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Education policy during the government Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Fernando Henrique Cardoso - or FHC - was President of Brazil from Jan.1st.1995 through Dec.31st.2002.
Several landmarks of the educational policy can be mentioned.
Throughout the period, in an unusual occurrence in Brazilian governments, the Ministry of Education was occupied by the same Minister: Paulo Renato de Souza, prestigious educator, ex-Magnificent of Unicamp.
The National Program of Didatic Books was implemented. The program provides books, for free, to children of fundamental courses in public schools. Teachers choose books out of a list prepared by the Ministry (the list itself based on teacher's opinions), the books arrive before the school terms begin. Because the books are re-evaluated yearly, and several of them are excluded from the options list, a sensible improvement in the quality of educational books in Brazil was noticed.
Besides the books, the courses were also, for the first time, subject to official evaluation.
With much personal effort of Ministry Paulo Renato, a program called Provao was implemented for evaluation of superior education institutions; click to read more about Provao. The intermediary courses were avaliated by a system similar to Provao, called ENEM - Exame Nacional do Ensino Medio (National Examination of Intermediary Learning). To the fundamental education, was applied the SAEB - Sistema de Avaliacao da Educacao Basica (Fundamental Education Evaluation System). The results of all evaluations are made public, giving more transparency to the educational reality.
The fundamental education had a impulse with the deployment of the FUNDEF - Fundo de Manutencao e Desenvolvimento do Ensino Fundamental e de Valorizacao do Magisterio (Fund for Maintenaince and Development of Fundamental Education and Valorization of Teachers). The law established that resources from FUNDEF must be invested in fundamental education, particularly physical infrastructure and salaries of teachers.
Another landmark of FHC's was the national implementation of the Bolsa-Escola program, idea which had been firstly devised by Cristovam Buarque (who succeded Paulo Renato in the Ministry of Education), when governor of the Federal District in 1995. By this program, a small monthly payment is made to parents of poor children (as defined by law), with the condition that children must be effectly attending fundamental schools. The amount is low (around R$25/per month per child, which may be - and usually is - supplemented by State and city funds), but very helpful to the poor parents who are benefited. The idea of Bolsa Escola was picked up by the United Nations, which elected the program as one of the four that the UN would try to implement in other countries around the world.
At the end of his government, Fernando Henrique announced that 97% of children aged 7 to 14 years were attending school, figure never reached before in Brazil.
Analysts say that, despite of the clear improvements in the universalization, much is still to be done about the quality of education. For information about the government of FHC's successor, click the link to Lula's government
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