Interelos Program for Rural Education

Education is one of the main vectors for the development of a territory and occupies the centrality of the social, environmental and economic development of the place where it operates, by training young people capable of exercising leadership roles in local organizations and providing technical assistance in supply chains. value.

The effectiveness of this vector is directly related to a political pedagogical project aligned with the characteristics of the territory, as occurs in Agricultural Families Schools (EFAs) and Rural Family Houses (CFRs). This school model is based on the Pedagogy of Alternation, an educational model that emerged in European rural communities in the post-war period and which provides, in addition to the official curricula, content based on the context of the territory in which they are installed, in addition to several other practices of teaching and involvement of the community, aiming at their permanence in the countryside and greater autonomy.

These schools are created based on a demand from the community and other actors, such as unions, who mobilize and create a sponsoring association. This association is the organization responsible for the school and for making agreements with the State for the transfer of funds.

The challenges faced by schools are of different natures, from formalizing the association, approving the political pedagogical project and all documents for regularization with the Board of Education, to hiring staff and teachers aligned with the Pedagogy of Alternation and access financial resources from the State.

Because they are community organizations with little experience in management, these associations face difficulties in the administrative field, which often lead to the indebtedness of the school's operational structure and even its bankruptcy. It is common for them to gain access to agreements with the State, but fail to render accounts and are prevented from accessing these resources again. The interruption of its activities represents a serious pedagogical loss and a disruption of the social fabric, with a loss of community mobilization. In the long term, the absence of a continuous and quality educational process contributes to the stagnation of the territory.

Theory of Change for Rural Education

Based on the vision we present about the role of education, we have developed a Theory of Change that seeks, as a result, to strengthen school units for education in the countryside, based on the guarantee of their uninterrupted functioning.

The main lines of action of this theory are: Financing of Pedagogical Activities, Strengthening of School Management and Public Policy Advocacy.

The three axes form a tripod for strengthening education. While the FUTURE Fund was created to bring a faster and more effective solution to the problem of financial insufficiency in schools, the management company and the Advocacy process aim, in the medium and long term, to solve two important issues: good administrative and financial management and the inclusion of schools in the public budget.

Axis 1: Financing of pedagogical activities

Future: United Territories Fund for Education Resources

O Future Fund was created from Law 13,800/19 to be a financial protection instrument for the financing of EFAs and CFRs. In general, rural schools are not part of the public budget, needing to sign terms of partnerships or agreements with state or municipal education management.

In this type of agreement, the State bears approximately 60% of the school's costs, with funds from the Fund for the Maintenance and Development of Basic Education and the Valorization of Education Professionals (FUNDEB), regulated by Law No. 14,113, of December 25 de 2020. The other 40% are normally apportioned between the students' families (20%) and projects that the school carries out to raise funds (20%).

However, financial resources are not always available and when they are, it is not uncommon for transfers not to be fully completed within the school year. This unavailability and/or interruption of transfers of financial resources causes a systemic negative effect on schools, from the interruption of teaching activities to, at the limit, the formation of labor liabilities that are difficult to be settled, preventing them from signing new partnership terms or future agreements.

O Future has a governance that is totally independent from the schools and is composed of a Board of Directors, a Fiscal Council, an Investment Committee and a Curator Committee.

Its objective is to raise funds to compose a main capital and apply it so that, with the income from the applications, school activities can be financed when necessary.

To access Future resources, schools must meet criteria defined by the Fund's Investment Policy and submit their requests according to the calendar published by the Fund. To ensure that schools do not suffer administrative sanctions from funding bodies, Future will provide an administrative and financial management structure made up of processes and systems that will allow schools to incorporate a new management model that reduces the risks of operational discontinuity.

The idea behind Future's financial engineering is simple: by ensuring that a school has a resource invested whose interest guarantees its full functioning in perpetuity, that school starts to reduce the risk of school discontinuity to zero. And, with that, it inserts in the territories between 100 and 150 young people trained to live together and transform the local reality.

However, to the extent that a school has the security of the fund, it will continue to seek public funds. And as it has access to these resources, the portion allocated to it in the fund can be redirected to support other schools that are in the same situation. Therefore, it is a resource that creates a potentially positive ripple effect throughout the entire rural school network of a territory.

Future is already legally constituted, headquartered in the city of Rio de Janeiro, and its official launch will take place in early 2023, with the main activity of raising funds for its operation.

Axis 2: Advocacy and public policies

This axis aims at strengthening public policies related to rural education. It includes a mapping of EFAs and CFRs, with data being made publicly available, a mapping of existing policies and, finally, an intense and coordinated activity of advocacy to strengthen policies aimed at promoting rural education.

Project 1:
Georeferenced mapping of schools in Brazil

Considering the difficulty of accessing qualified information to understand the panorama of schools that work with the pedagogy of alternation in Brazil and the challenges they face, this proposal intends to carry out a georeferenced mapping. It will cover all schools of this nature in Brazil, gathering information relevant to their functioning, their challenges and financial sustainability strategies adopted.

For mapping, conversation circles will be held in the 5 major regions (North, Northeast, Midwest, Southeast and South), both to mobilize potential partners and supporters, and to collect information. The questionnaire will be inserted into an online platform, where information about the mapping, the objectives of the proposal and the dissemination of the conversation circles will be available, as well as the dynamic map of schools in Brazil.

The questionnaire intends to collect information such as: territories where the schools are inserted, sources of financing, budgets, operational structure, staff, number of students by gender and age group, graduates, lines of action of the schools, technical training , connected productive chains, among others.

The collected information will be included in a Rural Education Portal, available in an interactive and updated way with the objective of enabling research and data analysis.

Project activities:

  • Surveys of secondary data through quantitative and qualitative studies on rural education in Brazil;
  • Articulation with national, regional, state networks and schools with the aim of understanding the context of action of each entity to strengthen rural education;
  • Organization of regional meetings to present the study and collect information;
  • Application of questionnaires with the sponsoring and regional associations to, from the collection of the best information, assemble a single database of schools with the pedagogy of alternation in Brazil;
  • Development of a website/digital platform with the availability of the questionnaire and information on georeferenced mapping;
  • Organization of a georeferenced database on the schools that work from the perspective of the pedagogy of alternation in Brazil, with the aim of generating reliable information to contribute to actions of a advocacy plan aimed at creating public policies for the sector and strengthening rural education.
  • Creation of the Field Education Portal, with all the information available for research and data analysis, so that it is a live portal and that the information is constantly updated in an interactive way.

Project 2:
Survey of public policies and actors to strengthen rural education

Parallel to the mapping of the EFAS and CFRS, a broad survey will be carried out containing the legislation and public policies focused on the subject, the possible bills in progress and the relevant political actors. This survey will allow a comprehensive understanding of how the relationship between rural education institutions and the State is guided.

The main objective is to generate strong inputs for the elaboration of a advocacy plan for the education of the countryside, which can help in the construction and approval of bills aimed at strengthening it, with the pedagogy of alternation as its guiding principle. It is hoped that the efforts committed to carrying out the proposal result in the formal recognition, by the MEC, of the pedagogy of alternation in Brazilian education and in the creation of a new flow of institutional investment in the structure of state promotion of education that proves to be effective and viable for EFAs and CFRs, with their own and regular budget allocation.

The mapping of the actors will start together with the conversation circles for the dissemination of the collection of information about the schools. This will be the moment to understand everything these actors are doing in favor of education in the countryside and to join efforts to create an action strategy for the advocacy plan?? At the same time, the team will survey the history of existing public policies and legislative proposals on the subject, as well as understand how the articulation of political actors that have education as a priority of action takes place.

Project activities:

  • Survey of public policies on rural education;
  • Surveys of information within the legislative power on all commissions that are working with rural education, as well as federal, state and senator deputies who support the theme;
  • Mapping of political actors and civil society organizations active in strengthening rural education;
  • Conducting contacts and interviews with the most relevant political actors dedicated to the theme of rural education in order to understand the main strategies for strengthening the countryside, the challenges and achievements already achieved;
  • Publication containing the analysis of the information collected in axis 1 and 2 and widely disseminated at an event with key actors, for the launch of the Portal da Educação do Campo.

Project 3:
Advocacy plan for EFAs and CFRs

In possession of the georeferenced mapping of the EFAs and CFRs, as well as the survey of public policies, bills and key actors in the field of rural education, a advocacy plan for the definitive recognition, by the State, of these teaching institutions in Brazilian education.

From the outset, there is the perception that most rural education institutions are non-profit community, denominational or philanthropic institutions. As in the area of health, public education also has a legal provision, in various legal instruments and factual situations, which allows the public power to enter into agreements with these institutions to enable the provision of public education services. Thus, the EFAs and CFRs, even though they are not public entities, are part of the public rural education system, since the system's legislation contains this provision. However, there are numerous everyday problems that end up causing this service to be frequently interrupted, causing interruption in transfers of funds, indebtedness, lawsuits and paralysis of school activities.

So the advocacy plan will be constructed with a view to finding an institutional and practical way out of overcoming the recurrent problems of funding and management of these institutions, based on the State's involvement in the duty of guaranteeing rural education, especially from the perspective of the pedagogy of alternation or another methodology that proves adequate to the reality of a specific community context.

Project activities:

  • Elaboration of a advocacy plan, with the stakeholders mapped, based on the Theory of Change, connected with the information gathered and actions already underway to strengthen rural education;
  • Execution of advocacy plan for agricultural family schools and rural family homes;
  • Elaboration and proposal of bills to guarantee the perpetuity of the performance of rural family schools and agricultural family houses, with regularity in the allocation of public budget and improvement of management.

Axis 3: Strengthening School Management

The set of activities present in Axis 3 aims at (i) structuring school management processes and tools (ii) establishing relationship parameters with Future (iii) training local teams in the school management processes that will be implemented, (iv ) implement management laboratories in schools and (v) carry out the management of agreements signed with the public authorities.

Administrative and financial management

A management company will be created and a management tool will be developed to be used by all schools, to carry out the management of agreements with the public authorities, financial, treasury, people and school management, with the control of grades, enrollments and attendance of students.

Based on this tool, it will be possible to monitor all the management data of each school in real time and create monitoring and control indicators and panels that allow the management company and the schools to make decisions based on these indicators.

Risk management

The company must hire a law firm to work on three risk management fronts:

  • labor risk prevention: should guide which measures should be taken by schools to minimize their labor risks, regularly assess whether prevention actions are being carried out correctly and analyze whether the risk to which each school is exposed is within acceptable parameters
  • prevention of risk of non-payment of agreements: should guide which measures should be taken by schools so that they do not cause an interruption in transfers of funds from agreements by schools
  • Litigation: represent the company in case of labor lawsuits and in collection actions in case of delays or default of transfers of agreements

Relationship with Fundo Future

the endowment Future was created as a result of this articulation with the EFAs, initially for two schools in Amapá, but with the aim of expanding its activities to other schools in Brazil, bringing the strengthening of rural education while building paths for their financial sustainability.

In this context, it is proposed to implement a front aimed at defining the events that generate the need to interact with Fundo Future and how each type of interaction should be.

At first, the events that need interaction with Future are:

  1. Delays in formalizing agreements with the State, which may mean the risk of running out of funds for managing the school in the future
  2. Request for funds from Future, due to delays in the transfer of funds from agreements
  3. Request for the return of resources to Future, due to the regularization of the transfer of resources from the agreements

Courses and Training

The company must train the school management team in contents that are essential for the good management of each school. This training will be applied in the implementation of the management method in each school, when new professionals are hired for the school's management team and whenever there is the development of new relevant content, developed by the company

Regarding the format, the company must combine 3 methodologies:

  1. on-site training,
  2. distance training via videoconference
  3. technological platform with applications and multimedia tools

In terms of content, they should initially cover the following topics:

  1. Use of management tools defined by the company
  2. Follow-up of management procedures for professionals' employment contracts
  3. Monitoring compliance by the government with respect to its agreements

Management Laboratory

For the development of production chains, it is important to consider the training of individuals who will work in the chain, in grassroots organizations and thus contribute to the development of the territory.

In addition to defending education as a transversal theme throughout the development of the process, we highlight the need for community schools with the pedagogy of alternation to act in the training of young people from rural areas, within the scope of administrative and financial management, so that everyone leaves school with the understanding and skill developed to understand the functioning of organizations, mainly associations and cooperatives.

Within schools there are learning spaces that go beyond management techniques and good practices, and therefore it is necessary for students to learn about associativism, cooperativism and administrative and financial management tools. The management laboratory will require articulation with the school management, the sponsoring association and the pedagogical coordination, to create and implement the laboratory in a participatory way so that this strategy can collaborate in the training of young people, so that they can assume roles of leadership in local organizations and contribute to effective changes in the reality that surrounds them.

  1. Articulation with the school board, sponsoring association and pedagogical coordination for the inclusion of the management laboratory in the pedagogical political project
  2. Development of teaching materials for teachers and students
  3. Develop partnerships and indicators with the school and grassroots organizations in the territories to include these young people in learning internships in the organizations.

Management of agreements

The company and the schools must master the necessary knowledge to establish and manage agreements with the State to avoid delays in signing a contract or transferring funds due to operational errors, such as missed deadlines and/or lack of documents .

In addition, the company and the schools must know how to recognize when there are problems in the management of the agreement due to the exclusive fault of the State and address, as the case may be, requests for the problem to be solved to public administration bodies, the public prosecutor's office and/or the judiciary.

  1. Monitoring, execution of contracts and joint management of agreements
  2. Training for administrative and financial management
  3. Technical assistance and monitoring of accountability with the State

For schools in operation, the agreement should be established at the state level, through the development terms, as long as there are no problems with the school's accountability. In this agreement, the State bears approximately 60% of the school's costs, with resources from the Fund for the Maintenance and Development of Basic Education and the Valorization of Education Professionals (FUNDEB), regulated by Law No. 14,113, of December 25, 2020 The other 40% are normally apportioned between the students' families (20%) and projects that the school carries out to raise funds (20%).

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