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A portrait of Brazilian Education

Reading the local newspaper this morning, I found this piece of news that made me think yet again about the skills/characteristics of a 21st century educator IN BRAZIL. I love the discussions on #edchat every Tuesday, ideas and opinions are diverse, and discussions are really thought-provoking. However, nothing can be done unless we think globally without losing sight of local issues and particularities.

If you’re reading this and you can read Portuguese, here’s the link to the article.

If you can’t read Portuguese, here’s a quick summary:

1. Three criteria were considered unsatisfactory: a) teachers’ education; b) students’ performances; and c) lack of standardised curriculum.

2. Brazil invests meagre US$ 1500 per student YEARLY. This is less than other countries such as Mexico and Chile.

3. Despite the fact that 95% of children go to school, their performance is very weak both in national and international examinations.

The article finishes by saying that the divide between the rich and the poor in Brazil is only getting bigger due to the lack of standardised criteria of curriculum organisation. While the rich and educated are aware of what their kids should be learning, the poor haven’t got a clue. Shouldn’t education be inclusive instead of exclusive?

My concern about the use of technology in previous posts regards this specific problem. Outside twitter-ville and blogosphere, there are many children who simply haven’t got access to any technology at all apart from a TV set. In addition to that, rarely do public schools have a computer lab, and when that happens, the computers get stolen within weeks. If we do not invest in teacher training, how can we expect teachers to change this portrait of educational gloom? At least in Brazil, no one wants to ‘steal’ a teacher (nor do they want to rob them – with a paycheque like that? Why bother…).

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  1. December 8, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Thank you for the update. This information is very useful to us as we are actually trying to get in contact with the Brazilian Government or Ministry of Education to offer them a partnership with Mingoville where we roll put Mingoville in all primary schools – just as we doing in Chile. That would actually standardize the curriculum in English as well as upgrade the technological skills of the Brazilians. In Chile they train the teachers in the use of Mingoville and give them a teaching certificate.

    Do you think the Brazilian teachers could be easily pursuaded to use a webbased program as Mingoville in class – if they had access to computers and were offered training?

    • December 8, 2009 at 11:50 pm

      I’m glad to hear the post was useful! I’ve just visited your website, but I haven’t had much time to explore it yet. I’ll do so soon.

      I think Brazilian teachers may be easily persuaded, yes. If they have access to computers and training to use them effectively in the classroom, I can’t see why not. If you can arrange a meeting with the people from the Ministry of Education, go for it. Oh, just one thing: you are aware that next year is election year in Brazil, which means there will be a whole new body of ministers by 2011.

      In addition to that, I’d recommend having a look at the PCN (National Curricular Parameters) to see what people have been discussing – obviously, in case you haven’t done so already. There’s a nice bit on the plans for ELT. However, it has been written in 2000 and nothing has really changed so far. Looking on the bright side, there seems to be an English frenzy in Brazil due to the World cup (2014) and the Olympic Games (2016).

  2. December 16, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Thank you, no I have not see the PCN. I’ll check it out. Yesterday, we had dinner with one of the congressmen from Paraná here in Copenhagen (COP15 is not only climate) He also advised us to wait till after the election or talk to the Olympic delegation.

    You can use our program for free. If you sign up here, you have access to our teacher tools as well and you can sign up whole classes. http://app.dk.mingoville.com/redirect/signup/school?la=pt.

    Thank you again for the advice

  1. December 4, 2009 at 8:56 pm

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