Solving a national equality crisis through effective learning
We are committed to solve the
inequality crisis by guaranteeing
every child a high quality
education. This ensures they
are effectively learning
and allows them to reach their
full potential and contribute
positively to their communities.
The problem we are facing
50 million kids in public schools - outnumbers the total population of 85 percent of the world’s countries
Half are still illiterate by third grade
Afro-Brazilian & indigenous children illiteracy rates can climb to 80 percent in the most vulnerable districts
Only 6 percent of all Brazilians graduate from high school
55 million living in poverty in Brazil - that number alone would make it the 26th biggest country in the world in terms of population
How we intend to tackle it
The World Bank has declared that eliminating learning poverty is as urgent as eliminating extreme monetary poverty, stunting, or hunger. The learning crisis undermines all efforts at sustainable, equitable growth in Brazil. Without fixing its broken education system, Brazil cannot stamp out poverty and develop equitably.
We have found a way to solve the lack of quality education by ensuring every child is effectively learning in school. First, we make sure education is one of the top priorities for school districts. This requires that we build leadership engagement among governors and mayors. Second, political leaders and our onsite team co-create evidence-based roadmaps that lead to effective change in educational public policies. Third and most important, through professional development, we make sure that every teacher and school leader has the resources and the incentives to implement these new policies that guarantee every student is learning. This is complemented by a strong culture of monitoring and assessing our results, and an exchange of best practices and lessons learned in communities of practice.
Education takes time to change. An entire generation may yet again be lost in the cycle of inequality if we don’t act boldly and with haste. And Brazil’s successes won’t benefit only Brazil. Because of its unique position as the only country in the world on both the Top 10 GDP and Inequality list, it is in a unique position to serve as a laboratory for the rest of the developing world. Brazil shares some of the same education problems as the world’s most impoverished countries yet is also an OECD partner state. Its membership in both worlds gives it access to resources, institutions and expertise as well as firsthand experience of the learning crisis and inequities it is working feverishly to solve.
Through a multi-year partnership with school districts called Fair Future For All, we are ensuring every teacher and school leader has the resources and incentives they need so students are learning the right things at the right time. Together, we align efforts between schools and departments of education—reducing gaps in communication, supporting educators in their professional development, and improving both management practices and teaching processes. So far, 1 million students across 48 school districts have been impacted by our learning-driven, school-based management program.
The program is based on a model that began in Sobral, one of Brazil’s poorest cities, Sobral, an otherwise unremarkable town of 200,000 in the arid hinterland of northeast Brazil, remarkably managed to transform itself into the country’s top-ranked district. In just five years, the literacy rates in the poor-performing area rose from 52 percent to 92 percent and overall test scores surpassed those of their counterparts in the richest suburbs of São Paulo and Rio. The impact reverberated outside of just literacy rates. In just five years, Sobral saw the number of families living in extreme poverty declined by 89 percent. And those uplifts were not just experienced by the most marginalized communities. Improvements were seen across all races and socioeconomic levels.
Lemann is committed to changing the policies and structure of education systems in order to ensure Fair Future’s success in the long term. Capacity and knowledge are transferred to those on the front lines and those in career positions in the education system. The redesign of teacher training and assessment, a core pillar of Fair Future, is a good example. The Lemann Foundation initially helped build and finance the function, which the Department of Education then completely took over administering the trainings after it was established they had the capacity to do so over the long haul.
Who is committed to this change
CEO of Lemann Foundation
Currently the CEO of Lemann Foundation, Denis began his social impact career as the founder and executive director of Sou da Paz campaign, during which time he was instrumental in the drafting and approval of the Disarmament Statute, a globally recognized legislative act regulating guns. Since transitioning to Lemann Foundation in 2011, Denis has overseen such projects as Programa Educação Conectada, bringing reliable internet to 6 million students from 23,000 schools and leading the Brazil National Learning Standards movement, which guide curricula for public schools outlining the skills and competencies every student is entitled to learn irrespective of their social status.
CEO of Instituto Natura
After completing a master’s degree in executive management, David took over as CEO of Instituto Natura in 2015. During his time as CEO, he led several initiatives to empower literacy through educational programs, including online platforms for educators. Under his leadership IN became active in 1,600 districts, covering 25 out of 26 Brazilians states, and supporting a remarkable 34,600 teachers and 1,200,000 students. He is a main supporter of the Conviva Educação platform, which has been implemented in 4,700 city secretariats to support administrative and pedagogical issues among key stakeholders.
Clodoveu Arruda (Veveu)
CEO of Associação Bem Comum
Before taking the lead at ABC, Veveu served as Minister of Culture in his home city of Sobral, and later was elected mayor, serving between 2011 and 2016. At the time Veveu took over as mayor, Sobral was considered one of Brazil’s poorest cities. His policies were effective, reducing by 89% families living in extreme poverty. He also managed to raise Sobral from 55th to 1st in the Brazilian Education Quality Index (IDEB, in Portuguese), increase literacy from 49% to 93% in just 6 years. His team was later responsible for scaling this success story to the entire state of Ceara.