A little over a year after “Hands in hand” was launched by the government of Minas Gerais, educators and experts have already denounced the negative impacts caused in the municipalities that joined the project.
With the initiative, the management of Romeo Zema (Novo) seeks to advance in the municipalization of basic education and hand over to the municipalities the responsibility for managing the initial years of basic education. Currently, in Minas Gerais, responsibility is assigned to the state.
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With the promise of transferring resources from the state for renovations and construction of new schools, cities such as Betim, in the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte, and Fervedouro, in the Zona da Mata Mineira, have already joined the program.
However, in the opinion of Denise Romano, general coordinator of the Single Union of Education Workers of Minas Gerais (SindUTE-MG), the Zema government operates a strategy of “many promises and little transparency”.
“Municipalities are being deceived and deceived by the state government with a false advertisement that inexhaustible resources will come if the municipality assumes the enrollment from the first to the ninth year of elementary school”, he emphasizes. Denise also denounces that the initiative aims to relieve the State of responsibility for the provision of elementary education and transfer another obligation to the municipalities.
In Minas Gerais, the priority of the municipalities is the management of early childhood education. In addition, according to the National Education Plan (PNE), of the Ministry of Education (MEC), the goal is that at least half of the children in each municipality must be enrolled in kindergarten.
One of the cities in Minas that joined the program was Tupaciguara, located in the Triângulo Mineiro region. Data from the Inter-union Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies (Dieese) show that, in 2020, only 32.16% of children aged 0 to 3 years old in the municipality were enrolled in kindergarten.
“The vast majority of municipalities do not meet the demand for care for children aged between 0 and 3 years old”, explains Denise. For the teacher, this should be the priority of Minas Gerais municipalities and, with municipalization, the situation would get even worse.
President of the Education, Science and Technology Commission of the Legislative Assembly of Minas Gerais (ALMG), state deputy Beatriz Cerqueira (PT) highlights that the amount of resources sent to municipalities is not proportional to the number of students from the state network, absorbed by the municipal network. This, according to her, can cause financial problems for the municipalities in the future.
“The government presents beautiful numbers, a few million, which are finite. And then, who will bear the cost and maintenance of these enrollments is the municipality. I have no doubt that the biggest losers will be the municipality, the school community and education professionals”, he evaluates.
Lack of discretion and transparency
In a public hearing on the subject at ALMG, deputy Beatriz also criticized the lack of transparency and participation of the school community in the process of joining the project.
“How do you decide about the life of a school community without them even knowing what happened? The school is more than a few million. There is a pedagogical process, a project and conditions of access and permanence”, emphasized Beatriz.
In 2021, the government allocated R$500 million to the program. However, the distribution of resources to municipalities does not follow any pre-established rule.
In the deputy’s assessment, the state government’s initiative is “without criteria” and negotiates public money as if it were private. The reason for the criticism is the fact that part of the resource destined for the municipalities is from the Basic Education Maintenance and Development Fund (Fundeb) which, among other objectives, should be destined to the valorization of education professionals.
“Last year, the entire ‘Hands in hand’ project was money from Fundeb. That resource that was for the readjustment of the teacher’s salary floor, the government diverted to the project”, he criticized.
Future of servers is uncertain
For the execution of the project, the state government assigns public servants of education to the municipalities, for a period of two years. However, after this period, without the existence of state schools where they previously worked, professionals are left with uncertainty.
“It’s a big step backwards. What will be done with state education servers? Will they be penalized? Will they be leveraged on another network? We are talking about hundreds of thousands of people who are having their fate thrown to God, due to the irresponsibility of the Zema government”, explains Pedro Peixe, member of the Permanent State Forum of Education of Minas Gerais and coordinator of Sinasefe IFMG.
Sought by the report, the government of Minas Gerais stated that the process is being carried out in a transparent way and that joining the project is optional, and it is up to the municipalities to evaluate the administrative, pedagogical and financial conditions to absorb students from the state network.
Source: BdF Minas Gerais
Editing: Larissa Costa