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Changes in the Education Sector are Not Easy to Solve

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Prof. Gabriel Mario Rodrigues

Gabriel Mario Rodrigues – Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABMES

“If you want to win do not just look at the ladder. Start up the step by step until you reach the top.” (Anonymous)

An alarming news comes from the daily Correio Braziliense: “Stop for a moment and imagine the following scenario: if Brazil were today a school with 100 children in the first year of elementary education, in 2020 only 48 of them would leave being literate in the 3rd year of this stage, with only 30 arriving in 2029 at the end of high school with basic knowledge in Portuguese and in mathematics. This scenario is a possibility if the trends observed in the learning data of the National Literacy Assessment (ANA) and Saeb in recent years are confirmed. Other projections, based on data from the National Household Sample Survey (Pnad/IBGE), also show that 24 of these 100 children may not complete basic education by the age of 19.”

Exaggerations and impatience aside, according  to the education sector of newspaper “O Estado de São Paulo” (Estadão), published on Tuesday, May 15, we seem to be lacking in a bit of prudence, moderation and restraint, to analyze without emotion a reality that is happening around the world, where university curricula are being overcome.

About innovation and creativity, themes we have already tackled here in this space, almost to exhaustion, insofar as they are articles and not theses, we continue with the proposal of reflections on the themes.

From the outset, it is good to distinguish what is pedagogical, methodological, social and technological innovation because to “tackle” those “questions” that concern us, because they imply disruption without half actions, on the contrary, it means that we have to undertake the new, with creativity to face other challenges such as stagnation, sameness, commonplace, and the like, with much will, take risks, venture out for that which is right and correct because no one can have an alliance with error and misfortune. In other words, face the challenges and propose changes.

Undeniably, this has always been the intention of most Brazilian universities, without, however, being successful because there are were or were a number of adverse factors, not to mention the “don’t worry about it” group that, for their own conveniences (individual, group or corporate) did not disturb the status quo or did not collaborate to change it. On May 17, 2018, by “Estadão”, Professor Roberto Macedo very cautiously wrote: I learned that in Brazilian universities there is much to improve. But they resist making the necessary changes. Their professors are more concerned about their careers, as it was with me, than looking around, and the world, and focusing on changes in teaching, research, and other services in the industry.

Platforms of innovations presupposes the collective, the academic community absolutely tuned in a single tone for adopting innovative and developmental projects, since “we are being transformed by the world, crossing from the industrial era to the digital”, says Patricia Cardim, from the Fine Arts University Center.

The aforementioned sector of the Estadão has brought important statements to enrich the subject and with this to inform the society that several HEIs are making moves in higher education  that deserve respect, at least for attempting to change and transform the scene by giving more colors and more zoom on knowledge as opposed to the pale white-gray-black of outdated cognitions.

The school that intends to penetrate the new with changes, knows, before hand, that the path has no return. It is only possible to purchase a one-way ticket for a “disruptive path” route with a proposal that should be shared,tinted with different and unusual challenges. The adoption of some premises-content and contingencies will make communication and education the two great pillars that will sustain the project of change, always applied in actions by four hands: those of the teacher and those of the student. Such is education taken to its foremost consequences.

Prof. Tales Andreassi of Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), for example, has different opinions for whom the alarmist tone of the researches that indicate the end of professions and careers does not convince. For him, this “end of traditional jobs” has been talked about for more than 20 years, but the job openings keep happening as they change characteristics and demand adaptation, giving professionals new niches in the education market place. Well that’s why, says Tales, higher education is going through changes and there is still a lot of work to be done.

Fact is, there are many premises for changes or transformations that lead to creativity and innovations, without which nothing happens, such as, for example, good management because, in the current globalized and technological scenario, knowledge has become the differential imposed by society as the basic demand of the labor market, thus promoting the growth of higher education. Without good management the institution is fragmented if it does not apply a strategic plan to achieve the desired results. By strategic planning is meant to be a process that guides precisely the management and decision making of HEIs. Do we stay in the present or are we going to the future? And how to deal with the regulatory aspects that Mec imposes and aligns it to reality.

We are already beginning to speak, with a certain vanity, in the new, change, innovation, etc. etc. but if one does not pay attention to the Sinaes, which among other (new) regulations impose the PDI – Institutional Development Plan, as well as the PCC-Pedagogical Project of the Course, which should be revised from the changes of the PDI, it is probable the failure .

Concerning this last one, the concerns grow with all the necessary adjustments like updating the policies of education, research and extension programs; introduction of innovative methodologies; redefinition of concepts and innovation policy for each HEI program; new roles for the coordination of programs; creation of a multidisciplinary team considering the offer of 20% in distance education; observance of new hires in light of the new labor laws; the necessary financial support to meet the new instruments; technological infrastructure; virtual bibliography from NDE-Núcleo Docente Estruturante, etc. etc. And with great emphasis, the Additive Criterion: additional attribute that integrates the analysis criterion for concepts 4 and 5 (CPC and IGC).

The conclusion of all this is that innovating is a challenge that the university has to solve, to follow the transformations that occur in the environment of production of goods and services and that are part of its mission to teach, train and motivate the students to learn.