Landless learn to fight ignorance and bankers

February 25, 2005

Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement (MST) has opened a university in São Paulo state to train its members.

The Escola Nacional Florestan Fernandes, in Guararema, offers classes up to tertiary level in social sciences, small-scale agriculture, co-operative administration, community health and agricultural planning. Professors come from institutions including the State University of Campinas and the State University of Rio de Janeiro. Most give their time for free.

MST chief João Pedro Stédile called the university "a critical tool in fighting against large landowners, imperialism, multinationals, bankers, and capitalist exploitation as well as ignorance".

The European Union has donated $1 million (£639,000) out of a total budget of $1.3 million to build the institution.

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