Brazil’s new President, Jair Bolsonaro has recently announced that he plans to make major changes to the country’s education system.
As part of this push, the Education Ministry has dismantled its Diversity program and given a new set of guidelines for future textbooks including the elimination of references to feminism, homosexuality, and violence towards women.
Bolsonaro and others in his government are highly critical of the ideas of Paulo Freire, one of Brazil’s most famous educators.
Freire, who died in 1997, was one of the founders of Critical Pedagogy.
Conservatives believe that this method encourages students to challenge traditional values such as family and the Church.
A huge cohort of Bolsonaro supporters are conservative Catholics and Evangelicals, many of whom are critical of sex education and left-wing ideas in the current education system.
Bolsonaro said in a campaign speech:
‘I will enter the Education Ministry with a flamethrower to remove Paulo Freire.’
Education Minister, Ricardo Velez-Rodriguez in his inaugural speech said that the current education curriculum is threatened by a ‘crazy globalist wave’.
Velez-Rodríguez has also vowed to end the ‘aggressive promotion of the gender ideology’.
Bolsonaro stated in a YouTube video that he would eradicate questions on gender/ LGBT movements from Brazil’s National High School exam.
In an interview with Veja magazine, Velez-Rodríguez expressed the government’s long-term agenda:
“Our kids and teenagers must receive citizenship education, which teaches how to act according to the law and morality.”
Many teachers unions have been unhappy with the proposals.
Citing Socialist Venezuela’s ongoing crisis, the education reforms are part of Bolsonaro’s attempt to remove what he had described as ‘indoctrination that creates political militants’.
“These red criminals will be banished from our homeland.”