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Demonstrators protest against a massive cut in the education budget imposed by President Jair Bolsonaro. Demonstrators protest against a massive cut in the education budget imposed by the administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 15, 2019 (AP photo by Andre Penner).

Bolsonaro’s ‘War on Education’ Is Provoking a Fierce Backlash in Brazil

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about education policy in various countries around the world.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Brazil last week to protest President Jair Bolsonaro’s drastic cuts to the country’s education system. The demonstrations were organized in response to the government’s plan to slash discretionary budgets for federal universities by 30 percent. Officials say the cuts are necessary to rein in excessive public spending, but opponents see them as part of a longer-term ideological assault on higher education in Brazil. In an email interview with WPR, Justin Axel-Berg, an associate researcher of higher education policy at the University of Sao Paulo, discusses the impact that the cuts would have on Brazil’s universities and why they are “galvanizing” Bolsonaro’s opponents. ...

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