The experience

Angicos is not only a symbol of the struggle against illiteracy in Brazil. Angicos is a sign of the struggle for universalize education in all its degrees, overcoming the narrow vision that the superior degrees are only for elites and vanguards. Paulo Freire’ s proposal is much wider: an education for the democracy, an education to empower citizenship construction. The struggle against illiteracy in Brazil, after Angicos started to have – specially in that context of 50 years ago – an unmeasurable importance, because it started to highlight the politic dimension as the foundation of epistemological function of education constructing an important step towards the construction of the Brazilian democracy and the multicultural citizenship in Brazil.

Thus, conceive Angicos simply as a literacy experience of 300 rural workers, or as the application of a new and effective “psychosocial” method of literacy, is not to understand Angicos. 

Angicos was the fermentation of a process of pedagogical change wider and deeper, besides announcing the possibility of political and social changes also of wide coverage and abyssal depths in Brazil and Latin America. In the social turbulence of the time, in which adult literacy appeared as precondition for social, political and economical development, Angicos was the voice of the people from Brazilian’s northeast claiming for social justice, solidarity, and democracy. Thus, for most paradoxical as it seems, Angicos overcomes Angicos. Angicos was a project of popular culture that imagined and conceived a national project of education for a democratic society with social justice. Angicaos was also a project of popular culture, that is, a project of respect for the traditions, culture and knowledge of the people, which Paulo Freire was the great mastermind. Since Angicos, it was created the National Commission of Popular Culture, with Paulo Freire as its coordinator, as a committed educator in the construction of democratic citizenship in Brazil. And it’s from Angicos that Paulo Freire becomes, with his exile first in Latin America, then, in Europe a citizen of the world and an international known educator.

Angicos broke the public-private dichotomy, in which the public is seen as problematic, decadent, unable to promote education of quality, ultimately failed, and the private is exalted, especially the market, as efficient, innovator and able to provide education of quality. Angicos can’t be only celebrated as something of the past, but as a light that illuminates the future. As a lighthouse that orients the creation of a national education system. A lighthouse that points to the defense of public education excellence, in the context of a democratic state. A lighthouse that stands the reinvention of public administration in the state efficient, honest, transparent, and above all, that contributes to the welfare of the common citizen and builds the democratic citizenship.

Angicos also explains why Paulo Freire is a patrimony of Brazil, Latin America and the world. Finally, recognized in Brazil, he was pardoned in 2009 and declared patron of the Brazilian education in 2012. His work has increasingly been read, studied, re-read and applied in numerous educational innovations, marking the most radical transformations, interesting and intelligent education worldwide.

 Angicos is also an invitation to a new social pact, in which education, exercised in concert with social movements and civil society, makes the state an instrument of social transformation, an instrument of development management, an instrument of struggle against oppression, an instrument of freedom, and not simply of regulation and of “governance” of the social action, as the neoliberals want.

Beware, though: Angicos can not simply be an alternative to depleted and demobilizing neoliberal discourse, creating another alternative discourse. Angicos is also a metaphor for a radical discourse that the public school becomes popular, a discourse that is not a mere rhetoric, but a discourse that does an invitation for action, a discourse that goes from theory to practice, a discourse that rebuild the foundations of education management in Brazil and worldwide over the ruins of the neoliberal storm. Only then Angicos, as a metaphor, can become a reality.

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