President Michel Temer signed and will submit to Brazil's Congress the high school reform proposal (for students from 16 to 18 years old), which includes the plan to extend the full-time education in 2017.
The government's intention is for high school to have, over the next three years, half the mandatory courses, defined by the National Curriculum Parameters, which is still under discussion. The other half of courses would be more flexible, based on the students' interests and on the specificity of the public schools in each state of Brazil. Students can choose to follow some paths: languages, mathematics, natural sciences, and humanities.
According to Education Minister Mendonça Filho, the government will invest $468 million to provide full-time school to over 500,000 young people by 2018, which will begin to be implemented next year. "The full-time [school] removes the vulnerability from young people in Brazil's medium and large cities and improves the education's quality," said the minister.
When signing the proposal, President Michel Temer pledged in his speech that "there will be no reduction in funding for education." According Temer, the high school reform intends to give a "qualitative leap in the Brazilian education."
The high school reform became a priority to the government after Brazil fail to achieve the established goals for two consecutive years. According to data of the Basic Education Development Index, which monitors the quality of education in the country, high school faces the worse situation compared with basic education (7-15 years old): for the year, the goal was 4.3, but the index stood at 3.7.
Currently, the high school has 8 million students, including students from public and private schools. According to the Ministry of Education, while the basic education reached a dropout rate of 1.9%, the high school reached 6.8%.
The proposal, signed as provisional presidential decree (which has immediate effect), was opposed by groups and entities linked to education, which defend further discussion of changes.
However, in Minister Mendonça Filho's view, the country is in a "hurry" because "children and young people relegated to low-quality public education are compromising their future and their lives. We cannot be passive and tolerant before such scene."
* With additional reporting by Paulo Victor Chagas
Translated by Amarílis Anchieta