question of quality improvement is the major priority of the public policy agenda
in the field of education.
To meet the demand defined by the New Law of Guidelines and Bases of
National Education (LDB) -- Law no. 9,394, dated December 24,1996 -- in 1997,
the Ministry of Education coordinated elaboration of the new National Education
Plan (PNE), projecting a series of goals to be attained over the next ten years.
The first stage of this debate was a wide-ranging process of consultation with all
segments of the education sector. The National Education Plan had its first
public hearing in Congress November 26, 1998. It is expected that the hearing
will be concluded in 1999. Moreover, on defining a deadline of one year for
formulation of the PNE, the LDB simultaneously instituted the Decade of Education, scheduled for the period from 1998 to 2007.
Brazil is now immersed in a profound process of debate on education policies
and reforms that has mobilized not only the different levels of government authority, but also various segments of society, all with the fundamental aim of fostering
a quality leap in Brazilian education. The conditions are highly favorable since a
broad consensus has already been reached on the strategic importance of education as a fundamental requirement for the full exercise of citizenship and as the
underlying capital for the nation's economic and social development.
This demand also extends to the private education sector, as the clientele exerts
pressure to obtain educational quality compatible with the value of monthly payments.
Taking the three spheres of government as a whole, 1995 public investments in
Brazilian education came to 4.6 percent of gross domestic product.
Among the measures taken with this in mind, special mention should be made of
decentralization of the National School Lunch Program, initiation of funding transfers
directly to public schools, and creation of the Fund for the Maintenance and Development
of Primary Education and Teacher Improvement, instituted by Constitutional Amendment
no. 14, dated September 12, 1996, and regulated by Federal Law no. 9,424, dated December 26, 1996.
The author has been Minister of Education and Sports since January 1, 1995.
The concept of basic education used in Brazil encompasses three levels of education: preschool, primary, and secondary.
Constitutional Amendment no. 14, promulgated on September 12, 1997.
Federal Law no. 9,424, dated December 26, 1996, regulated this fund and granted
states the right to anticipate implementation provided authorizing legislation was approved
at the state level. The northern state of Pará took the initiative and implemented the fund on July 1, 1996. Its work since that time has served as a reference for the other states.
These principal resources include the following funds and taxes: State Revenue
Sharing Fund (FPE), Municipal Revenue Sharing Fund (FPM), state quota of the Industrialized Products Tax (IPI) and Tax on the Circulation of Merchandise and Services
(ICMS), and also include transfers from the federal government to the states, Federal
District and municipalities effected in the form of financial compensation for revenue
losses consequent upon the removal of taxation from export operations (Complementary
Law no. 87, dated December 13, 1996).