the field of education in Brazil. RBPAE 35(3): 633-647, Sep.-Dec. [DOI: 10.21573/vol35n32019.96283]

BRAZIL (1988). Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil. Available in . Consulted between September 03 and March 2019.

BRAZIL (1996). Law 9.394, of December 20, 1996. Establishes Guidelines and Bases for National Education (LDB). Available in . Consulted between September 03 and March 9394.

BRAZIL (2011). Law 12.464, of August 04, 2011. Provides for Teaching in the Air Force. Available in . Accessed on March 03, 2011.

BRAZIL (2012). Law 12.704, of August 08, 2012. Provides for Teaching in the Navy. Available in . Accessed on March 1032695, 12704.

BRAZIL (2012). Law 12.705, of August 08, 2012. Provides for entry requirements for Army training courses. Available in . Accessed on March 03, 2011.

BRAZIL (2019). Decree 10.004, of September 04, 2019. Establishes the Civic-Military Schools Program (PECIM). Federal Official Gazette – Section 1 – 6/9/2019, Page 1 (Original Publication). Available in . Consulted between September 2 and March 2019.

MARTINS, AA (2019). About the present day: neoconservatism, civic-military school and the simulacrum of democratic management. RBPAE 35(3): 689-699, Sep-Dec.

MATHIAS, S. KALIL (2003). The militarization of bureaucracy: military participation in the administration of Communications and Education, 1963-1990. Sao Paulo, Ed. Unesp/Fapesp.

RATTENBACH, B. (1972). The social-military system in modern society. Buenos Aires, Pleamar.

RIBEIRO, AC; RUBINI, PS (2019). From Oiapoque to Chuí – Civil militarized schools: the experience of the extreme north of Brazil and the neoconservatism of Brazilian society. RBPAE 35(3): 745-765, Sep.-Dec. [DOI: 10.21573/vol35n32019.95997].


[I] We suggest reading the survey carried out by Alves and Toschi (2019), which shows that studies on the militarization of teaching are not new, but are numerically insignificant in view of the advancement of the process of creating 'partnerships' between public schools and public schools. military institutions.

[ii]For didactic purposes, it is worth reproducing the president's speech: “And here we have the physical presence of our governor of the DF, Ibaneis. Congratulations, Governor, for this proposal. I saw that some neighborhoods had a vote and they didn't accept it, I'm sorry, you don't have to accept it, you have to impose it. If that kid doesn't know... he's in the fifth grade, he's in the ninth grade and on the Pisa test he doesn't know a rule of three simple, he doesn't know how to interpret a text, he doesn't answer a basic science question, I'm sorry, you don't have to ask for the irresponsible parent, in this matter, whether or not he wants a school with, in a way, militarization, he has to impose, he has to change. Because we don't want these kids to grow up and be, in the future, dependent, until they die, on government social programs.” Available in:

[iii] Available in>, consulted on 03/03/21.

[iv] Available in>, consulted on 03/03/21.

[v] Available in: , consulted on 1/1/2019.

[vi] Available in . Consulted on 1/2019/02.

[vii] Available in


[ix] According to the same OECD survey, “(…) the average salary of teachers in Brazil is lower than in most OECD countries, and it is also at least 13% lower than the average salary of Brazilian workers with higher education. ” Available in:>, emphasis in the original. Consulted on 04/03/21.

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