Brazil: Global Forum on Education Condemns Conservatism and Private School

    The World Education Forum which ended this Saturday, March 26, drew up a final document (Carta de Nova Iguaçu, Nova Iguaçu Letter) in which it declared education a human and social right.

    "Education is a fundamental instrument in the construction of a more just society," said the document.

    During four days the forum brought together some 30,000 people from over 25 countries. They were educators, social movement militants, students and official delegates.

    The final document says: "We reaffirm our commitment to a public school that is free, secular and provides the student with quality education. We repudiate neoliberalism, conservatism and oligarchical systems that seek to privatize and turn education into merchandise."

    Opinions on the success of the forum varied. The forum’s main theme was "Citizen Education for an Educating City." Pable Venegas, a member of a Chilean NGO, said the debates he attended dealt with the main theme in detail.

    But, Ramon Moncada, of a Colombian NGO, said there was a lack of depth in the discussions, with topics being debated only in very general terms.

    Meanwhile, the mayor of Nova Iguaçu, Lindberg Faria from the PT (Workers Party) said he considered the event a big success and was pleased that the forum would return to Nova Iguaçu in 2008.

    Model for Social Inclusion

    The World Education Forum also made an effort to find educational models with characteristics and projects that could be used in other countries.

    According to the executive secretary of the forum, Pierre Roy, the Brazilian experience represents a fundamental contribution to the idea of an educational system which involves society as a whole.

    "The Brazilian educational system already serves as an example for Nicaragua and Cuba," said Roy. He cited as innovations the integrated centers for public education (Cieps), the centers for child and adolescent support (Ciacs) and distance learning projects.

    Agência Brasil

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