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Can Investment Funds Break Down Brazil’s Education Barriers?

Monday, September 16, 2013

by Guilherme Cintra, Learning 2030 Contributor

Image © andresmh

At least once a week, I read in Brazilian newspapers about my country’s poor PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) ranking. Brazil currently sits at 53rd of the 65 participating counties. To me, it’s proof of the necessity for bigger investments in education. 

The struggle in Brazil is not only with the poor quality of education but with inequality in accessing education as well. In most cases, the family you were born into determines what type of education you are going to get. And that will probably define how bright your future is going to be. 

Brazil has made some advances in education in the past few decades, mainly in the terms of access to primary education. But, we still have a long way to go. 

What works and what doesn't

The knee-jerk reaction is that more education spending will allow us to advance. That is part of the solution, but it is not enough. We have to be more efficient in the way we spend our resources.The national debate must shift from quantity to the quality of the educational investments we make.

The challenge of the next few decades is understanding what works efficiently and what doesn’t. Finding solutions for our schools will have a huge impact in developing efficient educational models that do what they are supposed to: teach.

To be efficient as educators in the coming years, we need to understand which skills are needed by students to face the challenges of the rapid changes occurring worldwide and how to make sure they acquire those skills.

Image © andresmh

Technology in education: a means not an end

The solutions for 2030 are not only the ones that will help students in developing the autonomy necessary for achieving success when navigating in the huge amount of information available anywhere these days. 

They’re also the ones that will help teachers to become more efficient in guiding students and closing the knowledge gaps that grow at an even faster pace with the incredible rate at which information is produced. 

For educational models that rely on technology to work, the proposed tools have to be developed with users in mind. 

 

 

Technology has to be developed in a way that adapts to students learning cycles but also allows for this process to be cheaper and more scalable so that more people have access to quality education.

Brazil knows only too well about the educational gaps. We are hoping to develop new ways to close them efficiently in this ever-changing reality we’ll face in the coming decades.

Guilherme Carneiro da Cunha Cintra works for Brazil’s Gera Venture Capital, a Venture Capital/Growth Equity firm focused on improving education in an emerging market