Education International fully supports its Brazilian affiliate, the Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Educação, in its denunciation of a newly elected parliamentarian’s attempt to shackle teachers’ freedom of speech.
The Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Educação (National Confederation of Education Sector Workers-CNTE), which represents over 4 million public school workers in Brazil, vehemently condemned on 29 October the statement by newly elect congresswoman Ana Caroline Campagnolo, a member of the president-elect’s Social Liberal Party (PSL) calling on students to make audio and video recording of what she defines as “indoctrinating teachers”.
“Her statement is a clear attack on the teaching profession and shows disregard for principles enshrined in law and our constitution,” CNTE’s National Executive Board firmly condemned.
The trade union went on noting that the move is an attack of academic freedom, which is enshrined in Brazilian constitution, under article 205, which clearly guarantees “the freedom to teach, learn, research and disseminate thought, art and knowledge”. It is also contrary to the principles of article 3 of the Brazilian national education law of 1996 establishing the plurality of ideas and pedagogical approaches and academic freedom as fundamental principles of the country’s education system.
The CNTE leaders call on all teachers who might be victim of attacks and or whose classrooms be invaded to ensure there are witnesses of the events, that they do not allow unauthorized recording that violate right to privacy. The union also encourages teachers to contact their union immediately for legal action.
“To our condemnation of this attitude, we add a warning: we shall not be intimidated,” they concluded, emphasising that “public education in our country will not be destroyed without resistance”.
“We stand by our Brazilian colleagues and support their fight to ensure quality education for all and respect for human and trade union rights in their country,” EI General Secretary David Edwards also insisted.
He went on explaining that “it is not acceptable nor democratic to demonise opponents, to label civil society’s actions as ‘terrorist’ to discredit them, and to threaten to take away the rights and freedoms of citizens earmarked as scapegoats.”
Education International and its Brazilian affiliates will be closely monitoring the situation of educators, students and the education system in Brazil.