Investing in Education

During a Decade of Activities, the Votorantim Partnership for Education (PVE) Program Reaches the Milestone of 104 Municipalities with Consistent Quality Gains

From 2017 to 2018, the Votorantim Partnership for Education (PVE) more than doubled in size and made important advances. Of the 95 municipalities that were internally assessed, 93 made progress in the skills considered essential and 68 (72%) reached the goals set for the year. In addition, according to an impact assessment by an external consultant of the results of the 2017 Basic Education Development Index (Ideb), between 2013 and 2017 the PVE helped accelerate the improvement of the public education system among the participating municipalities by 35%, for elementary schools, and by 52% for middle schools.

The increase in the number of municipalities was the result of an effort initiated three years earlier, when Votorantim chose education as one of the celebratory milestones of its 100th anniversary and set the challenging goal of reaching 100 municipalities by the year of its anniversary. In 2016, the PVE was carried out in 17 municipalities; in 2017, in 51. This expansion and the results achieved by the program were only possible due to the significant involvement of the Votorantim companies and their leaders, who believe that contributing to education is an important investment for the development of the municipalities where the companies operate and, consequently, is very beneficial to the productivity of the companies themselves.

Recognized as a social technology by the Banco do Brasil Foundation, the PVE is present in 17 states in all regions of Brazil. In 2018, 104 municipalities—66% of them predominantly urban—were part of the program. They include 81 small towns (up to 50,000 residents), nine medium-sized cities (between 51,000 and 100,000 residents) and 14 cities with more than 100,000 residents. Among the Votorantim companies, Votorantim Cimentos, Fibria and Votorantim Energia sponsor the largest number of projects, in 25, 23 and 24 municipalities, respectively. But all other Votorantim companies—Nexa Resources, Citrosuco, Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio (CBA), Reservas Votorantim and Banco Votorantim—in addition to VSA itself, participate in the initiative.

The PVE is aligned with the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG): Quality Education—“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Based on the motto “Being present makes a difference”, the program worked in 1,130 schools in 2018, mobilizing more than 162,000 people in the community and impacting 360,000 students, parents, teachers, managers and other members of the school community .

To facilitate skills development, its methodology includes the annual definition of a cross-sectional theme, which runs through all training cycles and generates significant positive impact in the short term. In 2018, the theme was “Management focused on monitoring the learning process”, based on the belief that the learning process and its monitoring must be a priority for the entire educational and school management team. In addition, this theme is very much in line with the current stage of implementation of the National Common Core Curriculum (BNCC, for its initials in Portuguese), a public policy that determines the essential knowledge and skills that students should have the right to learn each year throughout their school life.

Anna Christina Nascimento, Human Capital coordinator at the Votorantim Institute, points out that “it is important to ensure that the students are actually learning, which is sometimes not so easy in the school environment.” To this end, the Institute has developed management tools and indicators that assist the analysis and diagnosis of the school’s current state, to inform the development of action plans that can be carefully monitored. “This is a challenging topic, because routine monitoring of the learning process is not part of the school culture, but each year we are improving the tools to observe students’ abilities,” she said.

In 2019, the challenge is to strengthen the culture of monitoring the learning process, through the improvement of the management tools and the identification of educational issues in the municipalities. In addition, the program will be renamed Partnership for the Enhancement of Education, to reflect a broader and more inclusive perspective and involve other companies besides Votorantim. Suzano, which since the end of 2018 has owned Fibria, Votorantim’s former pulp operation, is the first to join this effort.

what are the skills addressed through the PVE

Processos de gestão

  • Registration and documentation
  • Monitoring of the learning process
  • Creation of a collaborative team
  • Partnerships and social mobilization
  • Articulation of school activities and system policies
  • Continuing education
  • Resource management

Mobilização

  • Knowledge about education
  • Attitude and willingness top act
  • Structure of a social network for education
  • Vitality of a social network for education
  • Scope of a social network for education

Case Study: Alumínio – SP

The PVE has been in place in Alumínio since 2016, as part of the social performance of Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio (CBA). Its development occurred in parallel with a major modification made by the Municipal Education Department: a change from a serial to a cycle system. According to Andreia Juliana Pires, Municipal Secretary of Education, the PVE was fundamental in supporting the assessment of needs and the improvement of the plan. “Each group of teachers used to make their own decisions on what to do; there was no unit within the same school. Now we plan for the entire system at the same time,” she said. The planning is done four times a year, every two months, and also serves as a training opportunity for the professionals involved.

Another PVE initiative that resulted in improvements in the municipal education office was the application of the Quality Education Indicators (Indique) methodology, developed by Ação Educativa with the support of UNICEF and the Ministry of Education, which advocates for the involvement of the entire school community in the process to improve educational quality. The methodology was first used in 2017 to paint a picture of how the school system was viewed by parents. Through a decree, the town decided to make the use of the methodology mandatory every year.

The implementation of changes in the education system with the support of the PVE enabled the town of Alumínio to make significant progress in the last assessment of the Basic Education Development Index (Ideb). The index for early school years rose from 5.4 in 2015 to 6.6 in 2017, surpassing the program’s goal for the period (6.2). For later school years, the index went from 3.9 to 5.1, slightly below the target (5.3).