The transition cabinet of the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) defined a recomposition of BRL 12 billion in the 2023 MEC (Ministry of Education) budget based on the fiscal space to be created with the so-called Transition PEC.
The amount should reinforce the headings for universities, works, school supplies, transport and school lunches.
Recomposition of resources for school meals is a requirement of the president-elect. A allocation of BRL 1.5 billion to the PNAE (National School Feeding Program) has been decided, whose amounts have not been readjusted since 2017.
President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) even vetoed a readjustment of this program this year.
An amount of BRL 3.9 billion is foreseen in the 2023 Budget for lunch. This represents a 33% drop in spending in 2014 and a 22% drop compared to 2018, in comparison with inflation-adjusted values.
PNAE money varies from R$0.32 to R$1.07 per day per student. The federal program corresponds to a small part of the total expenditure of states and municipalities on school meals, which is up to nine times greater.
“The idea is to correct the underfunding of education with these R$ 12 billion,” he told Sheet Deputy Reginaldo Lopes (PT-MG), leader of the transition group and protagonist in discussions on education. “There are urgent needs in all educational stages and actions, such as early childhood education, lunches, learning recovery plans, universities and institutes”.
This is the first value that appears on the budget recomposition plans if the PEC is approved. The PT’s proposal, currently under negotiation, seeks to remove at least R$ 175 billion from the spending ceiling to finance Bolsa Família.
The amount approved outside the ceiling would make room for expansion of other federal budget expenses. It will add, however, to a deficit already foreseen for the year of around R$ 63 billion, increasing the amount that will have to be financed by the government, at high interest rates (expectations are that the Selic, today at 13.75%, remains at this level at least until mid-2023).
The PEC is seen by the PT as fundamental to guarantee the execution of electoral promises and, in the view of Lula’s team, to maintain essential public policies. The R$ 12 billion virtually reserved for education represent 7% of the R$ 175 billion that the PT intends to take from the ceiling.
MEC’s global budget for 2023 is BRL 130 billion, an amount inflated by the constitutional forecast of the Union’s supplement to Fundeb, which increased and amounts to BRL 39.9 billion. The fund is the main financing mechanism for basic education.
Just like lunch, Lula also made it a priority to recompose the budget of universities and federal institutes. System resources have fallen since 2015 and, under Bolsonaro, cuts and freezes have put the functioning of institutions at risk.
Negotiations with rectors indicate some paths, according to people involved in the transition heard by the Sheet🇧🇷 The idea is that discretionary (free) resources are recomposed to the reality of 2019 and investments, to that of 2014.
In the 2023 Budget proposal sent by the Bolsonaro government to Congress, investment resources for higher education total R$ 232 million. In 2014, the value was R$ 1.6 billion, already corrected for inflation.
Under Bolsonaro, the MEC had its resources emptied. Basic education, for example, loses BRL 1 billion in 2023 in relation to this year’s Budget.
Spending on the PAR (Articulated Action Plan) in 2021, of BRL 796 million, was the lowest in a decade and is equivalent to less than a third of what is invested annually, on average, from 2012 to 2018.
This year, the amount was R$ 260 million until October 19th. Within the PAR are resources ranging from school buses to school works.
Each year of the current administration, effective spending on early childhood education has been lower. MEC ended 2021 with R$ 101 million paid for daycare works in city halls. This is an 80% reduction compared to 2018, the last year of the Michel Temer (MDB) government.
There is a forecast of only R$ 5 million for the construction of day care centers in 2023. This amount is not enough to pay for even two units.
Lula’s transition intends to reactivate spending on daycare centers. In September, the country totaled 1,216 children’s education works at a standstill —there is even a liability in this volume for constructions started during the Dilma Rousseff (PT) government.
The Quality Basic Education program, in which the actions of the FNDE (National Fund for the Development of Education) are allocated, had a cut of BRL 2.31 billion (-19%) in 2023, when compared to the 2022 budget From this cut, R$ 539 million came from the specific action of the PNLD (National Book and Didactic Material Program).
Members of the publishing sector are concerned about the possibility of another cut of R$ 160 million approved by the Senate Education Commission in the program’s budget for 2023. According to the sector, this could make deliveries of books to schools unfeasible. There are still no details on the recomposition planned by the transition to the PNLD.
In addition to the budget, the transition team works to restore the operational capacity of the MEC. The education group led by former minister Henrique Paim has held meetings with representatives of education secretaries and universities.
Such as Sheet showed, it is already a consensus in the group to recreate a sub-folder in the MEC (Ministry of Education) responsible for diversity and inclusion actions.
Secadi (Secretariat for Continuing Education, Literacy, Diversity and Inclusion) was extinguished in the early days of the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government. The decision was a maneuver to eliminate the themes of human rights, ethnic-racial education and the very word diversity, such as Sheet revealed at the time.