Extensão Universitária no Brasil: a experiência formativa na área da educação da UFSCar
Gatti, José Paulo
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The indissociability between teaching, research and extension as a principle of university identity is established by the Federal Constitution of 1988. However, the interlocution between these functions, as well as the understanding of the extensionist dimension, responsible for the university's relationship with society, still arouses different perceptions . In fact, it is linked to practices that serve business groups, sometimes linked to the local community by providing services, developing public policies in partnership with government agencies. It also welcomes the interests of groups and social entities with their demands, and supports scientific research. But how does it impact the training of academics? In ultraliberal times, where higher education must produce innovation and prepare competent professionals with knowledge, skills and attitudes guaranteeing versatility and mastery of new technologies, university extension is in line with proposals for practical training, applied research projects and provision services. In fact, the understanding of extension today is linked to the conception of university work, which has undergone significant transformations, following the changes of global capitalism since the end of the twentieth century. Currently the emergence of the World Class Universities represents a new paradigm for higher education. In view of this, this research investigates the participation of undergraduate students in university extension projects, in the education area of UFSCar. The question posed examines whether the formative character of the extensionist activities of graduation can guarantee the emancipation of the subjects, despite the general semiformative context, that reaches and submits to social reproduction. The starting hypothesis, considering the direction imposed by neoliberal policies and life increasingly reduced to the criteria of production and consumption, is that university education does not develop true consciousness. The analysis, in this sense, seeks to articulate categories of Critical Theory, such as: cultural semiformation, technical rationality, autonomy and true consciousness. For this, the research combines three distinct and interconnected studies, followed by a reflection based on the theoretical references adopted: first, a study of the identity of extension, its constitution over time and the place it occupies today in higher education; followed by an analysis of the extension organization at the Federal University of São Carlos and then the presentation of three extension projects in the area of Education. In the final sequence, the categories of analysis are retaken and detailed in order to verify the initial statements and to consolidate the investigations carried out. The conclusion, after going through this itinerary, is that the training developed by the university, to a large extent, is guided by neoliberal principles, aimed at the creation of technical skills and without commitment with a critical self-reflection about the actions themselves. However, university extension, articulating different interests and agents in its activities, has become a space of ambiguities and contradictions, which allows it, at least potentially, the estrangement of reality itself, its discussion and, consequently, the production of true consciousness.