Science-Education-Knowledge: near lights

Image: João Nitsche


Education as a priority did not exist in Brazil, except in the courageous hearts of male and female educators

This text derives its raison d'être from the reading of an editorial in the São Paulo press published on October 5th and dealt with below. It also motivates the initial arguments about Brazilian history, which help to understand who we are, our ways of appreciating science and art, the meanings of individual and collective undertakings, how we manage to make some advances among numerous political setbacks and the processes that they explain our uneasiness in the face of democracy, which among us has never been government by the people.

Next, an article on education, by Maria Alice Setubal, from the same date and in the same newspaper, is also discussed. But, first, it is worth thinking about the trio of values ​​that gives title to this text, whose connections are the touchstone for the debate that moves knowledge, education and science.

As a first look, it appears that a broad and capillary symbolic construction capable of uniting and moving thought, desire and organization has never existed in the cultural history of Brazil. If it had existed, we would have a public educational action of such consistency – support from the trio that heads this comment – ​​that we would dispense with biased time frames such as the Pisa-OECD exam for 15-year-olds and the school content marker, the Ideb, both understood as phenomena that both inform our backwardness and reveal the attempt to feel in the dark an already dying social globalization. The defect constructed in history synchronizes all our evils, such as slavery, miserable employment, whether for manual or intellectual work, white and male supremacy, repressed and humiliated cultural action, the partisanship that part individuals, the common mediocrity of governments, the frankly authoritarian pendulum of power and the making of selective and usurious modernities.

Although the imagined and desired symbol permeates all social groups in Brazil's times and spaces, it was never solidified as a common political culture. We keep mulling over the edges of the symbol. However, we saw its viability in the struggles for the popular school and in the manifesto of the pioneers of new education in 1932, as well as in the intransigent defenses of the dignity of those who learn and teach in the face of constitutional dispositions and their consequence, in the creation of scientific societies and associations of education and cultural professionals. We found its signs in the purification of the senses of science, which configures the areas and subareas of knowledge together with development agencies and guides the construction of the Lattes Platform and, fortunately, makes up the full curriculum of basic education, namely: natural sciences, human and social sciences, mathematics(s), arts and languages, reflected and unfolded in the richness of the diversified field of the school curriculum, whose acts of construction and community execution are the only way to explain the social truth of this country and the effective viability of its knowledge for the new generations..

The symbolic construction awaits – for us anxiously – the country's maturation, either by the direction of honest and anti-populist statesmen, or by the action of the people who read the word and life, therefore participating in the challenges of knowing and sharing. This construction waits its turn and its time. Currently, no way, because mediocrity is the tuning fork and ruler of the insane herd and, deep down in it, Brilliant Ustra is the angel of the highest lineage. In this place, light years away from intelligence and dignity, why science? Now, making it a firm and strong construct for the country implies, simultaneously, the overthrow of the myth and the mythical, which head Brazil's official institutions.

However, we are 210 million people, an immeasurable vital wealth, despite being largely invisible. Only this problematic existence is capable of teaching that any speeches we make will have to think as a dynamic, unstable and mitigated whole. Otherwise, it will not be true, especially due to this historical moment, in which “true” means only mythologized mediocre thinking. At the proposed level of thought, the sciences, always in the plural of nature and culture, make full sense.

It is possible to pull many examples from within the actions of organizations and institutions cited, but perhaps it is convenient to keep in the daily life in which positions are taken and confrontations capable of elucidating and teaching are set up.

The aforementioned editorial, serious but clumsy, was read in Folha de São Paulo, page A2, entitled Distant lights. He set out to show the distance between the work of scientists and society. The text was probably written by a person with scientific knowledge in an area and sub-area of ​​knowledge, whether in the Natural Sciences, Applied Social Sciences or Human Sciences. Its limited space, perhaps a page and a half of text, cannot but conclude that “The country's scientists, it seems, remain trapped in their laboratories”. The writer's arguments were based on opinion polls that offered different readings of social sectors heard before the pandemic, in one case more distant scientific “lights” and in another closer one. In the end, such opinion polls (hopefully they were carried out under standardized criteria) revealed both confidence in unknown scientific concepts and practices and disbelief in science. Therefore, the aforementioned final assertion is justified.

A great theme, treated seriously, but in an unambiguous space. However, it is worth questioning the editorialist's lack of a certain scientific inflection on the subject, both for the better criticism of the research carried out and for the meanings, scope, qualification and media dissemination of scientists as people and their work, whether predominantly theoretical or empirical. As for the researched people, it is supposed to have been an average of ourselves (including some scientists), the Brazilian people who could be and are what the many conflicting – and corrupt – knowledges and practices of history led to be. And after completing the phase of the “technological armament” of the culture industries, as Muniz Sodré so aptly called it, people were moved by the flood of fetishes, icons, simulations, idolatries and misinformation, respected exceptions in the field of social communication studies, which , incidentally, make up the area of ​​applied sciences.

The editorialist's final shot (despite the It seems, that does not console or soften the meaning of the sentence) is a result of the historical reality discussed above, which has less to do with the scientific education of the people than with the routine political violence that undoes the ties between knowledge, knowledge and science, or between school and society, culture and education. A web of continuously undone ties, whose accumulation does not make up a lack of education, but in fact a succession of crimes against Brazilian humanity.

It escaped the editorialist that the lights could be close if the treatment given to the question goes to the bottom of the problem and if the understanding of the breadth of Science receives its due place. Many people meet scientists, assuming they are never finished or perfect, in everyday relationships, whether young men and women who are doing masters and doctorates with scholarships in all areas and subareas. Moreover, essays and research results are disseminated both through the dissemination channels (limited, it is true, but what is not limited today?) of university agencies, areas and departments, as well as through the presence of scientists in dealing with daily and continuous facts , again considered the sciences in their entirety.

In terms of the division of areas and subareas of scientific work, also present in the curricula of Brazilian education, scientists make up various social strata, they are people who are not confined, even more so when driven by social needs that only gain meaning in multi and transculturality. , places for natural scientists, human and social sciences, mathematics and the scientific treatment of aesthetic and linguistic data.

However, the assumption of the scientist as an active person in the light of the day of social needs and desires does not guarantee the wide dissemination of his work and his knowledge by broad sectors of Brazilian society, which is also unaware of councilors, deputies, ministers , sports leaders, global leaders, science and sports award winners, etc. In order to create new social harmony and synchrony in the dependent, unloved country, the result of corporate interests and systematically mismanaged, it is necessary to change the country, revolutionize political concepts and routines, make modernity happen for everyone.

The final text of the paragraph already suggests discussing the text by Maria Alice, page A-3, Folha, October 5, 2020. It is called: New lenses to guide education policies.

This columnist, while president of the Basic Education Chamber of the CNE (2015-2016) was able to work on some projects alongside the author and testify to her zeal and knowledge of Brazilian educational issues. What we want to do here is, therefore, a debate, what Freire called the necessary confrontation to carry out learning and knowledge.

Setubal's text is very good at dealing with the concept of equity, which moves the first paragraphs. This concept, very little worked and lived in the political field, recognizes social inequalities, often determinants of the squint results of IDEB, but also of PISA. However, as a rule, the educational thinking of governments, in all spheres of power, avoids deepening the reflection on equity and rushes out to adopt some new “saving” decree for one or more educational levels of the basic stage of education. 13 years. The landowners of the air lead their herds of ordinances and rules exclusively towards the bureaucracy, leaving the quasi-tragedy of equity exactly as it is. It may be that one or another public agent, and even a councilor or deputy, ignores what it means to think of equity in the Brazilian historical context, but the vast majority, in fact, do not really have the desire, respect and love for education and youth , especially in the sense of love proposed by Hannah Arendt at the end of The education crisis. This fact necessarily implies not treating it with and as a priority. Therefore, if Setubal's text, similar to thousands of others already written since the 1930s, intends to be read beyond some organizations, university and school institutions, as well as educational subjects, there are no recipients for the text and the question , therefore, does not consist in changing priorities, but in creating them beyond the blah-blah-blah known at election time. Yes, they don't exist. The greatest proof of this fact is the import and translation of educational “fads”, the foreign formatting of programs for the country-continent and its distinctions of various kinds, the shelving and forgetting of the CNE Curriculum Guidelines after the LDB-1996 and the assassination of the National Education Plan (2014). In light of these historical data, the BNCC becomes alien, as it does not take place in a vacuum, much less outside the context of the CNE Guidelines, which dealt, between 1997 and 2013, with all the conditions for equity in Brazilian education, cities centers to the outskirts, from the countryside to the forest, from nomadism to education demanding special resources, from frontier schools to the indigenous and quilombola world.

Even worse: in light of the provisions, the new Fundeb money means nothing, as it finds a political building in rubble, without historical measurement, without plans and without direction. It is not even justified to affirm, as the writer of this good text does, the need for policies, since this is a concept of zero significance in Brazil, thus coined during the dictatorship. Superminister Roberto Campos of the military governments always made it clear that politics is the general enunciation of a project, since what matters and interests is the government program (a program is linked to programmed and to program), which suggests the dirigisme we know. After the country's re-democratization, in 2018 he was elected a programmer of death... To speak, therefore, of policies is to say nothing in Brazil today, given that perhaps even organized society has difficulty in writing, in detail, a policy in its entirety, as government value in itself and citizen action motive that submits plans, projects and programs to its desideratum. In this sense, even the National Education Plan, or Fundeb, should be subordinated to a certain educational policy. Ask yourself: which one? The Constitution is not a policy, although it suggests some. Now, the confusion that has always been established between these acts of government indicates that there was no intention of doing politics in the classical sense, as a major formulation of the res publica, integrated and integrative in levels, degrees and stages of governance. Hence the immense pluralization of the concept of “policies”, which, in the turmoil of anything goes, ends up being worthless.

Make an analogy: politics is equivalent to type in the field of popular stories narrated and collected since time immemorial by humans. Plans and programs, however, are the reasons, in much greater quantity. An immensity of plans must serve a certain policy, whose cultural action consists of sewing socioeconomic and political connections in favor of the needs and requirements of the give.

Finally, several of the questions raised by Setubal were in the eyes, pens and hearts of educators, more persistently from the 1932 Manifesto. Not to mention hundreds of names, it should be said that such discourses vibrated in the Estado Novo, in discussion of dependency and developmentalism in the 1950s, in the LDB in the 1960s, in the constitutional framework, in the LDB at the end of the century, and so on. As a result, few people today believe in the importance of hearing candidates babble and ventriloquism around supposed educational priorities. The forthcoming elections, full of squid e Bolsonaros in the saints and in the ballot boxes, added with hatred and revenge, does not suggest any relevance to the field of education. They can only have value if they are surprised by the election of historically humiliated and offended representations, incorruptible and capable of giving voice to large sectors of the 210 million people that make up our land. In this case, voters cannot be corrupted either.

Despite the representation of the writer, there is also no recipient of her text in the government. How will the police and petty environment of the Esplanada make creativity emerge in public agents for the collective construction of policies? You can't create under repression any more than anyone can give what they don't have. What could Senhor Ribeiro, along with his entourage, do, bound by his captain-president and also bound by his dogmas? And this is what happens in government and will continue until 2022. Or will there be a miracle? It is not convenient to desire it so as not to disturb the divinity with the frivolous things of the old politics.

A revolution in political representation could start an upward democratic movement, from the educational communities of the municipalities to the whole of the nation, with the support of organizations and institutions that wait their time and their turn to make history in the field of education. A new value of lived and felt reality would be capable of rethinking the neglected equity, summoning all education subjects, including families and communities, discussing BNCC in light of the Curriculum Guidelines, questioning the meanings of government policies, urgently resuming the PNE and proposing a national policy for the common good based on the unprecedented Brazilian priority, education. Such a movement would have to believe and manifest that without the symbolic and popular construction of education within people and institutions, the aids to buy food at the store, the decrees and laws favorable to new resources for school work, are of little value, much less the recipes and the provisions that subject brilliant MEC public agents to educational mirages from countries that commit to the OECD. Worse, they submit millions of young people who did not request any mass test, except the ENEM, for whose mister there was never a better solution, which is eternalized and naturalized.

The image of Miguilim no Rosa, with which Setubal ends his text, is beautiful, especially when we make her play opposite Riobaldo and their hard confrontations of existential learning to discover and reveal the deep reasons for his dangerous love for Diadorim-Diadorina-Diadora, be divided between powers of the sertão-world in search of its unity, found only in its own crossing.

Prioritized education only existed in the courageous hearts of male and female educators. It is up to us to do it fully, not as someone who opens the doors of heaven, but certainly as someone who opens the doors of this country to equity and social justice. Who lives will see. We want to see, not only up close, but inside.

*Luiz Roberto Alves is a senior professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP.


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