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Effects from the Rota do Saber program are proven in Pernambuco

Effects from the Rota do Saber program are proven in Pernambuco

The Basic Educational Development Index, Ideb, attests results of the Jeep program, which focuses on improving the quality of public education

January 1, 2019 - "I've never left Pernambuco!", cries Artur Elias Dantas Melo. "And now I'm going to travel by plane!" This isn't just any trip. The 16-year-old student from a state school in Igarassu was selected to be part of a student exchange program in Canada. He's in his second year of high school and he's the first to recognize that this dream, which is about to become a reality, is largely due to the education he received at a municipal school in a city 27 minutes from the state capital Recife . And if Artur's story has anything to do with the quality of public education in Igarassu, it's also due to Jeep's Rota do Saber or Route of Knowledge Program. This is evidenced by the Basic Education Development Index (Ideb) of Igarassu and other municipalities benefited by the initiative. Ideb is the main indicator of educational quality in Brazil, expressing in values the learning outcomes and the approval rate of public school students, on a scale ranging from zero to 10. The goal is for Brazil to reach the average of 6 on Ideb until 2021.

Igarassu was the first municipality in Pernambuco to benefit from Rota do Saber, a program focused on improving the quality of public education. In this year's index, of the 15 municipalities in the Metropolitan Region of Recife, he was among the first eight to meet the goal, becoming one of the three finalist to maintain it through the final years of Elementary School. "In 2014, when we started working in the schools within the municipal network of Igarassu, the first years of elementary school had 3.9 score according to the Ideb index and 2.8 in the final years. This year, the grades went up to 4.6 and 4.1 respectively", said Luciana Costa, coordinator for Jeep's Sustainability sector.

The Cecília Maria Vaz School, where Artur attended elementary school, went from 1.9 to 4.6 on the Ideb index. "The Rota do Saber propelled us to get this result, not only in our unit, but in all the municipal schools of Igarassu. We learned to have a more organized and focused education and including the student's family in the role of co-educators. In fact, the breakdown of paradigms during the project continues to reverberate even today in the schools", says João Lucas Pinheiro, coordinator of the school attended by 430 students and 18 teachers.

The evolution of the schools' network in a short period is explained in the methodology of the Rota do Saber, which works on the shortcomings of the municipal education network. Firstly, a broad diagnosis takes place in order to identify the priorities in all the schools. Then, every six months the students are tested in the subjects of Portuguese and Mathematics, through an Ideb simulation test. The results guide educators and managers over a three year period, which is the program's cycle in each educational unit.

Teachers are qualified in Portuguese, Mathematics and pedagogical methodology. The directors receive school management orientation and support in the implementation of a system for student learning, academic support programs and the construction of a participative management. "The three year period is ideal to ensure effective results without becoming dependent on the program. The idea is for schools to learn from experience and continue to apply that learning experiences", explains Luciana.

The Jeep program has partners such as Magneti Marelli, the National Bank for Economic Development (BNDES), the Institute for Quality in Education (IQE) and the municipal governments. In all, 183 schools, 30,000 students and 1100 educators and school administrators have already been part of the Rota do Saber Program in Pernambuco (Igarassu, Itambé, Goiana, Paulista) and Paraíba (Alhandra and Caaporã).

The municipalities served are close to the region of Goiana, where the Jeep Pernambuco plant is located. They are also part of the staff of the Jeep Automotive Plant, stresses Luciana. "They are within the radius of influence of the plant. We are very committed to the development of this region and we understand that investment in education benefits the communities as a whole, from the school, teaching professionals, students and families of these students. In addition, from the business point of view, contributing to the improvement of education also means investing so that we may have an increasingly prepared workforce in the region", she says.

Luciana explains that the arrival of the Rota do Saber in each of the municipalities occurred at different times. Therefore, in some of them the actions are still in the process of "maturation". However, in many cities we can now see the improvements in the quality of education through the Ideb index. In the municipality of Paulista, for example, rose from 4.1 to 4.7. There, the Rota do Saber was implemented last year. "As they were well below the Ideb's target in 2015, the goal of 5.0 has not yet been reached. But as it's only the first year, the idea is that by 2019 we will reach our goal", she reinforces. In Itambé, where the program is less than a year old, the municipal schools have already achieved the Ideb's goal in the initial years of Elementary Education (4.3). In Paulista, the Rota do Saber program will be completed in 2019. In other municipalities, the cycle will end in 2020. Therefore, we should be able to measure the results more accurately in future editions of Ideb.

The end of the project, however, does not mean that the learning process ends. The idea is for Rota do Saber to become a road for teachers, students and families themselves. "It's important for the activities to be incorporated by the public school system and be maintained because they work", says Luciana. "This is a great challenge and we are aware that there is still a lot to be done."

Words: Mariama Correia

Pictures: Marketing

Infographic: Daniel Schneider (text) and Marília Castelli (art)