FGV develops training methodology for designing school curricula
Brazil is undergoing a major curricular transition, affecting nearly 50 million children, teenagers and adults who are currently in the basic education system. Municipal governments are legally responsible for designing their curricula for kindergarten and elementary education. In this context, Fundação Getulio Vargas has developed an in-service training methodology to enable this activity to be performed.
The project was developed collectively and Itaú Social financed this initiative in nine municipalities in the state of Maranhão that are all members of the Guarás Region Educational Development Scheme. Curricular reform involves all levels of government and also the private sector. Furthermore, given its importance to the country, it needs to have the support of civil society, especially education professionals, to be implemented successfully.
Understanding the need to offer Brazilian municipalities instruments to tackle the challenge of formulating and implementing new curricular proposals, Fundação Getulio Vargas developed FGV in Action, which later gave rise to the Curricula in Action education project. Itaú Social funded the implementation of this social technology in a pilot project in nine municipalities that are part of the Guarás Region Educational Development Scheme in Maranhão.
FGV’s mission is to promote Brazil’s socioeconomic development. Through two of its organizations, FGV In Company and the FGV Center for the Development of Public Management and Educational Policy (FGV DGPE), it developed Curricula in Action to support Brazilian municipal governments in the process of designing and redesigning their curricula in light of the National Curriculum and state curricula.
The project is supported by Itaú Social, which believes that strengthening municipal education secretariats is a central and urgent task for public education in Brazil. The Guarás Region Educational Development Scheme in Maranhão, whose main partner is Itaú Social, is also involved in it.
In the process of building and implementing Curricula in Action, some strategic issues arose and were addressed, including the following:
Innovation: The project was designed in line with the basic principle of innovation. The Discover, Innovate, Construct and Assess (DICA) methodology was used.
Technology: Technological tools were used to develop the project, between April and September 2020. To get around the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, all the work was done remotely, using Zoom and FGV’s e-Class tool.
Legitimacy: This was a key principle for the group of 40 professionals involved, from the nine municipalities in question (four or five professionals from each one).
- Stakeholder participation: The professionals participated actively in the theoretical classes and practical activities. Teachers did the theoretical classes, while teaching assistants did the practical activities, which involved individual writing exercises.
According to the project’s leader, Claudia Petri of Itaú Social, the process can be considered a success, considering that almost all the participants completed the training satisfactorily. Moreover, they managed to achieve the goal of designing a new curriculum during the course. This high-quality document represents an improvement on national and state curricula, as it incorporates regional aspects.
Along the way, a series of issues emerged and were addressed. Critical success factors included innovation, the use of technology, legitimacy and participation.
In order for the new regional curriculum to be implemented, the next step is to get it formally approved in each municipality. To this end, the Guarás Region Educational Development Scheme plans to meet with the municipal governments’ new education managers, present the work done and urge their teams to approve and implement the curriculum. After that, according to Maria Gorethi Camelo, a technical advisor to the Guarás Region Educational Development Scheme, there will be joint discussions about the need for teacher training, adjustments to teaching materials and a review of each school’s teaching plan. In this way, it will be possible for the curriculum to be implemented and to benefit the teaching and learning process.