The Open School (Escola Aberta) program, inaugurated six years ago by the government of Pernambuco, a state in Northeast Brazil, has become a model for the Brazilian Ministry of Education (MEC).
The purpose of the program, which counts on the collaboration of the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (UNESCO), is to offer activities in public schools during weekends and lower the rates of violence.
The MEC plans to extend this initiative, which has been changing the lives of 100,000 socially vulnerable youngsters in Pernambuco, to all Brazilian states and municipalities by 2008. The Ministry will transfer US$ 8,800 annually to every school that adopts the project.
According to the coordinator of the program in Pernambuco, Marcos Magalhães, the experiment is already underway in the metropolitan areas of Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Salvador, and Vitória.
He informed that, in his state, the Open School is currently functioning in 400 educational establishments in 13 cities.
The MEC wants the program to be part of the schools’ pedagogical policy, integrating weekend activities with regular school activities.
Besides the existing program, workshops will be developed to stimulate reading, the culture of peace, and the reclamation of citizenship.