Indigenous policies

Parameters of a national policy

When assuming responsibility for the coordination of educational actions in indigenous lands, MEC's first task was the creation of a document which would define the parameters of a national policy on this type of education, in order to guide the work of several agencies. Thus, in 1993, the "Directives for a National Policy on Education for Indigenous People" document was issued, establishing as guiding pedagogical principles - in a context of cultural diversity - specificity, distinctiveness, intercultural aspects, use of mother tongues, and global aspects of the learning process. This document, elaborated by the National Committee of Indigenous Education - made up of representatives of both governmental and non-governmental organs which work with indigenous education, and representatives of indigenous teachers - was based on innovative experiences carried out by non-governmental organizations which work with different indigenous peoples. Those experiences - motivated by the need of presenting  autonomy alternatives to indigenous peoples facing the State's integration policy - generated a distinctive qualification model for indigenous teachers, in order to qualify them to teach at and run their schools. In its turn, this model was embraced by MEC as a system to be disseminated nationwide.

General coordination of indigenous education

Other important initiatives were added to this new context. A general coordination of indigenous education was consolidated in the Education Department and the creation of management levels in state departments of education - to take charge of schools and qualification of indigenous teachers - was stimulated. At MEC, it was elaborated a project financing program for indigenous education to support plans developed by indigenous support organizations and universities. Also, FNDE financial resources were invested so that the state departments of education could develop specific action plans in this field. With that, the importance of the role of non-governmental experiences in the qualification process of indigenous teachers was acknowledged, and at the same time it raised the possibility of creating new qualification courses, this time by governmental initiatives. Another significant action took place with the support to the publishing of pedagogical material elaborated by indigenous teachers themselves, an important step to their qualification process and also an opportunity to increase the number of literary texts written by indigenous teachers.