Senate approves bill to guarantee internet in public schools | Legislation

On Wednesday (9), the Senate approved a bill (PL 142/2018) that guarantees greater access to internet connections in public schools through funding from Fust – Fund for Universalization of Telecommunications Services. The measure institutes the Connected Education Innovation Policy and opens the way for the creation of a council that monitors its implementation.

Electronic Plenary of the Senate (Image: Pedro França/Agenzia Senate)

Senate wants to create a committee to monitor the project

The bill approved by the Senate corresponds to an Education Plan strategy approved in 2014 with the objective of universalizing internet access to the public education network.

Senator Daniella Ribeiro (PP-PB), author of the text, asks: “Internet access with quality and speed compatible with the needs of pedagogical use of teachers and students and the encouragement of training teachers and managers in pedagogical practices with technology and for the use of technology, among others”.

In addition, the law determines that an Advisory Committee be created to monitor the implementation of the network in schools; it will be composed of members of federal agencies, representatives of civil society and professors from public universities, among other education officials.

“The referred Committee will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the schools’ connection policy, in addition to other functions assigned to it by specific regulations”, says the approved text.

The funds to carry out the project will come from Fust and other financial policies of the Union, within the limit imposed by the spending ceiling. Donations from public and private entities may be included. The destination of the money will be the states and municipalities, in addition to the public education units themselves.

Minister of Education criticizes Internet PL in the public network

The Minister of Education, Milton Ribeiro, criticized the Senate’s decision to approve the Bill that rescues funds from Fust. He questioned the overthrow of President Jair Bolsonaro’s veto of the law to transfer a budget of R$3.5 billion for internet installation in public schools. At the time, the Chamber decided to annul it by 419 votes in favor and 19 against.

Milton Ribeiro said that, without the veto, the PL is an “extra difficulty”. Check out the speech of the Minister of Education during the public hearing of the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday (9):

“I am tied to the decision of the Parliament. There is a difficulty and I ask for help to try to get out of this situation. This expense will reach the spending ceiling and I’ll have to cut somewhere”

The Ministry of Economy released R$ 900 million to be used by the Education Ministry. When it comes to the expenditure ceiling approved by the Temer government in 2016, data from the Federal Treasury and the Finance Department reveal that the Bolsonaro administration spent only 29.43% of the limit imposed by the tax law – which corresponds to R$ 437, 7 billion.

Ribeiro’s speeches during the hearing generated complaints from the opposition. “The overthrow of the vetoes was voted consensually between government and opposition, including the participation of representatives of the MEC. The resources come from Fust, they are not new expenses”, said deputy Sâmia Bonfim (PSOL/SP) to Mobile Time.

The law that received Bolsonaro’s veto – and which was later overthrown by deputies – benefits about 18 million students and 1.5 million teachers in state and municipal public networks, through the installation of 20 GB networks per month ; the text states that this connection would cost R$ 0.69 per gig – the equivalent of R$ 13.80 per month.

With information: Mobile Time and Telesíntese

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