Open Educational Resources in Brazil - State-of-the-Art, Challenges and Prospects for Development and Innovation

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Full title


Page length: 76 pages.

Date: 2011


Andreia Inamorato dos Santos


Brazil is a country of both quality and inequalities. With a population of over 190 million people distributed over a territory that covers 47% of South America, the task of providing education for all is undoubtedly a challenge.

Brazil has been making increasing ef orts to provide world-class education at basic education level, as identified by the latest World Bank Report, but has been facing a number of challenges, particularly in four key areas: raising teacher quality, protecting the early development of the most vulnerable, building a world-class secondary education system, and maximizing the impact of federal policy on basic education.

In order to improve the general status of education in Brazil, the federal government has been applying a systemic approach. This involves an understanding of the interdependence between all educational levels (basic and higher education) and the need to invest ef orts in all of them simultaneously in order to foster quantitative and qualitative improvement across the entire education system. According to the latest PISA results, Brazil has risen from the bottom to 51st position in nine years (2000-2009) out of 65 countries assessed. Despite this progress, Brazil is still falling behind the average learning levels of other middle-income countries (Chile, Uruguay and Mexico).

Brazil’s recent progress is due in large part to the massive expansion of schooling in the last 15 years, and more recently to the quality targets established by the federal government. The National Education Plan (PNE) is what underpins all educational decisions in the country. This plan is a basis of specii c plans, such as the PDE (Education Development Plan).

This survey provides an overview of current open-digital content and, whenever applicable, open educational resources (OER) initiatives within the context of the action plan developed as a result of the PNE (2001-2010). It proposes recommendations within the scope of PNE 2011-2020; currently awaiting governmental approval.

The Education Development Plan launched by the Ministry of Education in 2007 has driven the implementation of a number of programmes to enhance the quality of education, among them a digital inclusion programme whose aims include ef orts to install computers and multimedia labs in all public schools, and the production of multimedia digital content aimed at supporting schools and students through Portal do Professor. This study identii es that the objective of most existing government-supported open digital content repositories has been to increase availability of digital content to teachers in the basic education system from a late-nineties non-existence of an OER movement in Brazil. The PDE action plan involved an attempt to release content with some level of permission whereby users would not be infringing copyright. These digital-content repositories did not bear the name of open educational resources (OER), and licenses such as Creative Commons had not yet been released. During the following decade, the OER movement became more established internationally leading to some of the government-funded digital-content repositories encouraging the increased use of open licenses. As a result, today most Brazilian repositories have a blend of copyrighted materials with permission to use by the author or materials fully licensed under Creative Commons.

Seven out of the prospective twenty goals of PNE 2011-2020 have been selected for consideration, along with the proposed strategies which seem most OER relevant. For each goal and strategy, a comment is provided on how OER could contribute to their achievement. In summary, it is proposed that OER initiatives have the potential to:

  • Enable the increased number of extra-curricular activities for basic education using ICTs;
  • Serve as a mechanism to reduce dropout rates from the education system by enabling the use

of both tutored and self-study OER programmes;

  • Offer teachers opportunities for career development activities by engaging in OER development and reuse;
  • Foster the creation of collaborative textbooks for public use;
  • Prompting the collaborative production of pedagogical and training materials for both teachers and students;
  • Widening participation in higher education.

This study briefly outlines the structure of the Brazilian education system and suggests how OER could be benei cial within the context of the national priorities for education. It also includes presentation of relevant examples of international collaboration in OER.

The overview of OER is a product of a comprehensive but non-exhaustive desktop research in which most of the government and non-government open-digital-content and OER initiatives as well as the motivations underpinning them are covered.

To conclude, a number of recommendations for the adoption of OER at basic and higher education levels applicable to both the private and public education are made. The importance and role of a number of topics related to OER development and delivery, such as technology, pedagogy, copyright, policy and quality control, are summarized. If these recommendations are followed, OER has the potential to facilitate extensive innovation across the Brazilian educational system lifting the standard of learning opportunities for the country’s youth and future workforce.


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