Posted by: tamararommel | 22/06/2013

Where are all the teachers?

Education is considered one of the most important sectors for a nation`s development. It is through that the country improves its incomes and quality of life. The point is, that education is only possible if there are qualifed professionals to work on it.

In Brazil, the situation seems to be getting worse every year; the last census of Higher Education carried out by MEC found that the number of graduates on Pedagogy – that prepare teachers for the firt grades of prymary education – has halved in four years. In 2009, 52.000 teachers have completed these courses, compared to 103.000 in 2005. The census also recorded a drop in the numbers of graduate students in undergraduate courses that prepare teachers to teach in the last grades of elementary school and high school. In 2005 there were 77.000 and in 2009, 64.000.

This happens because, contrary to what happended four or five decades ago, when the teacher had enormous social prestige, the new generations are nor attracted by public teaching. The reasons are many: the lowering of wages, poor working conditions – especially in public schools located in poor neighbourhoods on the outskirt of large cities – and the subsequent devaluation of career, young people today are opting for courses that provide, both in oublic and private sector, carrers with higher wages and social valorisation.

To try to revert this situation, two important steps were taken. The first was the creation, in 2008, of the national minimum salary for teachers, with the aim of unifying the salary of public teachers throughout the country. This year the salary was set in R$ 1.567,00 for teachers with 40-hour journey per week. However, due the lack of budget resources, at least five states continue paying well below this value.

The second step was adopted by MEC in 2009, with the lauch of the National Plan for Teachers Formation. The iniciative aimed to qualify the 636.000 teachers of public schools who had no college degreeor had been teaching in different areas from their majors. But this experience is underway and the courses conclusion takes time, so the measure still do not take the expected effect on education.

For me, as a student of a Letters course the scenario is disturbing, what exactly is the motivation I have to follow a teaching career? Especially when we are faced with declarations like Cid Gomes gave in the last teacher`s strike: ” Teachers must work for love, nor for money.” Of course those who work with education must love what they do, but it should also be respected and have their value recognized by society.

It is necessary that the community and the government realize that the lack of qualifed teachers affects the quality of education in public schools and condemns millions of children and adolescents to a formation below the patterns required by the labor market and the scientific and technological development.

The only way to reverse this situation is by bringing more young people into the public teaching, offering an attractive initial salary and ensuring good work conditions. Without this, there is no way to make the career attractive, and without trained and motivated teachers, Brazil can not overcome this educational crisis.

Tamara Rommel – Undergraduate student in English course at Universidade Estadual de Londrina



  1. I do agree with the points raised in your text Tamara. No doubt everyone wants to be paid an honest wage, that is out of question. However, I tend to think that providing good working conditions and lowering the maximum weekly working hours are the two most important steps to be taken rather than just paying great amounts of money to teachers. Furthermore, the way I see it, the crisis in public education goes far beyond the teacher, the chaos is due to the lack of education children get at home, to the lack investment in important areas of education and, especially in the language teaching field, the number of Sts in class. Well, all of this is unfortunately just the beginning.

  2. I really enjoyed reading your text Tamara. I think you’ve raised a very important dicussion about what is needed to improve teacher’s conditions in our country and also, the reflection of it in the whole society because, once we have good conditions to improve education we can expect a better place to live. I agree with Vinny about the complexity of the topic and the role of the parents, but we can’t forget that most of this parents haven’t had such good education neither.

  3. I really liked your theme, Tamara! It’s so hard to talk about that, but you did it very well! It’s so hard for the teacher to show competence in such working condition…I hope it changes someday!

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