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La Educación
Número: (122) III
Año: 1995

The Scope of the Plan

The two-way methodology established in the elaboration and implementation of the Ten-Year Plan has been one of the factors which facilitated its acceptance. The consensus that is being reached through dialogue between the main participants and partners has proved to be strong enough to provide negotiated solutions to outstanding problems such as career plans for teachers and school productivity. Unquestionably, achieving such consensus will depend to a great extent on the political will of the managers. This obstacle can be overcome by a permanent mobilization of civil society in favor of education for all. If society demands quality with the same impetus with which it has demanded schools, the Plan stands a good chance of succeeding.

In this regard, some positive results can be detected. The publication of the results of evaluations for primary education at the national level, and even at the international level, have contributed to the alarm and perplexity of segments of the Brazilian elite and middle class. The consequences of the neglect of education, the blame for which falls clearly upon the elite, were clearly revealed. On the other hand, the strengthening of the role of civil society, with the first steps taken in the 1980s by the movement for the restoration of democracy, has become a central feature in the resolution of the process. Many social entities which had traditionally been concerned with other sectors have now become engaged in the struggle to increase the coverage and quality of primary education.

Furthermore, there is now a tendency toward increasing the responsibilities of the family in education by conforming to a constitutional prescription which is not currently addressed by educational policies. The family, which connects people not only by ties of kinship but also by ties of affection, could play a significant role in the process of educational reform by demanding that quality services be provided and by helping the schools achieve the respect of the public, therefore contributing to the success of students in school.

In recent years, innovative experiments have been embarked upon in Brazilian state and municipal education that clearly illustrate the potential for reform in the public school systems, even in the most difficult of circumstances. In many parts of the country, one can witness a great yearning to achieve success, pursued by various means, which are conducive to greater respect for the schools. Ensuring that no child remains out of school, improving the quality of education, reducing the rates of repetition, and increasing community participation in the municipal education budget will bring us closer to the ideal of high-quality education for all.

In addition, we have the support of the large union confederations the CUT, Força Sindical and CGT which have included primary education on their agenda. Força Sindical, for example, with support from UNICEF, recently held three regional seminars to discuss the policy of education for all with union leaders from various sectors. The participation of these entities in the struggle for high-quality primary education is another promising factor in mobilizing political will.

In conclusion, the prospects of the Plan are enhanced by the position taken by the National Confederation of Workers in Education (CNTE) and other strong trade unions, which have discussed the Plan and agreed to achieve its central objectives. Teacher participation is essential for the success of the Plan. For this reason, it is necessary to reform the forum in which the Ministry, CONSED, UNDIME and CNTE can formalize agreements in order to advance the reform of primary education.

There is a social scope available to the Plan that depends on the alliance of various groups. There are encouraging signs, and the country as a whole expects a new courageous and ethical approach from the various administrative levels that provide public services in the area of primary education.