Inscriptions for this year’s Teacher Prize for Brazilian public school teachers will close on September 2.
The ten best pedagogical projects in each of two categories, elementary and high school, will receive a prize of 5,000 reais (slightly more than US$ 2,000) each, a trophy and a trip to Brasília to attend a seminar and award ceremony.
The objective of the prize is to recognize the work of public school teachers. The projects will be judged by commissions of specialists in each state.
The Teacher Prize is sponsored by the Ministry of Education and the National Council of State Secretaries of Education (Consed), the Union of Municipal Managers of Education (Undime) and the Bunge and Orsa foundations.
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced, earlier this year, measures to improve education in Brazil and affirmed that investing in education brings rapid results. According to the President, resources spent in this area should be viewed not as expenditures, but as investments.
Lula referred to steps already taken by his Administration, such as the provision of literacy instruction to 1.25 million Brazilians in 2004, the creation of three federal universities, and the admission of 100 thousand students to higher education through the University for All Program (ProUni).
The President promulgated measures to improve basic (pre-school, fundamental, and secondary) and university education and train public school teachers. One of these initiatives is a proposed Constitutional amendment that will create the Basic Education Fund (Fundeb).
The Fundeb will benefit 47 million students enrolled in basic and youth and adult education, according to data from the Ministry of Education. Allotments to the fund will grow until they reach an annual sum of US$ 1.6 billion (4.3 billion reais) in 2009.
The government’s existing fund, the Fundef, presently receives an average annual allotment of US$ 232 million (570 million reais). The resources will be derived from tributes paid by states and municipalities and a complementary amount from the federal government.
The President emphasized that the fund will indeed make education universal in the country and reduce educational disparities among the states. “Never has so much been invested in education in Brazil,” Lula affirmed.
The package of measures also includes extending the duration of fundamental education from eight years to nine, by having children begin school at an earlier age. Schools will have five years to adjust to this change.