National Education System: understand what is the ‘SUS of Education’ and what is the effect for schools – Ceará

The Covid pandemic has highlighted different realities and inequalities in the Brazilian educational process. Differences in structure and organization are often evident within the same city, depending on whether the student is from the municipal network, state or federal.

If before the health crisis, the creation of National Education System (SNE) was already relevant, with it, the debate, which has been going on for years, gained strength. But, what is this System? He can be compared to SUS? And what will change in the 7,400 schools in Ceará?

In the current format of functioning of Education in Brazil, even if the Federal Constitution provides that the education networks need collaborate technically and financiallywithout the existence of the SNE, the Federal, state and municipal governments even carry out joint actions, but this is not a generalized practice in the country.

student with book

Child dressed as a clown selling candy on the street

Today, this joint action, explains the general coordinator of the National Campaign for the Right to Education – an entity that works in education – Andressa Pellanda, “is done in an unregulated way”.

Often, she says, “federal coordination is lacking”. Thus, each network ends up acting isolated modealbeit in a precarious way, as was seen in the pandemic.

The first point when talking about the creation of the SNE is that, in order to be effective, it needs to be created as a law that will regulate and organize the responsibilities for education. This, by establishing rules about the functions and how each level (Union, states and municipalities) should act.

The SNE also advances in the legal determination that the three spheres have an obligation to act together.

In Ceará, for example, since 2007, there has been more systematic technical and financial cooperation between the State Government and the 184 municipalities in the area of ​​education. But this is at the initiative of these spheres of government. There is no law that establishes the molds that this partnership must have.

In cooperation in Ceará, which can be taken as a simplified design of the idea of ​​what the SNE is, the State and the municipalities work with an emphasis on the proper literacy process. But the partnership takes place at a less complex level than what is envisaged in the SNE for the country as a whole.

According to a survey by the Datafolha Institute, in basic education, 10.8% of high school students reported having dropped out of school, and the percentage was 4.6% in elementary school.

What are the steps to create the SNE?

The creation of the National Education System is already at least 6 years late, since the Law that established the National Education Plan (PNE) in 2014 provided for the creation of the SNE by mid-2016. Now, in 2022, the proposal to implement the SNE has become more concrete.

classroom ceará

Subtitle: One of the impacts of the creation of the SNE for those who are in the classrooms is the possibility of improving the quality of education

Photograph: José Leomar

The Complementary Law Project (PLP) 235/19 that creates the SNE was approved in March of this year by the Senate. But, the SNE was not, in fact, created yet. This is because the proposal, after passing through the Senate, was sent to the Federal Chamber and is still being processed. Therefore, the SNE has not yet got off the ground.

In the Federal Chamber, a proposal was already being processed with the same objective of the project coming from the Senate. In the legislative house, the federal deputy of Ceará, Idilvan Alencar (PDT-CE), reports the proposal.

The text approved in the Senate indicates that among the objectives of the SNE are:

  • THE universal access quality basic education, ensuring learning with equity;
  • THE eradication of illiteracy;
  • THE adequate guarantee of physical infrastructuretechnology and personnel for all public schools;
  • The incorporation of information technologies and knowledge in school pedagogical practices;
  • THE rationalization of the application of public resources linked to education, coordinating efforts among federated entities;
  • ensure compliance with the professional salary floor national for teachers.

According to the project, the Tripartite Inter-management Commission for Education (Cite) will be responsible for negotiation and coordination between managers at the three levels of government.

The Bipartite Inter-management Commissions for Education (Cibes), to be created in the 26 states and the Federal District, will be responsible for negotiating and agreeing between state and municipal education managers.

Can the SNE be compared to the SUS?

The conception of the SNE foresees that it works, among others, establishing the alignment of actions, programs and investments in the education sector, therefore, the project is known as a kind of Unified Health System (SUS) in education.

The general coordinator of the National Campaign for the Right to Education, Andressa Pellanda, says that “it is said that it is the SUS because it is the system that brings the networks together”.

But, she explains: “it still cannot be compared to the SUS because the SUS has a very strong strengthening of the municipal scope, and the proposal approved in the Senate still does not give the due strengthening to the municipalities”.

According to her, the approved project still focuses on the Union, and therefore the proposal needs “some adjustments so that the SNE is considered the SUS of Education”.

For the head of Government Relations at Todos Pela Educação – an entity that works in education -, Lucas Hoogerbrugge, the SNE “has a possible comparison with the SUS, because it has many similarities, although it has some important differences”.

“It is a system that organizes management, governance, and agreement on educational policies between the three spheres of government. And in this sense, it resembles the SUS in the sense of organizing these public policies”.

Lucas Hoogerbrugge

Leader of Government Relations at Todos pela Educação

On the other hand, he ponders, “the SUS is a single system that has transfers of resources within it, and ends up working in a more unified way because it is a system with only these rules for the whole country”. In the SNE, he explains, there is “a system of systems. Each municipality and state has its own rules.

What changes in classrooms

The impact for those who are in the classrooms, evaluates Andressa Pellanda, from the National Campaign for the Right to Education, is the possibility of improving quality, funding and cooperation “so that this education happens”.

“Sometimes, the municipality does not have the resources to guarantee both the offer and the quality and permanence in education. The idea is that states, for example, can collaborate both for funding and for thinking about solutions. This should have an impact in terms of access, permanence and quality.”

Andressa Pellanda

General Coordinator of the National Campaign for the Right to Education

In practice, assesses the head of Government Relations at Todos Pela Educação, Lucas Hoogerbrugge, it is expected that the SNE will generate a more aligned educational offer.

In the pandemic we had places with a qualified response and in others it was far short. And the differences in these responses are very harmful to students because they end up creating different conditions from which network they study”, he says.

classroom ceará

Subtitle: One of the objectives of the SNE is the universalization of access to quality basic education

Photograph: José Leomar

The idea, emphasizes Lucas, “is for the state network to talk to the municipal authorities based on national guidelines”.

“We hope that in a while we will be able to look back, like we look at the SUS, and see the relevance that a system of this magnitude has for the country. And we can celebrate its effects on children’s learning, especially reducing the brutal inequalities that the country has”.

Lucas Hoogerbrugge

Leader of Government Relations at Todos pela Educação

No date to go into effect

The Complementary Law Project (PLP) 235/19, originating from the Senate, will be analyzed by the committees of the Chamber of Deputies, but there is no date to be voted on in plenary. According to the Chamber’s News Agency, deputy Idilvan Alencar evaluated, in the last week of March, that the proposal for the creation of the SNE could be voted on later this year.

After processing in Congress, the SNE goes to presidential sanction, and after sanctioned, the implementation will not be immediate. It will be necessary to define a series of rules and norms regulating how it will work in practice.

If it becomes law, states, the Federal District and municipalities will have up to 2 years to approve specific legislation for the creation of state, district and municipal education systems. The Ministry of Education (MEC) should provide assistance to other federative entities in the process.

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