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Stay at home and study…or not?

Carlitos is 11 years old, he was born and lives in Brazil and returning to school has turned into a need because he misses the sound of other voices and he is bored at home. He prefers to kick a ball around with his friends in the school yard in Aguas Claras, in the Federal District, although he is frightened when his mother, says he could get sick with Covid-19.


Osvaldo Cardosa


What is certain is that despite the necessary restrictions imposed by the pandemic, distance learning adopted by state networks and municipals in the country has shown itself a poor substitute for face-to-face learning in the classroom.

A survey by the National Confederation of Education Workers (CNTE), in association with the Political Education and Teachers Work Study Group from the Minas Gerais State University, has shown that 82% of teachers interviewed confirmed the meagre value of distance learning. Only three out of 10 basic education teachers have the necessary resources to carry out their activities online. And in the experience of the teachers taking part one in three students don’t have the equipment needed to take part in classes and practice online activities.

Most students depend on family help to answer questions and to motivate them.

Currently Brazil is debating between the return to face-to-face schooling and leaving each family to decide whether children attend school, amid the Covid-19 pandemic which in the country has claimed 100 thousand deaths and almost 3 million infections until now.

“Parents face a dilemma, at home learning is not as effective as in school, but fears are appearing. The epidemic is out of control in the country” dental assistant Tereza Maia tells Prensa Latina, and she says that hygiene measures are important in taking any decision related to children and school.

But so too is the distance between desks and not sharing personal objects, something very common between children.

For Maia, in starting the school year, the schools will have to enforce rigorous safety measures.

Currently the Municipal Education Council (CME) of Sao Paulo is working on a proposal, in which the return to class, in a face-to-face situation, will be optional.

The president of the CME, Rose Neubauer, made it clear that both those parents who want to keep their children at home, as well as those that decide to accept the return to school, will have to sign disclaimers.

The students that do not return to class will continue to receive distance learning, with printed material and multi-media options. This decision will be published in a week.

In agreement with the CME, the decision will be valid for the return to classes in academies or state or private schools in the capital of Sao Paulo.

Given this agreement, parents cannot be brought before a tribunal for not bringing their children to school which has been suspended since the 24th of March.

Education is obligatory in Brazil from the age of four (nursery) and it is necessary to have at least 60% attendance during the academic year. In the case of primary and secondary school, the minimum attendance is 75%.

The measure taken by the CME is in response to demands from the families of the students that have rejected almost unanimously, a return to school.

As quoted on their website, Claudio Fonseca, city councillor and president of the Syndicate of Education Professionals in the municipality of Sao Paulo (Sinpeem), stated that the measure was insufficient and transfers the responsibility to the parents.

He pointed out that even if the parents do not send their children to school, the teachers, the cleaners, the management, must all be there.

Fonseca stressed that he isn’t in agreement with the call for education professionals in a situation such as this, in which they haven’t adopted cleaning measures in the schools, the environment, and for safety in general. (PL)

(Translated by Carol M Byrne) Photos: Pixabay



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