Access to education

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  • Suzano Education Program

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    Context:

    Quality education is one of the most important structural challenges in Brazil. In recent decades, analyses of the educational context have shown the difficulties related to access to public schools, to student retention throughout their school life, and to learning during basic education. Therefore, Suzano invests in improving the quality of public education by developing the professional skills of educators and encouraging the participation¹ of families and communities with a focus on student learning. The Basic Education Development Index (IDEB) is a benchmark for measuring the quality of education in Brazil.

     

    Objectives

    The purpose of the Suzano Education Program is to contribute so that public managers are able to focus on improving student learning and the use of resources, while structuring a territorial education project that is built with and for people. The expected impact is to contribute to reducing educational inequalities in the territories, ensuring a regular school trajectory and expanding students’ learning, with greater participation and engagement of families and communities.

     

    Highlights and achievements throughout 2020

    In 2020, the Suzano Education Program (PSE) was present in 29 municipalities in six states in Brazil (SP, MA, PA, BA, ES, and MS), impacting more than 200,000 students. In the first year with the new methodology, we started to form the Education Development Arrangements (EDA – Arranjos de Desenvolvimento da Educação), composed of groups of municipalities that are geographically close to each other and have similar social characteristics. The focus of the work was on training secretaries and their teams to advance professional practices regarding technical qualification, collaboration among municipalities, collaboration among municipal teams and educators, and engagement for education.

    In early 2020, we announced the Long-Term Goa for Education l, a plan of action that aims to “increase the Basic Education Development Index (IDEB) by 40% in all priority municipalities.
    This goal seeks to improve student retention and learning in the municipalities with the highest levels of social vulnerability and lowest IDEB in the territories where we operate in Brazil.

    Other highlights in the year:

     

    • Adaptation of the operation structure to help the technical teams of the municipal Boards of Education respond to the emergency scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in relation to virtual school activities, expanding communication with students and family members, and maintaining the continuous training of teachers.
    • Stronger collaboration and partnerships between different sectors in the education networks.
    • Recognition of the importance of the partnership between the municipalities to perform actions with greater quality and reach.
    • Advancement of all Education Development Arrangements (ADE), groups of municipalities, between 92% and 100% in the educational practices provided for in the Program Evaluation Matrix (document that tracks the performance of the municipalities).
    • Development of a theory of change, which guides how the program will be supported, monitored, and evaluated in order to achieve the Long-Term Goal for Education. It provides clarity on what needs to be implemented and establishes a set of short-, medium- and long-term indicators that we want to achieve by 2030. As a result, the program’s efforts will be guided by improved performance in Portuguese Language and Mathematics, as well as by the stability of the students’ school trajectory in order to contribute to reducing educational inequalities in high-priority municipalities and link the schools in the territory to the social protection network.

     

    Challenges

    The pandemic revealed important issues that are linked to the quality of education for students throughout Brazil. The main challenges faced in 2020 by technical teams, school managers, teachers, and students were:

     

    • Limited internet infrastructure.
    • Restricted access to technological resources.
    • Lack of continuing distance learning training for teachers.
    • Scarcity of teaching materials for educational activities.
    • Complexity in the logistics for sending activities to students (lack of resources, access to remote places, among others).

     

    A TIC Kids Online (2020) – a survey conducted to gather evidence about the opportunities and risks associated with the use of the internet by the population between 9 and 17 years old in Brazil. It shows that 17% of children and adolescents in Brazil do not have access to the Internet. This digital divide for students and educators negatively influences student retention and learning, both of which are important issues for ensuring better quality standards in education these days.

    Based on the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, the purpose of the Suzano Education Program is to contribute to overcoming the educational challenges of the regions considered as high priority and help improve the practices of the educators.

     

    Expectation

    In 2021, 12 new municipalities in the states of Maranhão, Pará, Tocantins, Mato Grosso do Sul, Espírito Santo and Bahia are expected to join the program.

    This will be the first year of the program’s new methodology, which will also be implemented in the schools and will train school managers and teachers of Portuguese and Mathematics, two of the subjects that are directly linked to the IDEB. We will also benefit from the structuring of an inter-sector network for family and community participation in Education, contributing to the development of an Educational Territory.

    Based on the Theory of Change, the expected short-term results aim to incorporate practices and knowledge into the daily lives of teachers in the two aforementioned disciplines, as well as to contribute so that city leaders, municipal technicians, and school managers can perform a more democratic management for student learning, fostering the involvement of families and the community in the overall education of children and adolescents.

    Change view:

    • wdt_ID Consolidation of project results, by region 2019 - Number of municipalities served 2019 - Number of participants 2020 - Number of municipalities served 2020 - Number of participants² 2020 - Number of people benefited³
      1 São Paulo 11 995 10 53 452
      2 Mato Grosso do Sul 3 142 1 5 26
      3 Espírito Santo 7 464 5 39 279
      4 Bahia 3 407 3 24 181
      5 Maranhão 1 90 9 71 792
      6 Belém (PA) - 8 schools⁴ 0 0 1 8 0
      7 Total 25 2,098 29 200 1,730
    1. The Suzano Education Program considers the participation of civil society (families and community) to be co-responsible in the educational development process in the territory, for territorial matters and for the implementation of educational policies. 2. Secretaries and Technical Teams of the Municipal Board of Education participating in the Program. 3. School managers. 4. In addition to the work developed in the Education Development Arrangements (ADE), the Suzano Education Program operates in 8 schools in the Sacramenta District, in Belém (PA).

    Additional information:

    The following is a testimony from Janainna Alves de Freitas, School Principal in Mucuri (Bahia), about the project:

    “Together with other municipalities in the region, in the Education Development Arrangements and in partnership with Suzano, it was possible to plan, produce documents, and perform various actions during the pandemic. We have worked closely with the councils, we have jointly thought about regulations, and we have come even closer to families. It was a great challenge, but we did it all in a collaborative way.”