Report Achieving World-Class Education in Adverse Socioeconomic Conditions: The Case of Sobral in Brazil
This report presents the case of the municipality of Sobral in the state of Ceara, Brazil. This municipality overcame adverse socioeconomic conditions and now has the best primary andlower secondary education system in Brazil.
Sobral is home to 200,000 inhabitants and in 2005 was ranked 1,366 in the national index that measures quality of education in Brazil. Twelve years later, it was ranked first among the 5,570 municipalities in both primary and lower secondary education rankings.
Public education in Sobral has one goal: every student must complete lower secondary education at the right age and with appropriate learning. The municipality placed education at the top of the political agenda and kept it out of politics. Its prioritized learning by establishing a clear intermediate target, ensuring all students are literate by the end of the second grade.
It organized the education policy under four pillars: effective use of student assessment; focused curriculum with a clear learning sequence and prioritization of foundational skills; prepared and motivated teachers; and autonomous and accountable school management with school principals appointed through a meritocratic and technical selection process.
The main aspects of the reforms are presented and discussed in this report.
This report presents the case of the state of Ceara in Brazil that overcame adverse socioeconomic conditions to substantially improve education outcomes with efficient use of resources.
Despite having the 5th lowest GDP per capita among the 26 Brazilian states, the 9-million-inhabitant state of Ceara has experienced the largest increase in the national education quality index in both primary and lower secondary education since 2005, with 10 municipalities of Ceara being among the top 20 national ranking, including Sobral which has the highest score.
The state of Ceara pioneered the use of results-based financing as part of a comprehensive education reform program that among other elements included strong support to its municipalities to achieve universal literacy by the end of grade 2.
The reforms allowed the state to considerably improve learning levels of students in primary and lower secondary education with a high level of efficiency in the use of resources. The main aspects of the reforms are presented and discussed.