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Solidarity Economy Tutorial Education Program / UFSCar (PET – EcoSol)

The Tutorial Education Program (TEP, known in Portuguese as PET) is a program from the Brazilian federal government, created through the initiative and with resources from the Ministry of Education. It stimulates research, teaching and extension activities in the undergraduate level. Therefore, it is developed by groups of students that are supervised by a professor. They are organized based on their undergraduate areas in the Higher Education Institutions in the country and guided by the principle that states teaching, research and extension are inseparable, as well as the principle of tutorial education. 

PET offers scholarships at a minimum value (currently, it is R$ 400,00 which corresponds to the national policy of undergraduate scientific research scholarships) to groups of undergraduate students who are selected from any authorized university course. In order to open a PET group, the university needs to send a formal request to the Ministry of Education. The groups meet regularly under the supervision of a professor who should coordinate the activities and is named a Tutor. The students who receive scholarships are known as “petianos” and they must develop projects and research, teaching and extension work. For this reason, PET also works as a program that prepares students for the academic career.
When the group PET is created, it keeps its activity for undetermined time. However, its members are allowed to participate in the program for limited time: undergraduate students can participate in the group until they graduate and the tutor can stay for a period of 6 years, as long as the Program rules are obeyed.
In 2010, through this national program, PET Connections – Solidarity Economy (PET EcoSol) was created at UFSCar. There are currently 14 undergraduate students from different areas of knowledge (Humanities, Exact Sciences, Biological Sciences and Health) participating in the group. They are from urban populations with low per capita family income and parents with low education levels. The group is connected to NuMI-EcoSol and its goal is to produce scientific and technological knowledge about Solidarity Economy, including the processes of systematizing and criticizing the existing knowledge. It also aims at generating new knowledge and making the knowledge that is available (research activities) accessible simultaneously to the action in social reality, together with different actors from the Solidarity Economy movement, establishing as an important object the incubation process of collective economic enterprises related to the principles of this movement (extension activities) and the articulation of solidarity economy initiatives for territorial development and the permanent education of everyone involved (teaching activities).


Thus, the students need to work in one of NuMI-EcoSol’s Lines of Action. In addition, they work with other activities in order to promote Solidarity Economy in fairs, cultural festivals and social network. They also participate in ACIEPEs, study groups, thematic workshops, Cine PET-EcoSol and the group weekly meetings. The project has been developed for few years, but it already shows positive results, such as: a) the expansion of interdisciplinary action and how it is seen in students’ education process, benefiting the working population that lives in the territory chosen for the development of this project (Jardim Gonzaga / Monte Carlo); b) the group’s development and its importance for promoting Solidarity Economy and the reality transformation of people who have historically been excluded from the working market; c) an important self-managed and solidary experience under the general proposal of NuMI-EcoSol, contributing to the education of professionals with an innovative, different and necessary profile; d) the academic development by carrying out and presenting works in different types of events.