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La Educación
Número: (114) I
Año: 1993


Education has been particularly affected by the economic crisis faced by Latin American countries in the last decade. In addition to economic and financial problems, theory and rhetoric of reforms have not been followed by practical alternatives or policy options that could solve the fundamental problems of education in Latin America.

An analysis of education reforms shows that we should consider all the factors (political, social, religious, historical, and economic environment) where the events take place in order to give innovations and reforms their proper dimension. In other words, in the analysis of any national education reform, we should apply Drucker’s “political ecological perspective” (Ward, 1988). In Ward’s translation, this means we ought to examine reforms in light of the interplay of economic,  political, and social processes.  This is particularly critical in the analysis of reforms in Brazil where the fate of the public services strongly depends on the government’s economic policies and on the political environment.

Despite government efforts, Brazilian educational reforms have been ineffective in solving major educational problems regarding issues of efficiency and effectiveness of schooling. Educational reforms fragmentary effects—or ineffectiveness—in  achieving  proposed  objectives  in  Brazil,  as well as in Latin  America,  are  the  consequence  of  a  series  of  factors that have not been fully evaluated.   Among the factors  that can be considered are the lack of a stable environment in  which reforms could be more successfully built or the lack  of  a  comprehensive  approach  to  educational reforms;  including both school and out-of-school education systems where the design and implementation of change are considered two different activities and are treated accordingly.