In Espírito Santo, reports
of transforming experiences
Espírito Santo was the most fertile state for the growth of the project for Education in Human Values. The first experiment occurred in the public education system in various towns in the State. With little delay, EVH and its properties advanced, won new spaces, gained supporters. With the help of Judge Sérgio Bizzotto Pessoa de Mendonça, President of the State Justice Tribunal, three training sessions were carried out on August 22 and 29, and September 5, 2014, for staff and magistrates. In each session, the course lasted eight hours, and was conducted by professor Gonçalo Medeiros, graduate in Philosophy at the Rio de Janeiro State University (Uerj), founder and director of the Institute of Education in Human Values.
But this was not the first time they heard about EHV. On May 18, 2012, Gonçalo had already given the lecture at the TJ-ES. On that occasion, the event was organized by judge Catharina Maria Novaes Barcellos, supervisor of Infancy and Youth at the Tribunal, where staff are involved daily with children and adolescents, victims of mistreatment. For this very reason, they run the risk inherent in becoming accustomed to reports of violence. The focus of the action, in this case, as the professor explained, was also to promote the humanization of Justice. “We cannot become anesthetized over time. Every day we have to remind ourselves of our ideals, our will and capacity for helping the needy”, emphasized the Tribunal President at the time, Judge Pedro Valls Feu Rosa.
From September 4 to 6 it was the turn of the Espírito Santo State Public Prosecutor to host the Course in Education in Human Values. Besides presenting the methodology of teaching and training those involved in promoting humanization of relations, the aim was to make people conscious of the internal antagonisms that prejudice the identification, control and resolution of conflicts, i.e. to help staff and magistrates to perceive human values – to help them see beyond what is determined by the cold letter of the law or what already exists in established jurisprudence. As in the case of the Tribunal, the activities developed met with great receptivity among the members of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The course held in September 2013, lasting three days, and was a natural follow-up to Gonçalo Medeiros’ first visit to the MP- ES in 2011, when he took part as lecturer of the 3rd State Encounter of Community Development – “Sharing is the Evolution of Citizenship', held in Vitória, state capital. He was also there on February 1, 2013, for a lecture which was part of the program for the Center for Studies and Functional Improvement (Centro de Estudos e Aperfeiçoamento Funcional), the objective of which was to motivate, integrate and contribute towards the development of a culture of human values in work relations.
All these actions resulted in a major novelty, announced in August 2014. On the 13th of the month, the State Government, through the Secretary of State for Education (Sedu), and the company Migliori Consultoria Ltda, signed a Term of Technical Cooperation for the implementation of the project "Education in Values, Human Development and a Culture of Peace" in all state public schools. In the words of the attorney general Eder Pontes da Silva “I appreciate the confidence of the partners in the Public Prosecutor’s office. The project arrived victorious, transforming, and will expand much more. The institutions must be united, but we need to remember that education is not only the job of the government. The family must also be present”.
He praised the results obtained by the program in its first project, in the municipality of Serra, saying “The Public Prosecutor’s Office has provided a venue for the transforming project. The results are evident and easy to measure. We just have to thank, first of all professor Gonçalo, for once again strengthening this link with this wonderful project, and secondly Dr Fabíula, for leading the process here in the institution. Without doubt, it is the gateway to the solution of immense social problems we are experiencing – the crisis in education. The program projects the idea of redeeming values we have stopped cultivating, such as justice, truth, ethics, love and solidarity”.
Quoted by the Attorney General, Fabíula de Paula Secchin, prosecutor and director of Cape (Center for Operational support for Implementation of Educational Policies), enthusiastically highlighted the importance of promoting EHV. “The state and the municipalities invest heavily in the technical training of teachers. This project has the potential to go beyond this. It seeks awareness of the real values that should move the human being. It is not enough to seek professional qualification... what is needed is to invest in indispensable lessons for the effective formation of the citizen, aimed at the practice of good."
Currently, 30 municipal schools in Greater Vitória take part in the program. With the signing of the Term of Cooperation, Sedu will make available new units of the state network to function as pilots for the project. “The school can’t manage alone. It needs external help to make this work possible”, explained Klinger Marcos Barbosa Alves, Secretary of State for Education. Action will be developed through integration of the EHV values with school curricula and political-pedagogical projects, with the promotion of transforming practices from experience and techniques that enable the formation of character – from values such as truth, correct action, peace, love and non-violence. These are the five key-words of EHV.
Many other activities have already taken place in Espírito Santo. On November 22, 2011, for example, the first Seminar of Education in Human Values was held in the municipality of Serra, organized by the Town Hall and ArcelorMittal, with the seal and participation of Unesco, the arm of the United Nations for education, science and culture. Besides the mayor and the Serra Secretary of Education, the State Governor, Renato Casagrande, and Paolo Fontani, Coordinator of Education for Unesco, were present. That same year, in the same town, in the months of March and April, activities took place in municipal schools, involving 1,210 civil servants (the majority teachers) and 12,503 students. In September 2012, Gonçalo took part in the training of socio-educational agents, technicians, sub-managers and coordinators of IASES (Instituto de Atendimento Sócio-Educativo do ES), also in Serra. On March 1st, 2013, he was one of the lecturers at the State Education Encounter, held in the state capital, by MEC and the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Wherever it goes, EHV leaves its marks – and surprises. In August 2009, application of the program started, still in pilot format, in three schools in Serra: in the Escola de Ensino Fundamental (EMEF) Julite Miranda Freitas, in Nova Almeida; in the Jacaraípe EMEF, in the same borough; and in the Centro Municipal de Educação Infantil (CMEI) Professora Maria José do Nascimento, in São Domingos. Around 1,700 children had their first contact with the new philosophy of learning, without any alteration to the basic content of the curricula. The cultivation of good had started, and the first harvest was not long in appearing. “Before, the children ran around a lot during break. They bumped into each other and didn’t apologize. There was confusion at meal times, with lots of pushing and shoving. Anything could cause a fight, children hitting each other. But since we implemented the use of books, music and meditation, everything got better”, reports director Deoclécia Puffal, of the Jacaraípe EMEF, where there was a reduction of 90% in the number of cases of warnings for bad behavior.
At the same place, teacher Marayzes Nascimento reveals that immediately the change in the behavior of students caused an improvement in the results of the whole class of 3rd grade in grade school (ensino fundamental). "This is clear. They would arrive agitated, running and fighting. As of the start of this work of transmission of human values, they started to concentrate more. There was a definite jump in performance. In just three months of activities it was possible to see these advances. They are also much more friendly and caring. The truth is they are closer to us”. The hope of parents and educators is that, once expanded to the whole network, the project will alter the social structure not only in Serra, the neighboring town to the capital of the state. Part of the so-called Greater Vitória, the town has a population of around 460,000, and has some of the highest rates of violence in Espírito Santo. "With the teacher we learned only good things. This is better than learning things we shouldn’t. Before the introduction of these novelties, even the games we played were linked to violence. Now we have a new school”, revealed one of the pupils, when questioned on the impact of the project.
And so EHV made large steps among the Capixabas. Besides the capital Vitória and Serra, Other towns were included such as Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, Linhares, Montanha and Rio Bananal. With the expansion of the project to the whole network of state schools, EHV will give results in all corners of the State. The following chapters show how the project is taking root all over the country. Soon new challenges and novelties will appear on the horizon. There are no frontiers or barriers to the propagation of Human Values. There is much of Brazil still to cover.