We need to invest in reducing school dropout and illiteracy

The case of influencer Luva de Pedreiro gained national repercussion because the 20-year-old signed a contract without reading, not out of imprudence, but because he would be illiterate. In the middle of 2022 this story should be an exception. But school dropout and illiteracy – including the so-called functional illiteracy, where, even knowing how to read, the person has difficulty understanding and interpreting texts – continue to be worrying factors for Brazil, as little progress has been made in this regard even after the political opening. of the military regime.

It was in January 1964 that President Jango launched the National Literacy Program, which was to reach the entire country and eradicate illiteracy in our territory, guided by Paulo Freire’s pedagogical proposal and literacy method. It didn’t even last four months. In early April, the popular literacy project was interrupted by the military coup and replaced by the Brazilian Literacy Movement (Mobral).

Half of the country’s adult population has not yet completed high school. And of this share, 33.1% did not even finish elementary school

Mobral’s inefficiency was confirmed by the results of the 1980 Census, which revealed an increase of 540 thousand people in the absolute number of illiterates aged 15 years and over in the 1970-1980 decade. In addition, the rates of dropout and regression to illiteracy were very high. Since then, little has changed.

IBGE data indicate that the proportion of people aged 25 and over who completed compulsory basic education, that is, completed at least high school, was 48.8% in 2019. In other words, half of the adult population in the country has not yet completed high school. And of this share, 33.1% did not even finish elementary school.

Therefore, whatever the elected candidate, the government plan must necessarily highlight public policies for the resumption of a sovereign education project and this, without a doubt, involves strengthening the National Examination for the Certification of Competence of Youth and Adults, the Encceja, scheduled this year for August 28. This is an important opportunity for the public who did not complete elementary or secondary education at the appropriate age. The test applied by the Instituto Anísio Teixeira (Inep) is the chance to obtain a certificate of completion of schooling, overcoming one of the barriers to exclusion from the job market and, why not, to higher education.

It is worth highlighting some actions by the private sector to help those who want to complete these levels of education. To cite two examples, we have iFood and Natura, which through Descomplica, an education startup, not only encourage their employees to take the Encceja, but also offer preparatory courses for the exam. The company that qualifies the workforce wins, the society wins in educational and socioeconomic development.

It is worth remembering that students who drop out of school tend to have low self-esteem, which makes their personal and professional relationships difficult. Entering the labor market becomes more difficult, and the quality of the services provided is leveled at the bottom, as is their remuneration. And completing high school brings more opportunities for human development, in addition to awakening dreams and beginnings, especially for people in situations of greater vulnerability and who have left school.

César Silva is a specialist in educational management and president of the FAT Foundation.

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