FGV and Unibanco Institute develop unprecedented program to train school managers

The idea is to train professionals who already work in schools or who wish to do so and thereby help improve the quality of education in Brazil.
Public Policy
23 November 2023
FGV and Unibanco Institute develop unprecedented program to train school managers

In 2021, the National Education Council approved the text of the Common National Core Competencies for School Principals. This document aims to help school networks produce training, selection and support policies for principals, with clear objectives on what is expected of them in performing their activities.

To help with the challenge of implementing this document, the Unibanco Institute, in partnership with Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Center for the Development of Public Management and Educational Policy (FGV DGPE) and FGV In Company, developed a pioneering training program. The idea is to train professionals who already work in schools or who wish to do so and thereby help improve the quality of education in Brazil.

More than 60 education professionals from many locations are taking part in the first edition of the course, which began in October and is aimed at developing skills and abilities related to educational management. This ongoing course will be joined by three others by the middle of 2024, covering the “Political and Institutional,” “Administrative and Financial” and “Personal and Relationship” dimensions, totaling 192 hours of training in all. As of the second half of 2024, these four courses will be freely available on the FGV platform to anyone interested in the subject.

According to Andressa Buss, the program’s academic coordinator, the work began a year ago with a survey that involved listening to school principals all over Brazil and investigating the current profile of these professionals, their main difficulties experienced on a daily basis and their preferences regarding training courses. The program was designed by authors with extensive experience in school management and solid academic knowledge, using curated materials from the Unibanco Institute produced over the last 10 years as well as materials from FGV and other leading Brazilian organizations in this area. “We prioritized the comprehensive training of principals, based on the development of competencies and skills in the four dimensions indicated by the National Education Council, connecting theory and practice, to promote high-quality performance in exercising the role of school principal,” she explained.

Each online course lasts 48 hours, involving an estimated six weeks of dedicated study time, and uses versatile multimedia resources such as video lessons, podcasts and digital reading materials, focusing mainly on support content for the practical implementation of actions. In the pilot version of the course, participants are having interactive sessions with instructors in synchronous classes (based on a web conferencing platform), allowing them to share their experiences.

During a presentation about the program, João Lins, the executive director of FGV In Company, said that the project has several innovative components. “We are very honored by this partnership with the Unibanco Institute, as we expect it to have a significant impact on the development of managers and education in general,” he said.

According to Ricardo Henriques, the president of the Unibanco Institute, the aim is to develop management oriented toward continuous progress in schools, with a focus on management practice. In addition to content based on evidence and national standards, there are multiple case studies connected to the reality of managers. “We have some long-standing challenges, such as social inequality, but at the same time we have the chance to help public sector schools take a major step forward at the frontier of knowledge,” he said.

In the view of José Henrique Paim, the director of FGV DGPE, this is a pioneering initiative in developing the skills of school managers. “We highly value the role of school managers, as they represent the most important element for improving education. The Unibanco Institute and FGV are taking a fundamental step to help improve education and reduce inequality so that everyone has access to high-quality education,” he said.

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