Brazil’s hopeless future of science

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This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Laís de Carvalho Pinheiro , a twenty-eight years old medical student, lawyer and internationalist at Natal/RN, Brazil. She is also affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

In 2011, in the beginning of Roussef’s government, Brazil founded, by decree law, a new and revolutionary exchange program for all students called Science Without Borders – SWB (“Ciência Sem Fronteiras”) (1,2). The program aimed to propitiate training and education for federal universities’ students (including the medical ones), by scholarship funding (about 100.000, until 2017), in reference centers, by way of cities or countries, with the intention of addressing many thematic, learning and developing quite know-how.

By some few years results – that many times were poor than expected – theprogram began to show weaknesses and faults by three perspectives: 1) Brazilian student presents an enormous barrier about non-fluency in the English language, since primary education; 2) despite the requirement to come up with outcomes, SWB was established by non-focused and not well-defined goals and results; 3) because of the great incompatibilities in the curriculum, within a tough and rigorous Ministry of Education, the students returned without taking advantage of many subjects taught during that period (on average 1 year), causing strong demotivation and lack of desire to continue learning and researching, generating, in that way, new expenses for the government by itself.

Added to this scenario, in the political sphere, in April 2016, President Rousseff underwent through political impeachment process. On the Vice-President’s rise, the country undergoes over economic changes, resulting in major brakes concerning the social and cultural policies. Currently, on 04 April 2017, the Minister of Education announced the end of SWB, in undergraduate courses, claiming the lack of funds and resources for new investments (3).

Walking against world’s major Medical Schools, the opportunity to have new experiences was taken from the Brazilian’s students. Instead of pursuing policies aimed at solving the real and living SWB’s problems, the – neoliberalist – ideal of cutting education spending was applied without measuring the consequences involved.

The Ministry of Education’s management was severely criticized by scientific community, media and by students themselves, who at some point could be benefited by SWB. Brazil is an extreme social inequalities country, the termination of exchange program will affect those who have generally had fewer opportunities. Without SWB, for many students – especially the low-income ones – the scientific exchange, the opportunity to study abroad and overseas, and the chance be able to learn from professors and classmates at an international major university will be just a far and cold dream.

In presently setting, in which major Medical Universities obtain increasingly cosmopolitan outlines and when academic mobility becomes an imperative, the death of the largest Brazilian internationalization program was an unfortunate way and unhappy treaty.

References

(1) Presidência da República. Casa Civil. Decreto nº 7.652, de 13 de dezembro de 2011. Brasília: Diário Oficial da União; 2011 [dec 14 2011]. Available on: http://www.cienciasemfronteiras.gov.br/documents/214072/5058435/Decreto7642-Csf.pdf

(2) Ministério da Educação. Portaria nº 973, de 14 de novembro de 2014; Brasília: Diário Oficial da União; 2014 [nov 17 2014]. Available on: http://www.cienciasemfronteiras.gov.br/documents/214072/fce17e07-48b5-4b96-88e3- d9ca6dbb8186

(3) Carta Capital [Internet]. Brasília: Editora Confiança; 2017 [apr 15 2017]. Available on: https://www.cartacapital.com.br/revista/947/o-fim- do-ciencia-sem-fronteiras- adia-a- internacionalizacao-das- universidades

About the author

Laís de Carvalho Pinheiro is a twenty-eight years old medical student, lawyer and internationalist at Natal/RN, Brazil. She always dreamed to become a doctor, now she is working on it. She studies at Universidade Potiguar – UnP Medical School, but the social cause will never leave her soul and heart. She is always involve on political issues and has a great passion for writing and reading – a lot.

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