Reform of the new secondary education can still improve – 03/29/2024 – Education

Reform of the new secondary education can still improve – 03/29/2024 – Education


15 months after the beginning of the Lula government, the secondary education reform advanced in the Chamber of Deputies with the approval of the report by former education minister Mendonça Filho. A Solomonic decision, which included the demand of the National Campaign for the Right to Education, social movements, institutions representing students and teachers to increase the number of hours dedicated to Basic General Training and maintain the principles of the 2017 reform, as advocated the former minister himself, the organization Todos Pela Educação, private foundations in the area and the Council of State Secretaries of Education.

There is still the possibility of changing the text to be approved in the Senate, but, at least from a political point of view, the text managed to get the disputed fields out of the first round in a “points tie”. In a polarized environment like the Brazilian one, it is still an advance, and here we praise the performance of Congressman Mendonça Filho.

The original reform provided for the curricular organization formed by a FGB (Basic General Training) consisting of 1,800 hours to be studied by all students throughout the three years of high school and 1,200 hours of training itineraries (optional subjects) to be chosen by the students according to their interests, among technical education and four preparatory tracks: (I) languages ​​(Portuguese language and its literature; English language; arts and physical education); (II) mathematics; (III) natural sciences (biology, physics and chemistry); and (IV) applied human and social sciences (philosophy, geography, history and sociology).

The reform was the subject of several criticisms, in the field of politics —because it was approved by a provisional measure in the Temer government— and in the field of pedagogical and educational policy. The small number of hours originally dedicated to the FGB was insufficient for the training of students, a problem aggravated by the fact that the Ministry of Education did not change the National High School Examination, an assessment of access to university.

While private schools played “on the back foot”, generally reinforcing the basic training of their students, public schools reduced the load of mandatory subjects to the detriment of optional ones, deepening the gap between rich and poor students. The reaction, previously political, came from the school, with students and teachers expressing their discontent in various forums and on the streets.

In an attempt to comply with the law, secretaries and education secretaries faced implementation difficulties due to its design, and the rope broke at the weakest link: students with precarious training and teachers taking on subjects for which they had no prior training.

It is no surprise that the number of absences in Enem was a record high, and research showed that students did not agree with the new model and did not feel safe after taking it. The expansion of the FGB from 1,800 to at least 2,400 hours provided for in the new law is a wise measure. Some state networks, such as the one in Pará, have already been organized in this way, which has allowed students to have greater exposure to a better structured curriculum.

In relation to training itineraries, the 2017 law did not provide for a minimum number of itineraries per school nor that they should be organized as a deepening of areas of knowledge, which generated a high number of paths in public schools, which did not contribute to the deepening of students according to their interests. The indication in the new law that the itineraries must serve to deepen knowledge in areas is also correct.

The law must go to the Senate and there is room for improvement. An important point is the organization of the curriculum by “area of ​​knowledge”, instead of the curricular components, the old subjects. Brazil does not train teachers in “Natural Sciences”, “Exact Sciences” or “Human Sciences”. There is an error in this type of organization, based on the belief that it would promote interdisciplinarity.

Interdisciplinarity does not occur in the design of the curriculum, but as a pedagogical project, or what we call in education “curriculum in action”. It even sounds strange to delimit interdisciplinary projects by areas of knowledge. Can’t teachers of literature, physics, geography and history set up a joint project based on reading “Vidas Secas”, guaranteeing the learning rights contained in the curriculum?

Without advancing other pedagogical principles, I fear that the organization by areas of knowledge will “hit what it didn’t see”: it is a possibility of arrangement in the case of a lack of teachers in specific components, harming students. In other words: the organization of the curriculum can take place based on the number of qualified teachers in the network and not the other way around.

I would highlight two other points for improvement. The removal of the device that provides for the recognition of activities carried out individually (volunteer work, internships and others) outside of school as part of full-time activities (with the exception of technical education), so that the possibility of simulating time registrations is not opened integral. And the forecast of how to contemplate Youth and Adult Education, which cannot be organized according to the current project, since this modality is generally organized at night.

Public policies are not designed in a neutral environment and are the result of the interaction of multiple forces and agendas in dispute. Educational reform does not occur in a few years, as reforms in other countries teach us. The “reform of the Secondary Education Reform” is not perfect, it must be improved and may be the subject of other adjustments in the future, but at this moment it is a possible reform. Let’s move on.


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