HomeTechnologyOpinion - I am Science: The right to science

Opinion – I am Science: The right to science


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We have studied and disseminated what Brazilian universities did during the covid-19 pandemic, how much they produced scientifically and brought solutions to one of the most dramatic moments in history and, in particular, of our country, on this tragic occasion ruled by denialists.

We also show how public universities, research institutes and scientists dedicated themselves to communication and dissemination during this period. There was a great movement to present to society the important and reliable information about the coronavirus and vaccines, fighting the fake news and fake science who insisted on ravaging us.

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And not limited to just producing knowledge and taking information, public universities worked together with the SUS, with governments, entities and social movements, expanding assistance, qualifying actions, bringing research elements in real time, providing various aid in solidarity – despite cut budgets, in a war scenario.

The connection, solidarity and alliance between researchers, students and society grew and was fundamental to show and bring science and universities, especially public ones, closer to the general public. Empowered by the media and the need for initiatives that would address the lack of Federal Government leadership in public health, education and science and technology policies, pro-science sentiment grew, turning into a great wave against obscurantism. In addition, the recognition and appreciation of scientists in society has grown, who are now considered by 41% of the population as the most reliable professionals in the country, as a result of this movement and the efforts of many.

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We are proud to have collaborated so that science can fulfill this civic role, which is one of many that make up the social function of the Brazilian Public University. And we see more and more people interested in science, in all areas: from health sciences to economic sciences, from legal sciences to information sciences, from life sciences to earth sciences, from exact sciences to humanities.

However, we still have a long way to go before the “right to science” spread widely and be accessible and guaranteed to everyone. Therefore, we currently have to understand access to science as an essential human right, which makes up the elements of the so-called full right. We conquered the right to education, culture and to health, although they have been so attacked in recent years, particularly by the current government. We will have to act to resume the full exercise of these fundamental rights in the coming years and at the same time define and build the right to science as part of the right to life , to knowledge that guarantees well-being and a decent quality of life for everyone.

To paraphrase our dear master, Antonio Candido, like literature, science corresponds to a universal need of the human being, because it provides means for understanding the world and organizes us, frees us from chaos, from myths and, therefore, humanizes us. Secondly, science (like literature) “can be a conscious instrument of unmasking, because it focuses on situations of restriction of rights, or denial of them, such as misery, servitude, spiritual mutilation. in the other, it has a lot to do with the struggle for human rights” (in The Right to Literature).

In Brazil, we have a public system of higher education institutions that is in place and that is the result of the university reform initiated before the 1964 coup, so well induced by Anísio Teixeira, Darcy Ribeiro, Ernani Fiori and a generation of activist teachers and students. that moment. Despite the need to reflect on this reform interrupted by the coup and its current challenges, changes that may be formulated in the future, a system was constituted that resisted dictatorships, governmental weather (eg Collor de Mello and Bolsonaro), as well as ups and downs of funding policy (eg FHC, Temer and second Dilma administration).

The model brought about the inseparability of teaching, research and extension, and scientific research started to be developed on a large scale within graduate programs, also a guideline of the same reform. This partly explains why about 80% of research in our country is carried out in universities, especially in public universities established in accordance with the program summarized by Darcy Ribeiro in his text “Principles of the University Reform” (in the book The Necessary University).

Although we have many researchers in universities and Scientific Initiation programs for our undergraduate and even high school students, much more needs to be done to include our young people, children and adolescents, from an early age, in the wonderful world of science. Scientific training in Brazil is far from what would be consistent with a process of broad training, full citizenship and national development with sovereignty.

Understanding the sciences and their methods can not only help to combat the lies that are disseminated, but can also help in the exercise of logic and the construction of solutions based on well-formulated questions, in obtaining results and in expanding access to its benefits. . Along with reflection from the humanities, it is possible to make technical knowledge become a transforming agent for society as a whole. It is a change of level, for a population that thinks and that distinguishes what is best for its development, at all levels.

Therefore, we can no longer speak of the popularization of science as a bonus or an appendix to the structure of training or scientific production. It is necessary to talk about the right to science, making it accessible and taking it where the people are. Quality education and awareness of science will be sources of knowledge and understanding of the world, they will also be a source of equity and intellectual emancipation, for a people that once again needs to overcome obscurantism. We will put an end to the darkness. By the way; we are already doing this.

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