About New High School

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Brief analysis of the MEC proposal presented on August 7

MEC released the results of the Public Consultation on New Secondary Education and presented a proposal. If maintained, it brings advances, but needs to be improved.

The Ministry of Education (MEC) assumed the 2400 hours of Basic General Training (FGB) that we proposed in PL 2601/2023 (submitted in May/2023), an issue also reiterated in USP's collaboration on the matter, sent to the MEC in July. That's good news.

With the Basic General Training (FGB) of at least 2200 hours, the technical courses will have an “exception” of workload and can have 800 and 1000 hours dedicated exclusively to professional training. For technical courses of 1200 hours of professional training, there will be an extension of the day, with the possibility of support from MEC's ​​Full Time School Program. Interesting.

However, Basic General Training of at least 2200 hours is reasonably problematic. Technical education cannot compete with the FGB, on the contrary, it must be integrated. I am even speaking as an alumnus of the model, having been a former student at the São Paulo State Technical School (ETESP), my best and most important educational experience.

Another important principle of PL 2601/2023 (but only) “suggested” in the MEC proposal: Arts, Physical Education, Literature, History, Sociology, Geography, Philosophy, Chemistry, Physics and Biology should integrate Basic General Education (FGB). Spanish appears as an “alternative” to English.

A fundamental issue: Brazil must move towards a mandatory offer of Spanish as a foreign language, concomitantly with English. in fact, this must be a matter of national strategy, in addition to a regional commitment.

Now a good “suggestion” included in the MEC proposal: Digital Education. However, it must be from the perspective of critical media education, as we defend in the government transition report “Right-wing extremism among adolescents and young people in Brazil: attacks on schools and alternatives for government action”.

Concluding the theme of the curricular components to be contemplated in General Basic Education (FGB): the MEC's ​​position should be firmer. This is the greatest demand from educators, in addition to the workload of 2400 hours for Basic General Training. Why? Because structuring General Basic Education well means strengthening the teaching profession, in addition to being the best remedy to avoid the chaos experienced in state networks with the preposterous subjects of the New High School that revolted students, teachers and professors.

Another point that follows the line of PL 2601/2023: the end of the ill-fated and far from rigorous term “training itineraries”. The term is abolished in PL 2601/2023, but replaced in the MEC proposal by “pathways for deepening and integrating studies”. What might this mean in practice?

In addition to Basic General Training (2400 hours), from the perspective of expanded or “full time” (3000 hours), further studies (600 hours) can be offered. In practice, there would be 2 possibilities: (a) Portuguese, English or Spanish (should be “e”), Mathematics and Natural Sciences; and, (b) Portuguese, English or Spanish (I repeat, it should be “e”), Mathematics, Philosophy and Human Sciences.

That is, for the remaining 600 hours of the 3000-hour workload, the student would have to choose between these two possibilities.

You might ask: Doesn't this sound like the old division of Classical, Scientific, and Normal? Yes, but we must remember: there is the Basic General Training of 2400 hours. She would be guaranteed. The bigger problem is another one:

The Enem, correctly and following the position we have defended since the government transition, will be based on Basic General Training. I reiterate: very correct! But there is a serious risk of widening inequalities: vocational education students will fall short of the 2400 hours of Basic General Training (only 2200 hours). Therefore, Technical Education must be integrated (4200 hours).

In fact, Technical and Professional Training is considered a “path of deepening and integration of studies” by the MEC. I did not list it this way because I believe that this should be reviewed, otherwise students of this model will have many difficulties in entering Higher Education.

There are other important issues, such as the extinction of Distance Education in “regular” Secondary Education, but the use of 20% of the workload of professional education in this teaching modality is “allowed”, which is serious. and, lastly, there is still a problem of practical indefinition on how to deal with notorious knowledge in professional education.

After reading a first version of this text, professor Monica Ribeiro, from UFPR, one of the most important specialists on Secondary Education in Brazil, warned me: “with regard to technical and professional formatting, there is still the absurd possibility of continuing the qualification courses, FIC courses, which do not guarantee professional qualification. It is a workload formed by the combination of several uncoordinated courses.” This is serious. And it still draws attention: there are other problems such as “the mandatory link to the National Common Curricular Base” and also “the mandatory organization by areas”, while “the networks are still organized by disciplines”. As a possible positive point, Ribeiro states: “perhaps, this is how it is in the presentation, the BNC Teacher Training will be revoked or revised”.

Finally, there are no more political alternatives: what the MEC proposed requires the issue to be discussed in Parliament, as we have warned since 2016 and is congruent with the effort of PL 2601/2023. In this sense, it is a matter of repealing the New Secondary School – this is a fact that is not being acknowledged in the press coverage.

However, be warned: there is a lot of water to go under the bridge. Let's go!

*Daniel Cara Professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of São Paulo.

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