Brazil Proposes New, More Flexible Education Plans

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

A new educational model that has recently been agreed by the Brazilian government has been met with both criticism and praise. The new model, signed by Brazilian president Michel Temer, calls for getting rid of most mandatory subjects, with a view toward making schools more attractive to students.

According to the proposed model, the only subjects that will remain mandatory are Portuguese, Mathematics and English, with the rest becoming optional. In the current model thirteen subjects including physical education and arts are required throughout the three years of high school in Brazilian public institutions.

As reported by Plus55, this new model will be much like the current system in France. It will allow students to decide which area they would like to focus on: Languages, Math, Sciences, Humanities, or Tech School.

Education Minister José Mendonça Bezerra Filho has been quoted by Agencia Brasil as saying:

"The new high school has as its main protagonist the youth. This model goes in the direction of flexibility. The children and youth of Brazil are in a hurry. Education needs to advance."

The New Education Plan is aimed at making school a more attractive proposition to Brazilian students, giving them more of a say in their own educational path. However, one of the proposals in the new plan may not go down so well with some students — the plan proposes an increase of hours spent at school from 800 to 1,400.

However, the increased hours proposal is aimed at tackling a real shortage in education hours in Brazil. Only 6 per cent of Brazilian schools currently offer full-time education. The government is hoping to increase this number to 25 per cent. In order to achieve their goal, they will have to spend between $300 and $500 million over the next two years.

The first draft of the proposal has been criticized by experts for not including physical education, sociology, philosophy and Spanish in the schedule, Plus55 reports.

According to Daniel Cara, general coordinator of CNDE (National Campaign for the Right to Education), important issues such as education financing and teacher training have failed to be mentioned in the new proposal, the Rio Times reports. Cara expressed his discontent at the new plans:

"The trend is that everything remains the same. This reform is ‘cosmetic' because its objective is to change the route, not addressing structural issues such as infrastructure of schools, appreciation of education professionals, adequate number of students per class and a new way of teaching."

However, Filho has defended the plan by saying it is a response to the "collapse" of the Brazilian education high school system. High school has been one of the Brazilian administration's most significant challenges, with only half of students who start graduating and only 18 per cent making it to university.

The news of the New Education Plan comes at the same time that Brazilian President Michel Temer has had to deny that a proposed ceiling on public spending will impact health and education expenditures.

09 29, 2016
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