Bolsonaro’s application for literacy is another of the government’s lies

After four years of setbacks in Brazilian education, with cuts in resources for university day care centers and even children’s school lunches, which for many are the main meal of the day, President Jair Bolsonaro (PL), candidate for reelection, announced in the debate of the Band last Sunday (15) an application, unknown to the vast majority of the population, which would be revolutionizing children’s literacy. He lied again.

“It’s another one of Bolsonaro’s fallacies, another one of the lies he feeds to win votes and create unnecessary controversies to be in evidence,” says Professor Heleno Araújo, president of the National Confederation of Education Workers (CNTE).

Working with literacy for over 30 years, in Gravataí (RS), Maria da Graça Dombroski, also an educator, says that “’she doesn’t even know what method this is”.

“I didn’t look, I didn’t go in, I didn’t use this platform. As an educator, I use my way of teaching literacy, which mixes several methods, because each student is a unique being and the interaction between the educator and the child is fundamental so that, within their particularities, they become literate”, says the teacher.

She explains that, in her experience, there is no single method, ‘a miraculous method’, as Bolsonaro said about the app.

“The educator develops the work and when he sees it, the student is already reading. Therefore, there is nothing to say about this method. [do aplicativo]because is [um método] unthinkable”, concludes Maria da Graça.

What is Bolsonaro’s magical app?

The cell phone application, called Graphogame, to which Bolsonaro referred in the debate is not a resource capable of teaching children to read and write. And who says that are the developers of the system.

After the president’s false speech, representatives of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) published a note stating that the “game”, developed in Finland and had its content adapted to Portuguese by the Brain Institute (Inscer) and warned the real purpose of the application which, by the way, is only for those who have a cell phone with internet access.

“The university explains that the application can be a support tool, but that alone it is not capable of teaching literacy”, says the institution’s note.

The text also highlights that “literacy is not the objective of the initiative and of the researchers. The tool aims to assist in the development of children’s phonological and phonemic awareness, that is, in the relationship between letter and sound”.

As a teacher with experience in the classroom, Heleno Araújo reinforces that the application ‘is meaningless’ as a literacy tool.

“The literacy process takes place in direct contact, in the presence, in the construction of the learning relationship between children and adolescents and adults, in order to learn. This is how the training and literacy process is built up”, says Heleno.

“This is another aberration of Bolsonaro”, points out the leader, explaining that the Brazilian reality is that a large portion of the population does not have devices (smartphones) to access applications and, worse, cannot afford internet data packages. .

“It’s another absurdity on top of a technology that doesn’t serve or reach most children and young people, a technologist that doesn’t even have the objective of teaching literacy. It is absurd to have a president who is completely unprepared like him”, says Heleno

App for those who don’t have internet

Not even the Ministry of Education (MEC) itself has enough data to attest to the functioning of the system. According to report published by Folha de SP, the only data available to the MEC are on the number of people who downloaded the app (1.7 million), but there are no details on the users’ profile – whether they are young people or adults and which social strata they belong to. In practice, the federal assessment of basic education in 2021 showed that students had a drop in learning in the pandemic, many of them precisely because they did not have a cell phone or computer or wi-fi to attend distance classes.

More than 4.8 million children and adolescents (from 9 to 17 years old) do not have access to the internet in Brazil. The data are from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) collected by the Regional Center for Studies for the Development of the Information Society ( of the Information and Coordination Center of Ponto BR (

“In addition to having this system that doesn’t work to teach literacy, you have the second problem, which is how to reach children and adolescents. Bolsonaro himself, in yet another of his misdeeds, in 2020 denied aid to public schools, amounts that would be passed on to states and municipalities for equipment and internet access”, says Heleno.

O bill 3,477/2020 provided for the transfer of R$ 3.5 billion from the Fund for Universalization of Telecommunications Services (Fust) to states, municipalities and the Federal District to guarantee internet services for students and teachers in the public school system. Bolsonaro’s veto was later overturned by the Chamber of Deputies, but Bolsonaro appealed to the Federal Supreme Court (STF).

“We are facing a monster that does not want to make any policy for the country, it just wants to destroy what was set up for its own benefit. Bolsonaro makes small talk, without data, because he does not know and is not interested in knowing what is going on ”, says Heleno Araújo about the President of the Republic.

“He just wants to win votes and acts on facts like that, creating more lies to win votes and continue in command of the country”, reinforces the president of the CNTE.

CNTE position

In a note, the National Confederation of Education Workers (CNTE) states that “the proposal to disseminate applications for literacy is not only a disrespect for students and education professionals, but also denounces the intention of the current government to continue the dismantling of public education. , intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Investment in schools is necessary, which, unfortunately, has been neglected in much of the country, including the successive budget cuts that the federal government makes in the Ministry of Education and that compromise transport, school meals, the acquisition of textbooks , among other essential materials for the quality of literacy and public education in general”, says an excerpt from the note.

The speech in the debate of the Band

While Lula said that if elected, he will enter into articulation with governors to reverse the damages in education caused by the necessary social isolation during the pandemic, Bolsonaro tried to praise achievements without any effective relevance to education, such as the aforementioned application.

“We are going to do a real task force, invite teachers, who knows how to work on Sundays, who know how to work on Saturdays so that we can make these kids learn what they failed to learn during the pandemic”, said Lula.

Bolsonaro, in his speech, said that “the Ministry of Education has an application that has been improved and has been in force for a year. (…) on a cell phone, the program is downloaded and the kids stay there. In the past, kids took three years to become literate. Now, in our government, it takes six months.”

For Heleno Araújo, Bolsonaro, with his speech, demonstrated that his tactic is to lie and deceive the Brazilian population to get votes. The CUT Portal enumerated some of the setbacks in education during the last four years, including the disastrous passage of four ministers (so far) by the Ministry of Education.

Bolsonaro’s “downfalls” in education over four years

He fully vetoed the House of Representatives bill that provided for financial aid of R$ 3.5 billion from the Union to states, the Federal District and municipalities to guarantee internet access for students and teachers of public education networks as a result of the pandemic. The veto was overturned by the Chamber of Deputies.
He promised four thousand day care centers. He only made seven. He delivered 793 that were made in the Dilma government.
Congress provided 100 million for kindergarten schools. It cut 97% of these resources, reducing the investment to R$ 2.5 million, which is enough to build only five daycare centers.
It cut school lunch resources, reducing it to R$ 36 cents per child. Child nutrition being fundamental for cognitive and intellectual development, but the reality was children sharing a single egg in their lunch or eating cookies with juice.
Cut the purchase of teaching materials. More than 70 million books have not been purchased and this will affect 12 million students as early as the beginning of 2023.
In addition to persecuting deans, scientists and university professors, the government has cut off institutional resources. So far, Education has lost R$ 2.9 billion.
During its government, the MEC had four ministers. One of them, Milton Ribeiro, was even arrested for involvement in corruption schemes. He handed over funds from the National Fund for the Development of Education to pastors, according to the minister himself, at the behest of Bolsonaro.
There was no policy to protect teachers and students during the pandemic, which caused a delay in children’s literacy. More than 40% of children of literacy age have not learned to read and write.
Does not comply with the Floor Law. Despite Bolsonaro’s speech when he said he gave teachers a 33% raise, the readjustment that accompanies inflationary rates is determined by Law 11,837, sanctioned in 2008 by Lula. The law has faced resistance from mayors and governors, especially those who support the Bolsonaro government, in the case of Romeu Zema (Novo), in Minas Gerais, who vetoed the adjustment this year.

the ministers

In almost four years of term, as well as in Health, the Ministry of Education has in history an ‘exchange-exchange’ of ministers involved in polemics and even corruption scandals.

Ricardo Velez Rodriguezprofessor took over on January 1, 2019 and left on April 8, 2019. One of the objectives was to change the content of the History subject of the curriculum, changing to ‘countercoup that saved Brazil from communism’ the Coup of Estado dos Militares in 1964. He was fired because of the ideological dispute between followers of the late philosopher stunt double Olavo de Carvalho and the military.
Abraham Weintraub, economist, also a follower of Olavo de Carvalho, was a master in polemics at the ministry. He left office on June 20, 2020 after participating in an act against the Federal Supreme Court (STF) and having declared ““I have already spoken my opinion, what would I do with these bums”. In addition, he is the author of the famous phrase that said about “discussion in universities”, accused students of being ‘potheads’ and tried to intervene in the appointment of deans. Also in its management there were problems in the correction and attribution of Enem grades.
Carlos Decotteli, a university professor, did not even take office. He was nominated by Bolsonaro but had his honesty questioned after plagiarism was proven in his Master’s dissertation, in addition to false titles at universities such as • Rosario in Argentina and Wuppertal in Germany.
Milton Ribeiro, pastor of the Presbyterian Church took over on June 16, 2020 and stayed until March 2022 when he left office after the corruption scandals that involved pastors friends of the first lady Michelle Bolsonaro. According to the former minister himself, at the behest of Bolsonaro, pastors were privileged in the distribution of FNDE resources – they charged bribes to release funds for mayors. Ribeiro was arrested after the scandal. It is his statement that homosexuals were the result of dysfunctional families.
Victor Godoy, engineer and civil servant, is the current minister and says he stays away from controversy, but it is under his management that the government froze funds for education. The blockade package includes BRL 1 billion for the portfolio and puts the functioning of universities at risk. The government even reversed the blockade that aimed to redirect resources to the Secret Budget, but did not say when they would be released.
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