Skills for Prosperity is a global initiative by the UK government implemented in nine countries (Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia) that aims to support economic growth and poverty reduction, providing young people and disadvantaged groups with access to quality education and development of skills for the world of work.
The programme seeks to respond to the global challenge of empowering people who have the potential and ambition to transform their countries, but often do not receive the necessary training to achieve their goals. Through different actions focused on disadvantaged groups, Skills for Prosperity aims to stimulate sustainable and inclusive economic growth in partner countries.
In Brazil, the programme focuses on democratising access to quality English Language Teaching (ELT) in public schools from the perspective of English as Lingua Franca (ELF), i.e., as a perspective of intercultural communication. The programme considers that students with better training in English will be better able to develop important skills for the world of work, which enhances inclusive economic growth in the country.
With the implementation of the National Common Curricular Base (Base Nacional Comum Curricular, BNCC), which makes the teaching of the English Language mandatory in all Brazilian schools beginning at the final years of Secondary Education, and which also provides the development of skills that favour the training of young people for the contemporary intercultural world, emerges an opportunity to strengthen English nationwide in a structured and effective way, promoting positive impacts on the learning of millions of students.
According to the survey “Learning English in Brazil“, carried out by the British Council, in 2013, only 5.1% of the population aged 16+ declared to have some knowledge of English. To support a change in this scenario, Skills for Prosperity will develop several actions in the country, such as the production of reference documents, teaching materials that consider regional contexts and realities and the pedagogical didactic training of teachers, as well as linguistic enhancement.
The programme aims to benefit students in the final years of Secondary Education from learning English. Direct activities will be developed with more than 2,2 million students from state public schools in five states (Amapá, Pernambuco, Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo, and Paraná), in addition to actions of national outreach, with a total duration of three years (2020 – 2023). It is estimated that more than 14,300 Brazilian educators will be trained through the programme’s initiatives.
A consortium of institutions with recognised experience in the fields of education and English is at the head of the programme in the country — Fundação Lemann, Nova Escola, Instituto Reúna, and British Council. The partnership takes place through the UK-Brazil Prosperity Programme that aims to help alleviate poverty and promote sustainable economic development and gender equality in partner countries.
Skills for Prosperity’s outputs in Brazil aim to strengthen the teaching of the English language with a transversal look at social and gender inclusion. The programme includes concrete strategies, principles, and actions in an active effort to ensure that the activities carried out promote equity, are accessible to groups at a greater disadvantage, and do not reproduce inequalities and stereotypes in the country.
Making a difference in Brazilian education
The pillars that support the actions of the UK-Brazil Prosperity Programme aimed at Teaching English Language (ELT) are:
- the creation of a favourable environment for the teaching of English by improving national policy, planning, and strategies for ELT, in line with international standards and best practises.
- the relevance of the educational materials and reference documents produced, strengthening the design and reform of the curriculum for ELT at the national level and the development of skills in five pilot states (Amapá, Pernambuco, Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo, and Paraná).
- the pedagogical quality of ELT and teaching practise in Brazilian public schools, by strengthening teacher training, continuing professional development and initial training.
- equity of access to teachers and students, with a special focus on the black community and gender issues, particularly black girls enrolled in basic education and black English teachers.
Impacts on education
- More than 2,4 million students in the final years of Secondary Education will be impacted by the UK-Brazil Skills for Prosperity programme.
- 81,035 in Mato Grosso do Sul
- 48,105 in Amapá
- 138,804 in Pernambuco
- 543,567 in Paraná
- 1,336,478 in São Paulo
- More than 14,3 thousand teachers of the state network will be trained in the programme for teaching English. There are 523 in Mato Grosso do Sul, 95 in Amapá, 1,014 in Pernambuco, 3,600 in Paraná, and 9,033 in São Paulo
Source: Censo Escolar (School Census)/INEP 2020
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