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Table 38 – Primary education – 5th-8th grades - number of teachers by qualification and location – Brazil and regions – 1998

Brazil and

Regions

Teachers by qualification and location

Location

Total

Incomplete or complete primary education

Complete secondary education

 

Complete higher education

N.

(%)

N.

(%)

N.

(%)

N.

(%)

Brazil Total

 

661,508

100.0

6,625

1.0

153,258

23.2

501,625

75.8

  Rural

 

53,430

100.0

1,594

3.0

27,477

51.4

24,359

45.6

North Total

 

39,105

100.0

862

2.2

20,681

52.9

17,562

44.9

  Rural

 

5,473

100.0

395

7.2

3,998

73.0

1,080

19.7

North-east Total

 

156,087

100.0

3,410

2.2

69,751

44.7

82,926

53.1

  Rural

 

17,659

100.0

725

4.1

12,652

71.6

4,282

24.2

South-east Total

 

295,155

100.0

977

0.3

29,159

9.9

265,019

89.8

  Rural

 

11,727

100.0

54

0.5

4,434

37.8

7,239

61.7

South Total

 

117,312

100.0

811

0.7

15,725

13.4

100,776

85.9

  Rural

 

14,522

100.0

245

1.7

4,109

28.3

10,168

70.0

Mid-West Total

 

53,849

100.0

565

1.0

17,942

33.3

35,342

65.6

  Rural

 

4,049

100.0

175

4.3

2,284

56.4

1,590

39.3

Source: MEC/INEP/SEEC

Obs.: 1) The same teacher may be active in more than one educational level/modality and in more than one establishment.

2) The same primary education teacher may be active in the 1st-4th and 5th-8th grades.

A comparison of Tables 37 and 38 shows immediately that upper-grade teachers are more qualified than their lower-grade colleagues. This is due to the very structure of the educational system, which demands a different level of qualification for teachers in the first grades, as mentioned above.

The two Tables show clearly that for both the lower and upper grades, teacher qualification is far inferior in the North and Northeast, which is in keeping with all the other indicators and underlines the importance of bearing in mind regional questions when formulating educational policies, as is being done.

As far as the lower grades are concerned, the biggest and most urgent problem is the 11.9% contingent of teachers - a total of 94,976 - lacking minimum qualifications to teach in secondary schools. In this case too, the percentage of teachers who lack the minimum training is concentrated in the North and Northeast, amounting to 28.1% and 20.8% of the teaching staff. Although this number is high, offering and demanding minimum training for all teachers is a feasible task in the short run, and one that can be fulfilled by joint efforts of the Federal Administration, states and municipalities. As a matter of fact, the number of teachers without minimum qualifications has already substantially decreased over the last few years.

It is likewise encouraging to note the growth in the percentage of teachers who are college graduates, now reaching 21.6%, indicating a tendency for qualifications to go beyond the required minimum. In the South and Southeast this percentage already reaches 35.6% and 33.6%, respectively, of the total number of teachers in the lower (1st-4th) grades of primary education.

The most serious problem lies ahead. The new National Education Guidelines and Framework Law (LDB) - Law n. 9,394, dated 20 December 1996 - establishes that by the year 2007 all lower-grade teachers must be college graduates. In relation to the current statistics, this will entail retraining 78.4% of the teachers of the four first grades of primary education, a figure that goes as high as 97% in the North and 91.6% in the Northeast. This target has been included in the National Education Plan being reviewed in the National Congress.

In the case of the upper grades, the situation changes. Since higher education has always been a legal requirement, the percentage of teachers with this qualification is much higher: 75.8%. Once again, however, it is the situation in the North and Northeast regions that is particularly serious, the percentage of teachers with only secondary education being 52.9% and 44.7%, respectively. In this case the present legal requirement coincides with what the LDB has determined, and it is indispensable that teachers be trained to meet the 2007 target. This means qualifying while in service or else replacing a contingent of 159,983 teachers. The target is quite feasible for the two most developed regions in the country, but will call for greater efforts in the remaining regions.

For primary education as a whole, it may be concluded that Brazil still lacks a sufficient number of teachers with higher education to fill the functions occupied today by teaching professionals without this level of training. Furthermore, even if the qualified human resources were available to join the teaching profession, the regulations on careers currently in effect guarantee those who make up today's teaching body the right to tenure and permanence. It is therefore necessary to define a specific policy for teacher training that permits on-the-job training, which makes it indispensable for universities and the educational systems to collaborate. Even so, full compliance with the new profile of teaching qualifications as laid down by the LDB will hardly be met within the period stipulated.

Nonetheless, this effort is part of a more general policy to enhance the value of the teaching profession, which necessarily involves better pay and recovering the social prestige of teaching as a career. These are indispensable conditions to make the career as attractive as it used to be to those leaving university.

Public sector versus private sector

With the implementation of FUNDEF, instituted by Constitutional Amendment n. 14, state and municipal education networks began to make use of a mechanism to develop a policy to progressively raise teachers' pay levels.

The new system for financing primary education, regulated by Law n. 9.424 dated 24 December 1996, determines that for a period of ten years states and municipalities are to allocate at least 15% of their revenue, including that derived from inter-governmental transfers, to maintaining and developing this level of education "in order to ensure that it be universally fulfilled and that teachers be granted a dignified salary." Constitution Amendment n. 14 further stipulates that a proportion of no less than 60% of the resources redistributed by FUNDEF be addressed to paying the wages of primary school teachers actually practicing the profession.

Data from the Teachers' Census allow for the first time a more objective and broader evaluation of the wage level. They also allow for a comparison between wages in the public sector and those in the private sector, the latter always having been considered to be better paid.

The Table below provides the average value of wages in Reais at the exchange rate of 1997, when US$ 1 averaged R$ 1.20. Table 38 presents the data referring to the first grades of primary school.

Table 39 – Primary education – 1st-4th grades - average wages for teachers (in R$) by type of institution – Brazil and regions – 1997

Brazil and Regions

Average wages for teachers (R$) by type of institution

Total

Federal

State

Municipal

Private

Brazil

425.60

1,257.32

517.84

303.51

587.74

North

360.77

1,308.34

462.67

226.53

499.54

Northeast

231.17

771.23

343.58

163.88

287.45

Southeast

613.97

1,380.75

618.34

537.27

774.61

South

460.12

962.80

512.94

397.98

678.57

Mid-West

447.55

1,135.90

550.97

300.85

541.11

Source: Ministry of Education/INEP/SEEC

Obs.: The same teacher may be active in more than one educational level/program and in more than one school.

One important revelation of the Teachers' Census is that the difference in pay between the teachers who work in the state public network and those who work in the private network is far less than was imagined. This finding is surprising, since the survey was carried out in October and November 1997, thus failing to sense the impact of FUNDEF, which only came into effect as of January 1, 1998. In view of this, it is to be expected that the result of this policy - marked by a significant wage rise in the public sector - has narrowed the gap between public and private schools even more.

As a matter of fact, a new survey based on the wages scale practiced in August 1998 and therefore already reflecting the impact of the reform, showed that on the national average, taking into account all qualification levels and all work timetables, the salaries of public teachers rose 12.9% in comparison with the year before. The average wage gains were greater for teachers in the municipal education network (18.4%). But it was in the Northeast region that the biggest wage difference was registered in the municipal networks, namely, 49.2%.

Despite this improvement, however, wage variations per administrative area are still very pronounced within the public sector, a characteristic that is aggravated by deep regional disparities. Actually, the teachers who earn the best wages are to be found in the federal public network, accounting for less than 1% of all elementary-school teachers. This difference is explained by the fact that most federal primary education schools are located in universities, in experimental schools linked to their education departments.

The lowest wage group was found in the municipal networks, with state schools occupying an intermediate position very close to the wages available in the private network. Seen in the regional context, the salaries paid to teachers repeat the same picture of inequity observed in respect to the teachers' level of qualification.

Nationwide, the 1997 Teachers' Census gives an average salary of R$ 425.60 for elementary school teachers (1st-4th grades). The teachers are likewise divided into those who earn R$ 400 or less (48.2%) and those situated above that bracket (48.6%).When we apply this information by type of institution, we reach the following result: teachers in the federal public network earn an average of R$ 1,257.32 a month, those in the private network R$ 587.74, those in the state network R$ 517.84, and those in the municipal public network R$ 303.51 (Table 39).

The variation in wage groups between primary school teachers of the 5th-8th grades, by type of institution, follows a very similar pattern - although average wages are far higher (R$ 605.41) - and reduces the difference between average wages in state (R$ 599.71) and municipal networks (R$ 502.06). Once again, the highest average wage is paid by the small federal public network (R$ 1,384.88), which is far above the average paid by the private network (R$ 765.17), as shown in Table 40.

Table 40 – Primary education – 5th-8th grades - average teachers' wages (in R$) by type of institution – Brazil and regions – 1997

Brazil and Regions

Average teachers' wages (R$) by type of institution

Total

Federal

State

Municipal

Private

Brazil

605.41

1,384.88

599.71

502.06

765.62

North

586.37

1,294.16

592.12

412.72

740.95

Northeast

372.41

1,148.47

409.51

277.73

394.04

Southeast

738.54

1,486.88

694.50

718.08

949.86

South

594.44

1,532.53

589.05

492.90

772.86

Mid-West

584.20

1,133.11

583.72

421.64

735.17

Source: MEC/INEP/SEEC

Obs.: The same teacher may be active on more than one educational level/program and in more than one school.

The fact that the average wages of 5th-8th-grade teachers are higher than those paid to teachers in the lower grades is traditionally associated with the requirement of higher education qualification in order to practice the profession at that level of teaching.

Analysis of the distribution of wage groups by region turns up glaring differences both in the 1st-4th and the 5th-8th grades of primary education. The biggest disparities of the two cycles are concentrated in the Northeast, where average wages are well below the national average, a position that is repeated in all types of institutions. This scenario contrasts sharply with the wage profile of teachers in the Southeast and South regions, where the average remuneration is higher than the national average in the various educational networks. The Mid-West presents a situation similar to that of the North, just a little under the national average.

It should be pointed out, however, that the averages for the Mid-West region are skewed upwards by the inclusion of the Federal District, which pays the best wages in Brazil, far higher than the states, as the system there is heavily subsidized by the Union.

This picture obviously implies that the wages paid to teachers by the educational networks are conditioned by the level of economic development and living standards in the different regions in the country. On the other hand, the disparities observed are also directly linked to the teacher's qualification, which we have seen to vary from one region to another. In order to correct this imbalance, a more equitable distribution of resources must be ensured, which is already being done through FUNDEF.

3.3 Expenditure on Primary Education

Estimated costs of primary education rely on surveys, since the system of educational statistics is not equipped to provide this data in a systematic fashion. The last detailed studies date from 1996 and 1997. The results are presented in tables 41 and 42 and only cover public costs.

Table 41 – Public expenditure on education by program and level of government and source of funds – Brazil – 1996 (%)

Program (Specifications)

Level of Government

All levels of Government

Federal

State

Municipal

Administration

20.06

17.71

3.65

14.71

Early Childhood Education (0 to 6 years of age)

0.15

0.36

15.89

4.48

Primary Education

22.63

40.43

66.76

41.52

Secondary Education

4.15

8.52

0.63

4.92

Higher Education

32.67

20.75

0.01

19.18

Physical Education and Sports

0.42

1.05

3.52

1.50

Students Aid

0.18

1.63

1.09

1.00

Special Education

0.29

0.56

1.19

0.64

Retirement and Pensions

19.45

8.98

7.26

12.05

Total

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

Source: NESUR/FECAMP

Table 42 – Public expenditure on education by program and level of government and service provider – Brazil – 1996 (%)

Program Specifications

Level of Government

All levels of Government

Federal

State

Municipal

Administration

16.36

18.69

7.10

14.71

Early Childhood Education (0 to 6 years of age)

0.18

0.30

14.67

4.48

Primary Education

8.81

44.54

65.17

41.52

Secondary Education

5.52

7.38

0.58

4.92

Higher Education

42.32

18.61

0.02

19.18

Physical Education and Sports

0.31

0.96

3.37

1.50

Students Aid

0.24

1.24

1.28

1.00

Special Education

0.37

0.50

1.10

0.64

Retirement and Pensions

25.89

7.78

6.69

12.05

Total

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

Source: NESUR/FECAMP

As can be seen, the relation between percentages of enrollment and spending is very unfavorable to primary education. Bearing in mind that the cost of educating small children tends to be higher than that of primary education - not just in Brazil but in almost any country - the distortion in Brazil's case is mainly due to the cost of higher education. Since 1998, FUNDEF must already have contributed to lessen the imbalance between early childhood, primary and secondary education.

In the case of higher education, the government does not contemplate a reduction of costs, seeing that the percentage of the 20-24 age group pursuing this level of education is very low, both by the standards of developed countries and within the context of Latin-American countries. The gross enrollment rate hit the mark of 15.8% in 1998, about 50% of the students enrolled in higher education being over 24 years of age. The net rate is therefore only 7.6%. The official policy has been geared towards expanding enrollment by maintaining the percentage costs, especially through evening courses that cater to young people with day jobs. Given this orientation, the relation should already have changed, between 1995 and 1998, in the direction of a more balanced system.

Tables 43 and 44 present the data for 1995 in terms of percentage of the GNP by level of education and other costs.

Table 43 – Public expenditure on education by program and level of government and by source of funds – Brazil – 1995

(percentage of the GNP: R$ 801,281,661,021*)

Program Specifications

Level of Government

All levels of Government

Federal

State

Municipal

Administration

0.23

0.27

0.26

0.77

Early Childhood Education (0 to 6 years of age)

0.01

0.01

0.20

0.22

Primary Education

0.38

0.91

0.18

1.48

Secondary Education

0.07

0.17

0.12

0.38

Higher Education

0.63

0.33

0.02

0.98

Physical Education and Sports

0.01

0.01

0.12

0.14

Students Aid

0.00

0.03

0.15

0.18

Special Education

0.00

0.01

0.04

0.05

Retirement and Pensions

0.22

0.12

0.14

0.50

Total

1.56

1.88

1.25

4.69

Source: NESUR/FECAMP

(*) Values in R$ of 1997

Table 44 – Public expenditure on education by programs and level of government and service provider – Brazil – 1995

(percentage of the GNP: R$ 801,281,661,021*)

Program Specifications

Level of Government

All levels of Government

Federal

State

Municipal

Administration

0.05

0.40

0.31

0.77

Early Childhood Education (0 to 6 years of age)

0.01

0.01

0.20

0.22

Primary Education

0.13

1.13

0.22

1.48

Secondary Education

0.07

0.17

0.12

0.38

Higher Education

0.62

0.34

0.02

0.98

Physical Education and Sports

0.00

0.02

0.13

0.14

Students Aid

0.00

0.03

0.15

0.18

Special Education

0.00

0.01

0.04

0.05

Retirement and Pensions

0.22

0.12

0.14

0.50

Total

1.12

2.22

1.35

4.69

Source: NESUR/FECAMP

(*) Values in R$ of 1997


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