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The Future Without the Jetsons

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Gabriel Mario Rodrigues – Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Brazilian Association of Owners of Private Higher Education Institutions (ABMES) and of the Kroton Group

“The reason some people find it so difficult to be happy is because they are always judging the past better than it was, the present worse than it is and the future better than it will be.” (Marcel Pagnol)

I am and have always been aware of the future. Life has always led me down the road of knowledge and I have devoted more than fifty years of activities to education. But, let’s face it, the media exaggerates a bit about the future and it is not appropriate to adopt fiction as a reality.

As I will now deal with the BNCC – the Basis of the National Common Curriculum, care must be taken with forecasts, considering that the proposal is that the complete cycle will go until the end of 2030.

I take advantage of the very clear conclusion of Prof. Simon Schwartman, published in this blog last February 7 (University for All?), who stated that the discussion should not be between “university for all” vs. “universities for the elites”, but on how to overcome an old-fashioned model of higher education for the Brazilians, who grew chaotically because they did not seriously consider the necessity and implications of differentiation in an era of mass higher education.

In my opinion, the Ministry of Education (MEC) should have no other mission than to worry about a better implementation of the BNCC. In private schools throughout Brazil, they will not even have to think about it. For survival and needing to improve constantly, they will comply with the law and begin to implement it. The problem will even be in the public schools.

There are already good news that indicate that many private schools have been involved in discussions, especially those of a general nature, considering the seeds that will germinate with local intelligences, giving, as never before, a great leap in Brazilian education. So we all wish.

The periodical “Porvenir” organized a good material synthesizing the essence of the official document of the BNCC, describing the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values ​​that each general competence seeks to develop and the indication of what the students are expected to accomplish.

Under the guidance of MEC, the BNCC was built in a democratic and shared way from discussions that began in 2015. The first version of the document went through public consultation and had more than 12 million collaborations. The second was analyzed by managers, teachers and students from all states, seminars organized by the Union of Municipal Education Directors (Undime) and the National Council of Secretaries of Education (Consed) where more than 9,000 recommendations were systematized. From these, MEC prepared the final version and sent it for the opinion of the National Education Council (CNE).

The final document was approved by the MEC on December 20, 2017 for Early Childhood Education and for Elementary Education. On December 14, 2018, the document was approved for high school. Together, the Foundations for Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education are part of a single document: the Basis of the National Common Curriculum, or BNCC.

What is the purpose of BNCC?

“The creation of a the Basis of the National Common Curriculum aims to guarantee students the right to learn a fundamental set of common knowledge and skills – from north to south, in public and private schools, urban and rural throughout the country. In this way, it is hoped to reduce the existing educational inequalities in Brazil, leveling and, most importantly, raising the quality of education.

The BNCC also aims to train students with skills and knowledge considered essential for the 21st century, encouraging the modernization of resources and pedagogical practices and promoting the updating of the teaching staff of educational institutions. “(Source: SAE Digital)

I have been able to follow many ups and downs, falls and resurrections in teaching, whether of institutions, coordinations, directories, ministers, counselors, teachers and so on. I lived in the industry long enough to evaluate, reflect, judge, condemn, but also acquit, greet, applaud. It is for this reason that I believe BNCC can give the guideline that basic education needs. In addition, it will give all the theoretical and practical foundation that the student needs to do a well-prepared college course.

It is commonly agreed that the current model of education does not meet what the society of the future will require: that the youth develop the awareness of learning throughout life. We need to be prepared with the new strategies for living, working and learning.

There is a legal maxim that lawyers like very much: those who can should provide as much as possible. So, here I am, in a collaborative way, getting involved in the harvest of early and middle education, which are not part of my background but for which I write with more sensitivity.

Allowing me “poetic license,” let me state that most of the time we are preoccupied with assessing the past, but back there we did not consider the future. Now it seems that the present does not exist and we are madly in love with the future, in a yearning and unparalleled expectation.

Through BNCC, we are considering a normative document that defines the organic and progressive set of essential learning that all students must develop throughout the stages and modalities of Basic Education, so that they have their learning rights and development guaranteed, in accordance with what the National Education Plan (PNE) prescribes.

The BNCC establishes the knowledge, skills and abilities that all students are expected to develop throughout basic schooling. It is not a biblical miracle that goes beyond everything because there is a world of factors promoting noise, from the training of teachers, whose performance must be 18K gold and not made of tin.

Guided by the ethical, political and aesthetic principles outlined in the National Curricular Guidelines for Basic Education, the BNCC is in addition to the purposes that direct Brazilian education for the comprehensive human development and for the construction of a just, democratic and inclusive society. All schools, public and private, must make adjustments in their curricula of Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education.

Throughout elementary, middle and high school education, the essential learning defined in the BNCC must compete to assure to students the development of the ten general competences which, in the pedagogical context, constitute learning and development rights.

BNCC defines competence as the mobilization of knowledge (concepts and procedures), skills (practical, cognitive and social-emotional), attitudes and values ​​to solve complex demands of everyday life, the full exercise of citizenship and the world of work.

By these settings we can already see the Herculean task that will be demanded from the Education Degree courses that need to urgently review their contributions in the formation of a new teacher. And here is another provocative question: don’t the students at the university need excited new teachers who believe that reality changes every day? Without this, the internships, practices and teaching exercises are left aside, in a clear perception that teaching does not even know how to convey this experiential requirement of a professorship, without which it is of no use to immortalize Piaget or Dewey.

It is necessary to understand how it is important to overcome the dualist vision between training for work and intellectual formation, seeking a teaching capable of valuing an integral development. But it is good to realize that it is not possible to solve political, economic and social problems as if they were a pedagogical problem.

Schools should prepare our young people for an increasingly complex world. In a scenario of profound changes in the labor market and impressive technological advances, Brazilian education will need to deal with the improvement of aspects not yet addressed (such as minimum school infrastructure, literacy of all students at the right age, permanence of all students in the school, etc.) and, at the same time, evolve and incorporate more innovative aspects.

And in our way of thinking, the mission of the MEC must change. From being a merely regulating body to taking the plunge in being aware, like many world agencies, of technological unemployment, new professions and the future of work.