last year of Lula's first mandate, 2006, stimulates us to
take an account of four years of development in the area of
in mind the impossibility of fully exploring the actions of
the government with respect to the universality of access to
quality education, not to mention seeking some guarantee of
mechanisms of social participation in the generation of
public policy, the following is a brief account of the
government's attempts to increase access to aducation.
greatest of many frustrations during this administration was
the failure of the National Congress to approve the Basic
Education Development Fund (Fundo de Desenvolvimento da
Educação Básica – Fundeb), due to the gloomy state of
parliamentarians in the face of political struggles leading
up to the elections. All
indications show that in 2007 resources for the registration
of primary and high school students and for basic education
for those over fourteen years of age, all of which is
possible within Fundeb, will remain unavailable.
the case of primary school, greater access was stimulated by
a change of legislation that established registration in
basic education starting at six years of age, as well as the
increase in the levels of education for children of eight
and nine years of age.
and municipalities have until 2010 to implement the new
configuration within the networks of education in the whole
country. Standards established by the National Education
Plan, however important, were not met for children of zero
to five years old, who are still without any financial
relation to other sectors of the population traditionally
excluded from educational rights there have been some
important gains over the last few years, although these are
2001 the National Education Plan estimated that nearly 15
million Brazilians have special educational needs. Despite
the fact that the Justice System guarantees access to the
regular educational system, the school census of 2005 showed
only 640,317 registrations, including both regular schools
and those schools that are exclusively for children with
the recommendations of national and international
institutions for the inclusion of students in the regular
school system, only 41% of students with special needs are
so registered, with 59% attending only special schools.
terms of resources, in accord with the Department of
Education (MEC), nearly $50 million reais were
invested in the last three years to support those with
special needs within the educational system in states and
the moment, 82.3% of municipalities in Brazil offer
registration to those with special needs.
government spending on the registration of those with
special needs remains at very unsatisfactory levels. The
Department of Education currently establishes that the
expenditure for each special needs child is $730.38 reais
per year. Studies
done by the National Campaign for the Right to Education
regarding the "Cost of Quality for Students"
(Custo Aluno Qualidade – CAQ) indicates that this value
should be, at least $1,365.29 reais per person, per
negotiations with the government indicate that spending
levels, although not yet clearly defined, will not attend to
the demands of civil society.
the beginning of 2003, the then federal government announced
that literacy education for children and adults would be one
of its priorities, and thus constituted the Brazil Literacy
statistics reveal that federal spending on literacy
education for children and adults grew by more than 30 times
in the period between 2000 and 2005--from $6.4 million to
$203 million reais.
Meanwhile, this increase does not mean that the
Brazil Literacy Program is meeting its objectives, and the
results achieved so far are below the expectations of the
MEC (Minsistry of Education and Culture) itself.
The National Research on Domestic Trends (Pesquisa
Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios – PNAD) of 2005, for
example, showed there is a small decline in the absolute
illiteracy rate, 0.5% in 2001 to 0.3% in 2005.
to the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Instituto
de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada--Ipea), the body responsible
for ongoing evaluation of the Brazil Literacy Program, the
low impact of the program indicates that it is not
sufficiently focused on its target public--those are
to information from the MEC, at the end of 2005, 43% of
illiterate people participating in the program were not
absolutely illiterate when they first entered.
The inefficiency of the of Literacy Brazil is
associated with the lack of opportunities for continuing
study, which indicates the necessity of the consolidation of
education for young people and adults in the public school
system, a situation dependent on the approval of a special
2005, two policies were announced to attend specifically to
this group. The
project “Saberes da Água” was directed to 1,300 fishers
along the banks of the São Francisco River.
The Educating for Freedom program, which received
support from Unesco and the Ministry of Justice, seeks to
provide literacy education for 5,000 incarcerated people in
to these pilot projects, which were not extended to all the
prisons in the country, the MEC and the Ministry of Justice
acted together in the development of the National Directives
for Education in the Penitentiary System. This proposal must
still be analyzed by the National Council of Education and
the National Council for Criminal and Penitentiary Policy,
and thus has not yet been ratified.
this information should alert the government to two
one hand, it is necessary both to expand and universalize
access to educational resources. There is no way to guarantee education for all sectors of the
population if there is no investment in those people who are
the other hand, it is urgent to reaffirm the objectives of
the National Education Plan, and to guarantee a
participatory processes of social control in all levels of
is important to remember that the education sector of the
government is the least open to influence by civil society
organizations, and is the only sector that does not hold
consultative conferences where the proposals of social
movements can be expressed.