Gabriel Mario Rodrigues – Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABMES (Brazilian Association of Owners of Private Higher Education Institutions).
“The most dangerous human masses are those in whose veins the venom of fear has been injected. From fear of change. “(Octavio Paz)
In last week’s article I told the story of the taxi driver’s son, but it is even better than I had understood. In fact, the boys stayed in the afternoon to collaborate with the teacher. The goal was to create a YouTube channel for school work. A week earlier, she gave them the task of researching three cities in Brazil that they would like to live. The two students presented in class a video made by them and they extremely successful. So the teacher asked them to teach their classmates how to film and give a presentation.
This scenario shows that students are participating rather than just listening. That is, the teacher opened space for collaborative learning. What is important is that it has put them as protagonists and no longer as mere spectators. And that is what really needs to move out of the realm of ideas and be effectively changed in schools.
I started the first article of the series where I discuss the National Curricular Joint Base (BNCC) based on an excellent piece of advertising by SAS Plataforma, published in Folha de S.Paulo. It is a persuasive and motivating content that shows how to implement this transformative strategy in Brazilian basic education. Completely possible. But there are, at the same time, hundreds of criticisms showing just the opposite: that nothing will work.
Brazil is the only country that, after a few years of reform, has not been able to implement it. It has always been so at all levels and degrees throughout history. The legal issue of the Common Core Curriculum has been conquered. But now what is being discussed in all regions of the country is how to implement the process.
However, we continue with an old problem in public education: little or no infrastructure, except in the big centers, to be able to implant the BNCC. This requires resources that are not currently available as they should be. On the other hand, as I said, there is no commitment on the part of city halls or state governments. It is the federal government that sends the resources to states and municipalities through the National Fund for Educational Development – FNDE every month and that should have been the the balance in this equation, establishing for all the homework and looking out for the execution.
If we do not take drastic measures, we will not implement the BNCC. Let’s take it, let’s make it happen. Discussing ideological issues is no longer so important. What is important is to identify what a Brazilian should know and learn in elementary school. What is the minimum necessary to to be a citizen and to have professional abilities.
When it comes to the use of technologies in public schools, it is worth noting that the government has reduced the requirements for municipalities to participate in the “Internet for All” program of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC). Brazil has 70% of an idle satellite at a monthly cost of more than R$800,000, because they are fighting in court and the case is on the table of the STF president, who seems to be in no hurry.
The “Internet for All” program wants to reach at least 40,000 broadband locations. That is, high speed internet. It is so fundamental that it changes everything: it changes schools, it changes architecture of the environments, it changes mainly the head of the people.
The issue of the skilled workforce necessary for the implementation of this technological infrastructure in schools, we have already addressed, but I do not see any effective movement in the Ministry of Education – MEC, other than infrastructure, to actually advance incisively in training programs for teacher development, internet professionals, arts professionals, etc.
Without all this structured process, everything will stay on paper, and the rest is small talk that is stamped every day in all the newspapers with greetings to the reforms that will never leave the paper. There are theorists and prophets of all and for all tastes, including yours and mine. But this does not solve the problem, except with commitment, effectiveness of actions and directing of resources, since the National Education Plan – PNE went to the swamp with all its pretentions.
As long as we do not think of the educational system as interconnected networks, we will not get out of this simplistic situation of cheap reductionism, or worse, simplifications that make the learner wonder: what do they want from me? What do they want to teach me? What does my family expects me to learn?
Are we going to divide the tasks between school and family? We urgently need to, since instructing, schooling is only part of the process. Now, assigning values, principles, ways of life in society, and interpersonal engagement, that is something else.
Speaking is easy. Difficult is to make it happen. What we have of people talking nonsense about the BNCC without ever having performed in a classroom is amazing. It is better to have them take care of their own children than to have them try to craft theories for the children of others.
Family participation is essential and we discussed it in the previous article. But the participation of society as a whole is also fundamental. You cannot put everything in the hands of the government. How many thousands of professionals and businessmen who are today in excellent financial position had studied in public schools, in its various levels, are participating in any collaborative initiative of donation of resources for the education of the dispossessed? That is, give back what they once had gotten for free? If you do any research, you will find that you can count them on your fingers.
And regarding the private education, by its numerous class associations, what initiatives have they already done to collaborate with the country so that the graduates of basic education are better prepared to face a very competitive labor market?
It is worth remembering: if a garbage collector from Olinda, Sebastião Pereira Duque, can reform a whole school, what can private education do? How many latrines need to be installed in the poor schools of rural regions and northeastern Brazil? How many problems could be solved without having to expect the government to solve them? How many books and notebooks could be donated, not to mention under-used computers.
It really was very important to discuss the BNCC, but now is time to act. And this is why I write. Education is not for amateurs, but for well-meaning professionals.