The Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ) in Nova Iguaçú hosted the event “Open Univesity for the Right to Higher Education” this past Thursday, March 1. The event included discussion panels, workshops, and cultural activities involving university life, a life that each day is more distance from the neediest populations.
Twenty-one-year-old Luana Lima, a History student at the Rural, told Novo Japeri Online what motivated the event:
“This event was driven by the fact that public universities are deteriorating. As such], through this event we are looking to bring public school students [to the university] so that they can see that this space is theirs by right and that this space is being threatened through the government’s own doing. Therefore, we see that these threats are real, we already see various cuts in education. We have had various cuts to higher education. Because of this, we try to bring these students here so that that they can see that this space is for them, so that they can enter university and become the first in their families to study at a university,” explained Luana.
The UFRRJ has a partnership with Duke University in North Carolina, a university which currently conducts research in the Baixada. The event included the participation of 21-year old Riley Allen who talked with public high school students in Nova Iguaçú about her experience here in Brazil.
The U.S. student came away impressed by the friendly spirit that she saw between the students and she was impressed to see high school students interacting with the university.
In the afternoon, the event simultaneously carried out some workshops geared toward high school youth in which they answer in doubts about university academic life.
Laysa, a 15-year old student of CIEP 2016 in the Corumbá neighborhood in Nova Iguaçú said she liked the experience a lot and that she now sees public universities in a different light.
“I had a different idea about what a university was and I even dug a little bit deeper into what I want to do” the future college student said. The Rural’s Multi-Disciplinary Institute’s initiative brought much knowledge, and more importantly, arguments in defense of a quality university in Brazil.
Listen to the full report in the podcast!