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EASA expresses deep concern about the planned higher education reforms of the Brazilian government

EASA has issued a statement of concern about the planned higher education reforms of the Brazilian government, and their impact on academic freedom and publicly-led higher education.

You can download the letter as a PDF.

The text of the letter is below.

To: Jair Bolsonaro
President, Brazil

Concern regarding the planned higher education reforms of the Brazilian government

Your Excellency

The Executive Committee of the European Association of Social Anthropology (EASA) wishes to express its deep concern about the proposed reforms of the higher education sector in Brazil. Brazil’s humanities and social science departments and scholars currently make a crucial contribution to their academic fields internationally, and these reforms are likely to significantly damage future ability of Brazilian universities to continue to do so. We wish to extend our full support for the national day of action against these reforms planned by colleagues and students for the 15th of May 2019.

The Government-proposed withdrawal of funds for philosophy and sociology, the 30% budget cuts to all federal universities, the curtailing of partially used PhD and MA scholarships and the form in which commercial interests are being introduced to the higher education sector are all likely to severely damage the principles of academic freedom and publicly-led higher education that allows rigorous and open research and learning.

These reforms particularly harm the potential for the humanities and social sciences to provide diverse and critical perspectives that can contribute to the further development of an equal and just society in Brazil. These academic fields foster the ability of all people, in all walks of life, to critically examine the wider social consequences of their actions.

We believe that the planned reforms will severely compromise the independence of social sciences and the academic freedom and autonomy of individual scholars, disciplines and public institutions in Brazil. We urge the government of Brazil to reject these reforms so as to safeguard the democratic social dialogue that is fostered by the humanities and social sciences.

Yours sincerely
Sarah Green
President, EASA
On behalf of EASA’s Executive Committee