On departure, Weintraub revokes ordinance that stipulated quotas in graduate school – 06/18/2020 – Education


About to be fired, Education Minister Abraham Weintraub, this Thursday (18) revoked an ordinance that stipulated the reservation of vacancies for blacks, indigenous people and people with disabilities in graduate programs of federal institutions of higher education.

The ordinance was in force since May 2016, and was still issued by the Dilma Rousseff government (PT). The text provided for federal universities to create reservation systems for these audiences in masters and doctorates.

MEC interlocutors indicate that, behind the scenes, the revocation of the measure was treated as a mission that Weintraub wanted to fulfill before leaving office, as a symbolic fact. There is an expectation that he leave the command of MEC (Ministry of Education) until the end of this week.

At the ministerial meeting on April 22, in addition to defending the arrest of ministers of the STF (Supreme Federal Court), Weintraub said he hated the term “indigenous peoples”.

The MEC informed in a note that the revocation of the ordinance occurred based on a 2019 decree on the review and consolidation of normative acts. The portfolio also pointed out that the Quota Law provides for affirmative actions “exclusively for undergraduate courses”.

The portfolio did not respond if there were studies that preceded the act.

The revocation of the ordinance does not mean the end of the reservation of vacancies in graduate school. Several research institutions and programs had created inclusion policies before the ordinance and have the autonomy to maintain or discontinue measures like this.

The Gemaa (Multidisciplinary Study Group for Affirmative Action), linked to UERJ (State University of Rio de Janeiro) analyzed 49 policies created between 2002 and 2017. Of these, 61% had been stipulated by decision of the program itself, 10% by resolution university and 6% based on state law.

Despite forcing universities to create commissions for the inclusion of blacks, indigenous people and people with disabilities in graduate school, the revoked ordinance did not determine reserve percentages nor did it provide for sanctions on the university in case of non-compliance.

Political scientist João Feres, coordinator of Gemmaa, says he does not expect a generalized emptying of inclusion programs because of the repeal.

“In practical terms what can happen is that some programs created can end, because there is no longer any obligation. This repeal does not indicate that universities will be forced to abolish their policies. Universities have the autonomy to create these programs and even within the university, departments can develop their own inclusive processes, ”he said, linked to IESP (Institute of Social and Political Studies at the State University of Rio de Janeiro).

Feres points out that the 2016 ordinance acted as an incentive, and the creation of inclusion programs led to the entry of more blacks, indigenous people and people with disabilities in universities.

In interviews, Abraham Weintraub said he was in favor of social quotas, but said he did not agree with the reservation of vacancies with racial criteria. President Jair Bolsonaro (without a party) has a history of minimizing racism in the country and has always been critical of the quota law.

Chosen by Bolsonaro, the president of the Palmares Foundation, Sérgio Camargo, recently referred to the black movement as “cursed scum” and censored biographies of historic black leaders on the institution’s website. The federal institution has exactly the objective of protecting this memory.

Former Minister of Education Aloizio Mercadante, who signed the decree now canceled, criticized in a note the government’s decision. According to him, the measure continued, in postgraduate studies, the policy of inclusion by quotas in higher education.

“The Bolsonaro government is once again demonstrating its total lack of commitment to combating historical racial inequalities and discrimination that plague the Brazilian people,” says the note.

Frei David Santos, director of the NGO Educafro, says he believes that revoking the 2016 ordinance can have a major impact on diversity within federal higher education institutions. For him, Weintraub applies, under Bolsonaro’s consent, a project that aims to end all acquired rights of the black population.

“Bolsonaro’s project for the black people is totally designed and resumption of slavery disguised as cheap labor. We black society refuse the role of pirate parrot from our black brother Hélio Bolsonaro [deputado da base de apoio do presidente], used by the system to break our fighting capacity, “he says.” We ask Brazil not to allow Bolsonaro to humiliate black people. The moment is urgent, but even in the face of the pandemic, we will do our utmost political articulation to stop this attitude ”, he said.

For the friar, the structural racism exposed, especially in the last few weeks after the wave of anti-racist protests in the world, can lead federal universities to end inclusion and diversity programs. This is because, according to Frei, even the rectors with political positions of the center and the left were resistant to quota policies.

“Unfortunately, the issue of structural racism is a disease that has infected the right, the center and the Brazilian left. Unfortunately, I tell you that most of the center and left rectors will welcome this ordinance. The right, left and center in Brazil have always had this agreement with the thing, leaving black people without conquests. If any dean of the center, left or right, does not realize the importance of blacks in the university, that dean is sick in the head ”, he says.

Educafro has already brought together, according to Brother David, volunteer lawyers who are studying legal measures to revoke Weintraub’s ordinance. “Educafro goes to the last instance to be able to revoke this decree”.

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