Gabriel Mario Rodrigues – Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABMES
One of the myths that are said about education in Brazil is that in the past it was much better. In fact, it was better: for the few. (Daniel de Barros, author of “Badly Educated Country”)
Editora Abril published in September a special edition of Exame magazine with the title “LEARN, BRAZIL” and the very attractive lead: “The poor quality of education is one of the biggest obstacles for the country’s development – but it has a solution. Good examples from here and from other places show what to do to overcome the shortcomings. ”
The excellent material seemed to have been written custom made for the presidential candidates of Brazil, especially since the magazine’s content is more than a guide. The content, on topics of absolute actuality, gives us an idea of our precarious situation and, with well explored subjects, places several messages for the different types of readers and leaders. A special message is for the teachers, who need to have a foot in technologies and another in teaching.
For the government, if we do not urgently adopt a national educational framework for teachers, we will continue to drift. Moreover, for admission to degree courses, must have a cutting point, which means, above all, that the candidate can not have been a bad student, and therefore has very little or lots of consideration by the examining panel.
We have no more time nor money to lose with adventurers who apply for teaching courses, without the least vocation or preparation, imagining, at least, receiving a salary. Only with measures such as this will society begin to respect the career so that it would make parents and children definitively establish esteem and consideration for the teacher, with obedience and compliance. Violence in the classroom never again.
Teacher needs graduation and also specialization. Directors course coordinators need training/qualification, but above all no political sponsorship because we must start the Age of Educational Management. Because, worse than the quality of education is the quality of the debates, especially the corporate ones.
If the gift that Exame provided in a timely moment was not enough for society, it also reinforced the intention with the Coffee-Exam-Education event held on September 18 in São Paulo. composed by illustrious panelists.
The theme “The impact of technical education on increasing Brazilian productivity” was presented by Rafael Lucchesi – Director General of Senai and Director of Education and Technology of the National Confederation of Industry. Fantastic!
Next came Fabio Prado, rector of FEI, and Victor Teles, from Festo, with the theme “Disruptive innovation in engineering teaching”. Great!
To conclude, the subject of the moment – “The challenges of basic education” – delivered to Priscila Cruz, from Everyone for Education, and João Batista Oliveira from Instituto Alfa e Beto. Grade 10 for both.
For the eight themes explored by the magazine some deserve to be highlighted, such as spending on education, which grew in the last decade, even though the performance of the students worsened, making it clear that a management shock can reverse the picture and give impetus to the quality of Brazilians until 2022.
Since there are so many high priority subjects, I had to choose among the very top priorities in the magazine that are arranged in dozens of pages, and this is why I started with the opening of the edition that is very suggestive: A More Educated Brazil (https: //exame.abril. com.br/edicoes/1169/).
“By 2015, half a million 15-year-old students, representing 28 million young people from 72 countries, submitted to Pisa, a test battery promoted by the OECD, the club of rich countries, to evaluate learning in mathematics, reading and science . In Brazil, about 23 thousand students from public and private schools took the exam and confirmed, once again, the stagnation of the quality of our education.
In almost 20 years during which the test has been applied, the reasons for the stagnation of the country are systematically pointed out. The teaching career is not well valued, the curriculum is unfocused, school management is poor, among other aspects that condemn the Brazilians to a bad formation and that, eventually, is captured by the indicators of labor productivity.
In May, 19,000 students from 661 schools in Brazil participated in a new test of Pisa, whose results will be announced in 2019. No one expects a substantial improvement, but the presentation of these data will coincide with the end of the first year of the new president of the Republic. The timing is conducive to effective change.
But we have uplifting performances that need to be recorded. Teresina, the capital of Piauí, is a successful example with numbers to cause envy to the largest Brazilian capitals.
Palmas, capital of Tocantins, second among those with quality education, sought inspiration in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia, with the best child education in the world, while primary school teachers visited schools in Singapore where they brought and implemented the initiative to clean up the disarray of activities, giving the notion of responsibility to the little ones. In Singapore the study day begins with a greeting to the flag, besides learning by practicing, applying theoretical concepts in laboratories, and comparing professions.
In Portugal, a real success, teaching became an international reference during the government of Prime Minister Pedro Passos (2011 to 2015), with serious fiscal crisis, but benefiting from international institutions.
With special attention in high school, the Lusitanians succeeded in instituting an alternative to higher education called the professionalizing ways of preparing students for the job market.
In a devastating environment of high school, Ideb shows the worst performance in the third year of that degree, when 72% of the test takers did not know enough Portuguese and 93% enough math. But it is Espírito Santo, with the implementation since 2015 of the Viva Escola project, a full-time public education project that presented the best high school in the country.
Given the limitation of space, I also want to address another issue of the magazine that has the very appropriate title: “The roots of our educational failure”, with some basis on the book by Daniel Barros, “Badly Educated Country”, which I recommend for being a book-report that investigates the causes of children and adolescents learning so little in Brazilian schools. He goes through a historical dive diagnosing the crisis in the classrooms, which, I emphasize, few have the audacity to deal with the matter, avoiding indispositions.
There are signs and evidence that we live a fiscal crisis and economic growth in the country, but the one that requires more attention is the education of the middle class since more than 40% of young people do not finish the cycle by the age of 19.
Scabrous data amplify the negativism that prevailed in basic education, for centuries, motivated by discontinuity of actions, embezzlement of money (which is not lacking), unfounded claims that the school environment does not match good management practices, that intelligence is inborn – some are born with it, others are not – that it is enough to increase the hours in the school to have a good integral education. These are absurdities that do not find support in pedagogical theses.
According to the All for Education Movement, only half of the pedagogical vacancies are filled and, so, anyone can enter the profission. In other education programs there is a continuous drop in enrollments. And students with the worst performance in basic education are attracted to this career, as are those enrolled in pedagogy who add up to 70% below the national average in the last Enem.
The volume of vacancies in the universities for such courses is so much that there is no failure in the university entrance examination, and even then, the “zero” grades enroll anyway. While only 4% of the pedagogy curriculum is devoted to didactic theories, much emphasis is placed on sociology of education and history of education, both distant from classroom practices, a condition without which there is no way to teach with excellence.
On the other side of the world in Singapore are the students with the highest grades in Pisa who attest to the overall quality of basic education. And the recipe is simple: good teachers, parents and responsible students and reforms that meet the demands of the markets and, above all, students with vocations.