FGV provost reelected president of National Education Council’s Higher Education Chamber
Professor Antonio Freitas, FGV’s provost for teaching, research and graduate education, has just been reelected the president of the National Education Council’s Higher Education Chamber. He faces the challenges of cutting out red tape, simplifying procedures and decentralizing decisions about education course projects and curriculum guidelines in line with the technological capacities, infrastructure and teaching staff of Brazilian education institutions. In doing this, he intends to respect the diversity and asymmetries of regions, states, municipalities and even neighborhoods across Brazil.
Professor Freitas, who was reelected unanimously by the National Education Council’s members for another year as president of the Higher Education Chamber, has identified a number of goals. The main one is to move forward with the implementation of the National Education Plan, which was approved in 2014 but has made little progress since then. He also emphasizes difficulties in implementing the National Common Curriculum in primary education, which is directly affected by the training of teachers and other education professionals, as well as monitoring of higher education institutions’ compliance with the National Graduate Education Plan.
FGV’s provost has been dedicated to education for more than 50 years. He stresses that in order for education to play a leading role in Brazil, it is necessary to invest in better teacher training, focusing on primary education. “This is the Achilles’ heel when it comes to national development, but it is also important to supply human capital to undergraduate and graduate programs. Although Brazil is the world’s sixth or seventh biggest economy, the country comes around 70th in international education evaluations,” he says.
Freitas is a major advocate of the idea that education is a right of all Brazilians. He believes that investment in the education of children and youth is fundamental to economic development in these times of technological revolution.
“In a world where technology prevails, we need to invest ever more in training young people, because all manual and repetitive work will be done by machines. To this end, it is important for children and youth to attend school. If we do not treat education with the importance it deserves, our economy will go backward, as there won’t be enough people to fill positions that require advanced qualifications,” he warns.
According to Professor Freitas, other points that warrant attention on the education agenda are the importance of course interdisciplinarity; the end of prejudice toward distance education, given that education mediated by technology has long existed; and the creation of conditions so that no young people or workers are left outside school.
“Permitting youth and adults not to study is a crime, and in fact it is against the Constitution. There is nothing more expensive than losing students. It’s worse than wasting natural resources,” he argues.