Education and culture at election time

Image: Isaac Taylor


Education is cultural because the human could not be formed apart from the practices of ethics, aesthetics and politics, but the campaigns do not contemplate this

Is there something wrong with education in this election time? With the linguistic concept of education, in itself, there is nothing wrong, not least because the word education does not drive all educational actions, does not organize the educational community, or produce pedagogy and legislation. But there is much that is doubtful, or biased, in the texts and speeches about education and its practices in people's lives, whether in municipalities or throughout the country.

At this election moment, the thought that guides articles in newspapers, electoral propaganda in media vehicles, debates between candidates and candidates and opinions of organizations about the education of new generations reveals the astonishing loss of its greatest meaning in human life: to guarantee biopsychic changes and social aspects of the person who grows towards his/her cultural integration, that is, to build himself/herself a citizen. Education is cultural because the human could not be formed apart from the practices of ethics, aesthetics and politics.

It follows that it constitutes a crime against the human person, the student, the student, to propose technical-professional training for adolescents without the curriculum of studies allowing the questioning of work in contemporary times, discussing what has changed in the act of working, analyzing the relationships between capital and work and think about the diversity of work and employment in the different regions of the country. Any candidate, to have the right to be a candidate in favor of another Brazil, would have the obligation to think of work as a cultural totality and not a patch or an educational deception.

What has happened in our history since 1822 is that the liberal (and increasingly capitalist) education of our emblematic nineteenth century created and legislated about a kind of “disenchanted”, fractional and diminished education, in which the “contents” of a curriculum are taught. tax, oriented towards a professional job, especially the poor, and trained to retain facts to be proven. All distant from the desires, vocations, manifested needs and vital meanings of the people who make up the new generations. Had we had historical forces for another orientation, we would have seen with eyes to see the cultures of change in the correlation between sciences, arts, techniques, languages ​​directed to the integral future of beings in the formative process.

But the monstrous work of the Empire (based on slavery and contempt for native peoples) consisted in disenchanting education in what it was already thought of, that is, a place of rights for the growth of the person, of respect for the feelings of the child, of beauty of the ludic, of social and cultural change. The beauties of master and friend Freire fly far from here. Unfortunately for us, the miseducation legacy that the time of colonial transition carved into the 1th and 2st centuries consisted of the communitarian alienation of the family, exclusively functional literacy, white supremacy advancing by levels of study, ignorance of the ethical and aesthetic transforming potential of culture and in the conformist and conformist belief with the practice of colonization, a kind of purgatory of any dialectical thought. Only the personification of the number XNUMX who commands and XNUMX who obeys counts.

Thus, unable to believe in education as a comprehensive change of being in society (with rare and brilliant exceptions) we create norms, rules, strategies and watchwords that keep the formal legacy of the clumsy transition from monarchy to republic almost intact. The New Education Manifesto of 1932 and the great Modernist and revolutionary clashes of that decade did not continue and liberal-capitalism returned to rule as before. Not even a brilliant law, the Child and Adolescent Statute, 1990, and a Citizen Constitution were able to overcome the indecent legacy. Until now.

Read articles, follow debates and check the government plans of any candidates across the country and there will be room for disenchantment: it is a question of promising technical/technological education for high school students, which reveals acceptance of the basic principle of the Temer-Bolsonaro Reform; it is also a question of making culture the united order of what prescribes the creative economy of the so-called “democratic center” in Brazil; in other words: culture is business, culture is heavy creation sold in a new industrial production system. A little further and it can be verified that the territorial, ethnic and class diversity of our country is not worked on by the integrating angle of the ethical, the aesthetic and the scientific (fundamental values ​​of the act of educating), but rather by its logistics and its political patches capable of recovering, to some extent, lost time and lost opportunities, the horror of the moment and the persistent threats of the pandemic.

It is understood, therefore, that very rarely does anyone mention, today, the educational-cultural results achieved by CONAES and even the recent CONAPE, gathered in Natal, July. Any good reader would find in these movements (strong for 15 years of this century) all the educational values ​​and strategies necessary for the most urgent and consistent policies. Associated with regional, state and national conferences that dealt with work and housing, their socio-historical diagnoses, research and organization methods and political referrals surpass everything that is discussed and promised today left and right. It seems, in the texts and speeches, that the past (both secular and recent) has evaporated.

There is no need to point blame. What happened was the acceptance of a disastrous and barbaric legacy, but alive and active. Within it, there were good experiences at the various levels and stages of education, from early childhood education to the university experience, which continue to operate a desirable, albeit timid, dialectic, or the attempt to interpose between state, government and people new values, new projects , new thoughts of change. However, nothing still alters the strength of the legacy, which leads directly to the disenchantment of honest speeches such as "there is still a lot to do", "it will be a struggle for generations", "need to instruct for work", "it is urgent to think about what to do". environment and ecology”, “we are going to recover the school level of the great schools of previous decades” and “more technology to bring the school into global time” or “full-time school for everyone and immediate policies to overcome the delay caused by the pandemic” .

Now, the paths of knowledge and the desire to know do not follow the logic of emergencies or conformity. The organic cultures of the people, alive even under the pandemic and poverty, often excluded, will have to be the privileged listeners after the election, as there is dialectic in them, that is, the deleterious legacies are not greater than the forces, as everyday poverty engenders the your own conscience. As a result, pandemic, education, hunger will be common components of equations worked on by life against the grain, which is the common human condition of the majority. There will be a safe critical pedagogy for the re-evaluation of life made unworthy in this time. Nobody needs saving. A dignified hearing and unfettered capital investment will suffice.

It is sad to imagine that all the intellectual elaboration of this historical moment around education seems to boil down to disputes over institutions and powers in a post-electoral moment. People (incomplete and unfinished as proposed by Paulo Freire) who grow up in different corners of Brazil, aged four, nine or sixteen, are watching ships (ghosts) while the electoral discourse flows. Will we miss the train of history again? Pity.

Perhaps the brutal moment of the administration of the unspeakable plateau engendered this biased picture. Contrary to what is written and said today, it is the reading of the social quality of the formation of generations (with their hearing) that will determine the action of mediating equipment and institutions of governments and society. Now, it is not the institutions (in fact they have become dens of bandits) that must be freed or saved, but their significance (their spirit) at the exclusive service of the well-being (ah! Mestre Freire!) of the different generations in the formative process , which are educated in the forests, in the extended peripheries, in the fields, settlements and camps, on the banks of springs, in the urban tangle and in other situations of life. And if the people of Brazil want to stay in their fields of life, they must stay and build a quality educational culture, because the country cannot be made of privileges. It is made of physical-human geography. Help us Milton Santos.

The National Curriculum Guidelines of the CNE, studied and written since the creation of the LDB/1996, have already provided the ruler and compass for Education/Culture Policies, but that colonial-imperial legacy denied its evidence, pertinence and effectiveness. Capital never loses. And cultural capital is an unnecessary bias. Culture exists and moves, the cultures of the people, whose semantic richness still reacts to that secular violence.

Strictly speaking, today (I repeat, due to the general jam of the campaign and its salvationism) there is not a single proposal that constitutes a matrix policy of education, which embraces culture, an essential constituent of learning, methodological induction the only company to build citizens and citizens. The citizen is the creation of nature and culture. Education welds this constitutive process.

Will it be possible in the moment after the victory of truth and enchantment (soon!) that it will be possible to formulate full and necessary policies of cultural education and educational culture for deep Brazil? I hope!

* Luiz Roberto Alves is a senior research professor at the School of Communication and Arts at the University of São Paulo. Author, among other books, of Administering via culture: educational-cultural revolution in ex-pauliceia desvairada, 1935-1938 (Mall).


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