From this year, gradually until 2024, the reform of secondary education, proposed and approved during the government of Michel Temer (MDB), begins to be applied throughout Brazil.
On paper, according to the Ministry of Education, the so-called New High School (NEM) extends “the minimum student time in school from 800 hours to 1,000 hours per year (until 2022)”.
Also according to the definitions of the portfolio, the new curricular organization is “more flexible”, offers “different possibilities of choices for students” and “brings schools closer to the reality of today’s students, considering the new demands and complexities of the world”. of work and life in society”.
In practice, secondary education will have a stage aimed at the National Curricular Base and hours dedicated to so-called training itineraries, “a set of subjects, projects, workshops, study centers, among other work situations”, according to the Ministry of Education.
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For educational policy researcher and professor at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC), Fernando Cássio, the modernization discourse hides an elitist view of education. “It has no intention of profoundly reforming what needs to be reformed”, he considers.
Cássio points out that the emphasis on curriculum reform, in a wrong way, places responsibility for the problems that young people face in the world of work.
“The diagnosis is that the school and the school curriculum are to blame for this social phenomenon. No one is discussing what produces the fact that you have a large mass of young people who are in a kind of limbo. Poverty, the speech of public policy of permanence in school. There is no policy of deep reform, real improvement of teachers’ salaries, improvement of the school”, he warns.
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Freedom of choice?
The defense of changes in secondary education is mainly based on a discourse that promises to stimulate “youth protagonism”, contribute to “greater interest of young people in accessing school” and develop the “students’ life project”.
Fernando Cássio says that the promises of freedom of choice and qualification for the job market ignore social and structural realities. “There are social structures, there are power relations”, he reinforces.
The expert points out that the simplification of school training and the narrowing of the curriculum will perversely affect poorer students and “give less school to those who need school the most”.
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While it was still under discussion in the National Congress, the reform of the secondary education was the target of protests, mainly by secondary students. With the approval, there are also initiatives in parliament so that the start of the process is postponed and does not happen during the pandemic.
Cássio believes that, even so, the reaction within the schools will be essential to combat the dismantling.
“What the reform of secondary education does is remove the centrality of knowledge from the school, try to undermine the desire of young people to know. That’s why it attacks, mainly, knowledge. What the school community can do is to continue desiring knowledge. It is the desire to know that will produce some resistance from the schools”, he concludes.
Editing: Rodrigo Durao Coelho