Municipal school year begins with a demand for 6,300 places in Early Childhood Education

Municipal school year begins with a demand for 6,300 places in Early Childhood Education

The beginning of the school year for Kindergarten students in Porto Alegre, this Wednesday, is a warning of a challenge for the network: access for children aged 0 to 3 years to these spaces. Although 28,100 students aged up to 5 years and 11 months are enrolled, the Municipal Department of Education (Smed) has a demand of 6,300 students aged 0 to 3 years.

Currently, the Capital has 42 Municipal Schools of Early Childhood Education (EMEIs) of its own, in addition to 217 partner establishments. Last year, Porto Alegre City Hall invested 28.82% of the budget in education, with 25% being the minimum resource. “(With an investment of R$274 million) we surpassed this milestone and this represents R$171 million more in investments”, explains Smed’s secretary, Sônia Rosa. Of this amount, R$ 100 million more were allocated to new vacancies in partner schools.

With the resource, 3,083 new vacancies were opened in the last two years. “In 2022, we received two thousand more children in the enrollment. Probably, after the pandemic, families lost their capital and sought out public schools”, adds Sônia. To meet the demand of students, four priority measures were taken. The first continues the agreement with the Public Defender’s Office. From the beginning of 2022 to date, 600 vacancies have been registered through the Ministry of Education (MEC), in partnership with the Municipal Attorney General’s Office (PGM).

The second measure, however, refers to the purchase of places for early childhood education in private schools. Law No. 12,952/22, sanctioned by Mayor Sebastião Melo, authorizes the acquisition of vacancies in Early Childhood Education – Daycare Stage at private for-profit institutions for children in socioeconomically vulnerable situations. Vacancies are intended for those who cannot get service in the municipal network or in community institutions already in agreement with the public administration of the Capital.

With the same objective, to expand the offer of the service for children between 0 and 3 years and 11 months of age, the city hall should complete five new daycare centers by 2024. These units add up to over 1,700 places in the Capital Education system and will operate in the Rubem Berta, Jardim Leopoldina, Mário Quintana, Lageado and Hípica neighborhoods.

In addition, there is a study on a partnership with the state government to use state school structures to increase the municipal network. “Secretary Raquel Teixeira was flexible for us to think about public spaces in territories, to think that, at least, preschools work in these spaces and also free up vacancies for day care centers”, says Rosa.

Still in the electoral campaign, the current state government expressed interest in creating a program to support Early Childhood Education. “This is a constitutional task of the municipalities, not of the State, but we also want to support it. The initiative is important for another reason, which is the question of working mothers. We need to support women so that they can return to the labor market”, explains the vice-governor Gabriel Souza.

Prefecture hired 535 teachers on an emergency basis for the return of classes

The back-to-school period highlights the lack of teachers in both the municipal and state schools. In January, the city hall forwarded the appointment of 535 teachers from different areas of knowledge, from Early Childhood Education to Elementary Education.

The hiring of professionals – temporarily appointed via an emergency contract – is intended to resolve the lack of educators in municipal schools. A public tender to meet the demand should be held in the first half of this year. The number of vacancies has not been defined.

All education professionals in the municipal network are participating in training and qualification events in the period leading up to the start of the school year. In Early Childhood Education, the pedagogical journey began on February 1 for teachers.

“They are in the schools doing training and organizing spaces to welcome and receive the children. The idea is to welcome the teachers and motivate them for a prosperous year”, wishes Sônia.

For Elementary School teachers, qualification will take place on the 14th, as classes return on the 22nd. For this year, 35,600 students are confirmed. In total, including 5 thousand students of Teaching for Young Adults (EJA), Porto Alegre has 69.1 thousand enrollments in the municipal education network.

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