Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Irrational Education

By definition, irrational means that something/someone is deprived or without the faculty of reason. It has occurred to me, through an inexplicable association of ideas, that Education in Brazil is somewhat irrational.

Let me try to explain it, then.

In spite of all rationale and constant diagnosis that has been done concerning education, much still remains incomprehensible to the majority of people. One of them is how much money should (must?) be spent – please read INVESTED. 5,2% of the GDP is currently been devoted to educational investments which is obviously not enough. It is undeniable that double this figure would be sufficient. However, what society does not understand is where this money would come from. Let along if the government has this money. It goes without saying that the more money invested, the better. But the heart of the problem is not only this. We do not spend too little on education. Rather, we spend too poorly. Too recklessly.

Another irrationality is the inability to face the educational drama. Teachers get far too little or none instruction before entering a classroom and payings are far below the average, I’d dare saying of the worst among other professions. How do we intend, this way, to offer quality in education? Teaching formation courses suffer from an abyssal anachronism. What has been done for fifty years cannot be done nowadays. Giving out computers for those who don’t understand the basics of it means next to nothing. Thinking clearly: ever since these machines entered the classroom, what have been the improvements in content? The results are nowhere near to be found in the Programe for International Student Assessment classification maps.

Currently, the construction of new schools is very rare. It seems that authorities and the government got tired of the subject. The building of new premises appears to be the only possible way to achieve the so desired wish: full time schooling which is the basic grounds of any developed country. The problem is that we are all too aware of the fact that our High School students spend roughly four hours a day at school. From this point we can have a glimpse of how deep the hole is. Furthermore, there is the lack of priority. There’s too little effort on technical courses and students do not get enough formation to face university life when they leave high school.

Do our schools feature libraries? No!
Do they feature equipped laboratories? No!
The non-equivalence between age and grade is under control? No!
Did we reduce truancy and failings? No!
Is there scientific initiation during high school? No!
Are reading levels going up? No!
Is the illiteracy level next to zero? No!
Are the gratuitous textbooks distributed to schools carefully chosen/designed? No!
Are those books well distributed? No!

A lot more could have been mentioned. Deep inside, what we are sadly aware of is that education has not been privileged due to a consistent political will.
So, where do we start? We start from the boosting in investiments in teacher development, career plans and equippment in schools (labs, I.T, libraries, sports). I hope that in the near future we come to realize that the literacy process of adults cannot be made only by generous volunteers. Rather, we need fully capable teachers who are trained and love what they do.
We all wish our children had great teachers. But who dreams to see their children become teachers? In South Korea, if i'm not mistaken, where they are acknowledged and well paid as doctors and lawyers there is a famous saying: "Never step on a teacher's shadow".

It's time we gave it more credit.

:-) See you in a post.


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