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Public Policies in Brazilian Education

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BASTOS, Manoel de Jesus [1]

BASTOS, Manoel de Jesus. Public Policies in Brazilian Education. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Edition 05. Year 02, Vol. 01. pp 253-263, July 2017. ISSN:2448-0959. Access link:


The purpose of this article is to address the main milestones of the institutionalization process of public educational policies in Brazil in recent years. These policies have been developing actions with the aim of providing improvements for the common good of society, but which lack reservations, as there is an urgent need to reflect on their progress in the educational system. It is necessary to develop public policies, whose actions annihilate the social inequalities that reign in society, torment democracy and hinder social development. Society waits for the implementation of policies that meet its real needs and that allow progress towards the realization of true citizenship.

Keywords: Public Policies, Society, Educational, Citizenship.


The main goal of this text is to research the origin and progress of public educational policies in Brazil, their effects and inefficiencies over the years. Considering education a right of the individual and a duty of the State, it must be at the core of public policies, guaranteeing, in a way, social quality and consolidating the constitutional guarantee: “Education, a right of all and a duty of the State and the family, will be promoted and encouraged with the collaboration of society, aiming at the full exercise of citizenship and qualification for work”. (C.F., 1988, p. 63) Therefore, the State is responsible for implementing policies that support the development of society.

As it is considered one of the most important areas for the general development of a nation, education must be considered as a priority and conceived as the main essence for cultural and social balance. However, for this to be effective, it is necessary to seek it within the public policies that have all the necessary conditions to offer it.

Public policies in Brazil emerged from the early years of the republic, when free primary education was defended for all individuals and its secularity was allowed by the Constitution, and the National Education Association – NEA was created, which favored education mandatory public fundamental. During this same period, several reforms took place that provided the establishment, structure and functioning of high school. It was at the beginning of the republic that Brazil began to open the doors to the emergence of a public educational policy, shaping the Brazilian educational system.

Despite the great educational advances that have taken place over the years, Brazil needs stronger and more effective policies, with safe strategies that signal the fight against social inequalities, with the provision of quality education and with investments that meet all the shortcomings existing in the area, in addition to a strict inspection on the applicability of the destined resources. It is unacceptable to agree that what has been done for Brazilian education has been enough, when there are still unqualified professionals, illiterate individuals, functional illiterates, accentuated deviations from functions, educational institutions without adequate structures to function, excessive number of students per class and where social exclusion presents itself quite explicitly.

The Brazilian social context presents a great need for public policies that offer knowledge to cancel the inequalities that permeate society, trample democracy, hurt the Constitution and denigrate the human personality. Countries that do not make up or do not save on education expenses are considered developed countries, with high levels of schooling and attitudes that envy other societies.


Education, as a duty of the state, family and society as a whole, should be much more democratized, with assisted accessibility and the incessant demand for its quality, both from the public authorities and society, in view of the fact that its essence depends on collective efforts. It is this quality, which, once taken into account, will promote the individual and social development of man, in addition to providing the realization of perfect citizenship.

It is assumed that a deep reflection on the actions of public policies in the educational area is carried out, discarding aspects of little relevance and improving those that can generate the necessary effects. Educational programs implemented by the government tend to be useful, as long as society does not focus on complacency, forgetting to demand its full compliance, since access and permanence to quality education is everyone’s right.

In fact, all those who believe in and recognize the right to education must demand the implementation of policies, whose aims are focused on their quality and not on numerological statistics that only serve for a fictitious sampling. The qualification of Brazilian education depends on the programs offered by the government, on the harmony between these training entities and society, which, in turn, must reflect on the results.

Public policies are actions developed by the State with the involvement of commitments and actions that enable the cultural and social development of a people. It is a set of social actions that depend not only on the government, but on the whole of society and educational institutions, with the intention of guaranteeing the rights to citizenship of all, especially those on the slopes of poverty. However, there must be a harmonious relationship between the State, the training entities and the population, in addition to the definition of some evaluation activities for the planning of these policies, for the subsequent search for new actions.

It is known that education is an area that requires special attention from the State, with policies that favor the strengthening of the citizen’s intellectual, ethical and affective skills. The objectives outlined in the actions of these policies will only become effective when an analysis is allowed for possible reorientations. It is these analyzes that, once carried out, will indicate the supposed gaps of inefficiencies, thus enabling new strategies to overcome them.

So there is an urgent need for adjustment in Brazilian public policies in all areas, especially in education, as this is the guide and responsible for the others. According to UNESCO,

Os problemas educacionais não têm origem exclusivamente na educação, mas busca-se resolvê-los apenas com reformas educacionais. O tema do abandono precoce da escola é um exemplo paradigmático desta situação, um alto percentual de fracasso escolar tem sua origem direta nas carências econômicas, sociais e culturais que sofrem determinados grupos da população. (UNESCO, 2002, p. 102)

The goals arising from educational policies must determine the implementation of actions that guide the redistribution of social benefits, aiming at reducing inequalities and socio-economic development. In this context, it is primarily up to the authorities responsible for the educational system to analyze and reflect on the investments applied and their respective results. What has been clearly perceived is that educational priorities are being replaced by other interests that are not part of the educational system.

Our country has advanced a lot with public policies in recent years, as it understands that education is the mainspring responsible for leveraging development. However, it was mentioned earlier that the specific effort of the government is not enough, it is necessary that everyone is involved in the struggle, with the same goals, with the same perspectives and with the same dreams. It is this set of efforts, especially educational ones, that will provide the consolidation of equities and human values ​​for all.

Finally, educational policies define that everyone has the right to attend school, which must offer quality education. For Comenius, “the education system must be articulated, recognizing the equal right of all men to knowledge, developed through permanent education, throughout human life”. COMENIUS (1592-1670)

The policies that govern education in Brazil need to reflect deeply on the subject, discarding the quantitative importance but emphasizing the quality that will enable the full exercise of the individual’s citizenship. First world countries show this concern and do not skimp on investments, as they are sure that investing in the educational sector is, at the same time, betting on the sociocultural development of their people and on the promising future of their country.

In Tedesco’s conception,

Democratizar a educação seria a condição necessária para a democratização social. Depois da Segunda Guerra Mundial, a expansão educativa foi considerada como uma necessidade para o crescimento econômico. Gastar em educação seria investir, tanto ao nível individual quanto social. Dessa forma, a democratização e o desenvolvimento econômico apareceram com os objetivos básicos da política educacional, e foi a partir dessa perspectiva que o funcionamento real dos sistemas educacionais existentes foi avaliado. (TEDESCO, 1995, p. 92)

It is undeniable that, in recent decades, there has been a drop in the illiteracy rate in Brazil, thanks to economic investments in the educational area, the preparation of professionals and the awareness of society itself, which gradually began to realize the immeasurable importance of the efforts applied in the education of children. Even so, the reflection on the education that Brazilian society expects is being posed as a challenge.


The federal government, through the Ministry of Education and Culture – MEC, has provided educational programs aimed at rescuing the quality of Brazilian education. These programs demonstrate the best possible intentions, but sometimes become inefficient due to the lack of interest in their fulfillment, the lack of supervision of the resources destined, their bad application, in addition to a series of factors.

The implementation of the Law of Directives and Bases of National Education – LDBEN, Law nº 9.394/96, which aims to discipline and structure the functioning of the Brazilian educational system, the creation of the Fund for the Maintenance and Development of Basic Education and Valorization of Professionals in Education – FUNDEB, Law No. 11,494/07, effective between 2007/2020, which guides the application of resources in the area, with goals for social development, the institution of the National Salary Floor for Teaching – PSNM[2], Law No. 11,738/08, which regulated the national salary of professionals in basic education, the elaboration of the National Education Plan – PNE, Law No. breath and a lot of energy to carry out one of the most arduous and complex tasks in society.

With delicately elaborated regulations, these laws aim to advance the basic educational development of Brazil, but their effects have not culminated where society wants. Their bewilderment is due to partisan politics, the absence of supervision and effective demands from the population.

The LDB, in its article 2, guarantees that education, a duty of the family and the state, aims at the full development of the student, his preparation for the exercise of citizenship and qualification for work and article 32, item I, mentions to Elementary School, with the objective of developing the ability, with full mastery of reading, writing and calculation. However, it is necessary to redo the following reflection: Are our students, when they complete elementary school, corresponding to these perspectives? And when they finish high school, are they really prepared for the full exercise of citizenship?

In relation to FUNDEB, the resources destined may even be sufficient, but its employability is that it may not be done legally and within the requirements of the Fund. Among the federal resources, the education budget is one of the largest destined to the municipalities that, many times, use it for purposes that, supposedly, are not part of the budget, providing, in a way, a deficit in the area.

The Teaching Salary Floor, created in July 2008, is a determinant, which came to include professionals who perform teaching activities, pedagogues, directors, supervisors, advisors, inspectors, that is, none of these professionals should receive below the floor. The floor became the true reference for Career, Position and Salary Plans, created by states and municipalities, with the objective of valuing professionals in education, in addition to encouraging them to improve and remain in the area. However, its regulations are not respected or considered as it should, by some states and municipalities.

The new National Education Plan – PNE, rekindled many expectations of Brazilian society, which has always desired greater investments in the sector and for believing in the consolidation of most of its goals. Its established strategies brought credibility and optimism with signaling positive changes in the near future. Based on the PNE, states and municipalities created their State Education Plans – PEE and Municipal Education Plans – PME, adjusted or conditioned to their realities.

There are many laws that have generated expectations for the Brazilian population, which still believes in better days and awaits an education that meets the real needs of individuals, transforming them into true citizens. It is these public educational policies that can make a difference, enabling the abolition of social inequalities, exclusion and racism.

However, these expectations signal the loss of strength through a Proposal for a Constitutional Amendment – ​​PEC, nº 241, which aims to create a ceiling for public spending and stop its growth for twenty years. Given this, and knowing that education and health may fail to receive one third of the mandatory funds that would inject resources for leverage in these areas, it is concluded that public educational policies show signs of weakening. Now, if the educational sector needs to increase investments for the resumption of development, how could it move forward with limited resources? How to consolidate the goals and strategies of the PNE, which aim to stimulate the initial and continuing training of teachers, offer comprehensive education in 50% of schools, increase investments in the Gross Domestic Product – GDP, by up to 10%, among others, if the PEC limit spending?


The Brazilian State is in charge of implementing energetic policies that repair supposed inefficiencies and offer possibilities for the guiding advances of true citizenship. It is believed that the financing of education, reflected in advance and previously consulted with society, would be the determining cause for achieving an education of a qualitative level. The resources provided for education, especially that of the municipalities, are essential and significant for the realization of the common benefits that society needs.

Therefore, it is considered to be the mission of the State, to develop projects that list possible goals and strategies for the execution of actions. However, what has been noticed are creations of appreciable projects that finally become fictitious or are despised along the way. Public commitment must address real social demands by offering measures that enable changes for a better and more dignified life for society.

It is well known that no country will progress if its education is not a priority. The precariousness of education brings irreversible damages in addition to contributing to the formation of a masked and accommodated society. All people need and must have access to quality education, which must be sought in public policies, based on the regulations of the laws that guarantee them.

Public policies are necessary, as they are part of everyday social life, being decisive in guiding projects that, once developed, will provide satisfactory results. On the contrary, there would be a loss of work and resources, with the consequences of being discredited and tainted with irreparable consequences.

Investing well in the educational area, through projects that are in tune with the needs of society, means saving future expenses in other areas such as health and safety. A society that has education consolidated in the constitutional precepts is prepared to contribute to the development of its homeland. (emphasis ours)

It is known that investing well in education means believing in a better future, in a more just and egalitarian society. The construction of citizenship takes place through studies that depend on the implementation of resources from public policies. However, it is necessary to democratize its construction, carrying out diagnoses, discussing the problems with society and making its strategies more flexible according to real needs.

In our country, there is still the obstacle of schooling and academic success that permeates by numerous variables, from the lack of preparation of teachers, to the inadequacies of physical spaces, poorly managed resources, deficient economic conditions, among others. Therefore, there is a need for educational policies that prioritize all these demands to combat exclusion and advance social development.

Public policies must prioritize the quality of education so that the academic results of students improve and the socioeconomic level is stabilized. It is noticeable that the funding of these policies is a decisive reason for education to reach the best qualitative level, providing the student with subsidies for the achievement of the desired objectives.


In the midst of all this socioeconomic turmoil that Brazil has been going through in recent years, policies have been observed that are used as mere palliatives in education. They are programs of a political nature that do not develop a critical spirit or reflective thinking, nor do they stimulate the cultural creation of the individual. The expansion of educational programs is clearly seen, but the expected results are cloudy.

The High School Reform, for example, can be interpreted, by many, as one of these palliative measures in the educational sector, since it presents a progressive increase in the workload, the farce of integral education and technical and professional training, having as consequences, the shrinkage of knowledge to those who have it by right, provided for by law. For the National Coordinator for the Right to Education, Daniel Cara,

Essa reforma é uma falácia, porque não resolve as questões estruturais, como a formação de professores e pontos que eram demandas dos estudantes que ocuparam as escolas, como a redução do número de alunos por classe. De nada adianta ênfase em exatas ou humanas, se o professor for mal preparado, se não houver recurso. (DANIEL CARA, 2017)

The  example of some of these programs stands out, as a presupposition, the High School with Technological Intermediation – EMITEC, in the state of Bahia, which originated in 2001, with the justification of meeting three challenging aspects of Bahian education: the territorial extension , the lack of qualified teachers and attenuation of sociocultural inequalities in the state, predicting the shrinking of the rural exodus and development to the countryside, in addition to enabling the continuity of families in their lands of origin. A priori, intentions that provide convenience to the rural population, but a posteriori, the trampling of articles 22 of the LDB and 105 of the CF[3], which provide for the full development of the individual, his preparation for the exercise of citizenship, qualification for work and further studies after completing basic education.

This modality, supposedly, fails to offer the necessary conditions for learning that allows the student to exercise citizenship, in view of the many deficiencies found, from the lack of trained teachers, the absence of pedagogical material and the interrelation with other teachers, to the oscillation of the internet, in addition to other factors. It is a course that could have as a target audience those who are behind in their curriculum, who did not have the opportunity or conditions to participate in a normal high school course.

As a result, any possibility of a qualitative public school education for Bahian/Brazilian youth is obstructed, especially for the less favored and peripheral ones who have already been suffering the neglect of society and the state.


As education is considered a social field, responsible for the positive transformation of society, it needs to be seen and considered as a fundamental right of the individual and a duty of the State, which has the responsibility to implement public policies capable of guaranteeing it with quality. The only and exclusive way that will make possible the best socioeconomic conditions of a nation is education that, once valued, will provide equal opportunities for all social classes.

However, it is necessary to think of educational policies as essential for guiding citizenship and for the formation of an egalitarian and truly active national base. The creation of “Educational Reform” is not enough, simply to meet political convictions, what is expected is for a system that can meet the real needs of the nation, attenuating social inequalities, unmasking and strengthening the critical sense of individuals.

Public policies emerged with the aim of enabling the construction of the common good of all citizens who make up society. It is therefore up to the State to reflect on the commitment that government action has with its implementations, so that they contribute to educational transformation and the realization of citizenship, by virtue of the rights provided for in the Federal Constitution.

It is noticeable that educational policies in Brazil have advanced a lot in recent decades, but it is also noticeable that their effects have not reached most of the desired goals. With that, the society is accredited to fight for a quality education that makes possible the improvement of the level of development of our country.


BRASIL, Ministério da Educação e Desporto. Lei de Diretrizes e Bases da Educação Nacional – LDBEN. Lei nº 9.394/96.

CARNOY, Martins. Mundialização e Reforma na Educação. Brasília, UNESCO, 2002.

CASASSUS, Juan. A Escola e a Desigualdade. Brasília, Plano, 2002.

Constituição da República Federativa do Brasil, Brasília. Texto promulgado em 05 de outubro de 1988.

GARCIA, Ronaldo C. Avaliação de Ações Governamentais: pontos para um começo de conversa. Brasília, IPEA/CENDEC, outubro, 1997.

MELCHIOR, José Carlos de Araújo. O financiamento da educação no Brasil, São Paulo: E.P.U., 1987.

Plano Nacional de Educação – PNE. Lei nº 13.005/2014.

TEDESCO, Juan Carlos. Sociologia da Educação. 4ª ed. Campinas, São Paulo: Autores associados, 1995.


2. Piso Salarial Nacional do Magistério.

3.  Constituição Federal – Federal Constitution.

[1] Graduated in Normal Superior at UESPI (Universidade Estadual do Piauí), Postgraduate in School Supervision at Faculdade de Teologia Hokemãh – Fateh and Master’s in Education at Anne Sullivan University.

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