9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN10 Sociology of Education

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Social Inequalities IV Building I, 2E6

Underschooled youths and adults in Portugal and Brazil: targets of the same logic of conformity

In this paper we analyse some measures concerning educational policy targeted at underschooled youths and adults in Portugal and Brazil. Despite their differences, both countries present strong similarities due to their semi-peripheral condition, as they show themselves especially receptive to the ideologies and directions issued by supranational organizations such as BIRD, IMF and Unesco in the case of Brazil and OECD and European Commission in the case of Portugal. Common to all these organizations is the defence of an instrumental conception of education for employability, for productivity, for competitiveness and for social cohesion. Transformed into merchandise, education plays a fundamental role in the consolidation of the new spirit of capitalism (Boltansky & Chiappello, 1999; Mészáros, 2002).
The Portuguese and Brazilian governments adhered to the thesis that their position in the international division of labour is the result of the low level of qualification of the working class. As a consequence they have implemented, since the beginning of the 21st century, some educational measures oriented towards the raise of the educational and professional qualification levels. Within the scope of this paper, the analysis comprises the New Opportunities Programme in Portugal and the Programme for the Inclusion of Youth (PROJOVEM), especially the PROJOVEM Worker, in Brazil. In short, the NOP aims at qualifying and certifying one million workers, rendering the completion of 12th grade as a minimum educational reference level and enrolling half of the secondary students in VET courses. The PROJOVEM aims at allowing the completion of the fundamental course (compulsory education) together with professional training for one million and four hundred thousand young people who had never completed it.
The analysis allows us to demonstrate that these measures contribute to increase the functional subordination of the educational policies to the economic interests and to reinforce the ideological conformity of Portuguese and Brazilian working classes.