Why can't ANDES negotiate?

Image: Ramazan Karaoglanoglu
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By ROBERTO DE CAMPOS GIORDANO*

This would imply denying the conception of a teaching career that they have always defended and their own conception of a University

At a time of acute controversy on the networks about the role of ANDES and PROIFES in the current strike by teachers at Universities and Federal Institutes, it may be interesting to shed light on a fundamental issue that, I believe, has not been clearly addressed. Whatever: in my humble opinion, ANDES (the feminine article is intentional) cannot seriously negotiate with the government. Because this would imply denying the conception of a teaching career that they have always defended and, therefore, their own conception of the University.

In other words, ANDES cannot accept proposals that are based on a career built by PROIFES, in negotiation with the democratic administrations of the federal government, between 2003 and 2016. This career would be, for ANDES, “asymmetrical, elitist, academicist, meritocratic”…

In effect, ANDES defends a career with 13 “little steps”, in which the teacher would reach the top after 24 years, going from teacher 1 to teacher 13 throughout their professional life. In other words, ANDES does not accept different salary steps when changing categories (associate, associate and full-time), after academic evaluation processes. And every counterproposal from the federal government, which is on the table, is based on this structure (which for simplicity, I will call the “PROIFES career”, as it was essentially conceived by it).

As all colleagues know, anywhere in the world the academy recognizes these designations of the teaching career as reflecting the teacher's merit. After a peer assessment, you are promoted to these categories – with a corresponding natural salary incentive. Therefore, when I introduced myself as “full teacher” to colleagues abroad, from China to Mexico, from Denmark to South Africa, immediately recognized my status in academia.

Does ANDES want us to present ourselves as teachers 5, 11 or 13? Note that this is not just a question of nomenclature: the objective fact is that ANDES is against a career in which progression is based on the evaluation of academic work (in teaching, research and extension), having different stages: lecturer/reader/adjunct, associate, full/chair professor. Of course, there is some variation in the denominations, but there is a universal concept behind them: more than a functional classification, these titles presuppose merit, recognition by peers.

PROIFES proposed and defends a career consistent with this universal vision, which ultimately seeks to reflect academic excellence in one's career.

Elitism? I do not believe. It is just the adoption of a model, established from the history of the University throughout the world, as a structuring element of academic quality.

Of course, anyone who wants can believe that this “meritocratic” model can be modified based on the “correct” conception of ANDES. And that this would not help to mediocrite the University and the Federal Institutes, whose excellence is so necessary to build a fairer country. Yes, one can have that opinion, just as one can believe that the vaccine has a Chinese chip or that the Earth is flat...

I believe that also on this side, childish sectarianism, ultimately, will swell the extreme right. Let us then continue to “tension to the left” this “reformist class conciliation” government, now. Until the final victory…

*Roberto de Campos Giordano He is a retired professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering at UFSCar. He was president of ADUFSCar in 1985-86.


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