Tablet Free Boost Rousseff Showcase Programme

Government says the Pronatec is a platform to qualify workers to boost productivity in Brazil

Sign up for a free course of computer technician or technician in Digital Games programming and still win a tablet as a gift.

The promise is the College Sumaré, a private education institutions, since last year, the National Program of courses offer access to technical education and employment, or one of the major showcases Pronatec of President Dilma Rousseff’s campaign.

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With about of 20000 undergraduate, in a matter of months the Sumaré enrolled more than 7000 students in technical education sponsored by the Government. And other institutions have similar stories–and some also record a high number of withdrawals, not all enrolled go all the way.

Program wants to broaden chances of professional rise and handle technical shortage

The Government says the program is a platform to qualify workers to boost productivity in Brazil. The goal is to achieve by the end of the year from 8 million registrations.

If such estimates are confirmed, that means that 4% of the population will be enrolled in one of these training courses over the past four years. And the promise is the 10% if Dilma is re-elected.

In addition, the candidates ‘ advisers Marina Silva and Aecio Neves also have committed to an expansion of the program, while defending the need for adjustments.

The challenge of technical education in Brazil is the theme of the second week of special coverage of BBC Brazil elections. The lack of skilled labor was a subject highlighted by readers in consultapromovida by Cliqueuma # salasocial-the BBC Brazil project that uses social networks as a source of original stories and named as one of the themes that should receive more attention from presidential candidates.

R $14 billion. Was it worth it?

The Government pays technical schools, the system’s entities (such as Senai, Senac, Senar and Senat), federal institutions and–from 2013–private colleges, as the Sumaré, so they offer free technical courses and professional qualifications. The audience will of students or young people fresh out of high school the unemployed and workers interested in if re-qualification.

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And this is no small thing. Since 2011, were invested in Pronatec R $14 billion.

They said providers receive per hour/lesson for every student of R $5 R $8. In a 1,000-hour technical course, this means a cost of up to £ $8000 per student over the course of a year and a half in classes of up to 50 students.

The goal of the program, as well as to increase the chances of students ‘ professional and social Ascension, is dealing with what is being touted as one of the main bottlenecks of the brazilian economy: the shortage of technicians or workers with specific skills.

“From 2011, for example, the payroll industry grew 12.7 percent, but labor productivity in industry increased by only 2.6%, which has damaged your competitiveness,” says Alessandra Ribeiro, of the consulting firm trends.

The Government insists the Pronatec should contribute to solve the problem by extending the qualification of workers-and, with it, your productivity.

“We are offering courses that Brazil needs”, says Luiz Claudio Costa, Executive Secretary of the Ministry of education (MEC). “The S-system whose participation in the programme reaches 70%-has extensive experience in the field and knowledge of demand.”

Rafael Lucchesi, Senai, ensures that the graduates of courses, 70% to 80% to get jobs one year after completing their studies. But data from other providers are not yet known.

Even so, experts point to the need for independent evaluations to show how far the courses actually make a difference for students seeking employment and businesses seeking employees on the market.

“The society tends to think that it is good to create vocational college-you can vote on all social levels,” says Mark Koneru, of the Center for public policies of Insper.

“But to say that thousands of people passed by the program does not guarantee that it will be effective. It is amazing that at this point we do not have independent studies about your impact on the employability of students and in the productive sector. ”

‘ Inflating ‘ license plates?

And if there are questions about the effectiveness of the program, the same can be said about the methods used to attract new students-as the offer of Sumaré.

After all, it is legitimate to offer a tablet to encourage adherence to the program? Do not run the risk of “inflating” registrations with students “committed” that can quit after receiving the device?

Such a commercial strategy, it is good to say, is defined by college-without government interference.

Students of Electronics of Pronatec colleges Anhanguera

Júlio Araújo, Coordinator of technical and vocational education of Sumaré, explains that the device is a didactic material, which helps students to follow the course of you.

He admits that there have been cases of students who, apparently, have signed up to make the tablet and ended up quitting school.

That would have helped elevate the circumvention of Sumaré courses for more than 50%, although other factors-such as the difficulty of the students follow the course and reconcile it with the work-would also have contributed to such indexes.

“It’s a high evasion rate, but similar to other colleges.According to prozipcodes,  and the problem has diminished as we inform the interested that the course is pulled and they only receive the tablet in the second month, “says Aguilar.

According to official data, the average evasion rate is 12% Pronatec-and in the case of a cancellation the transfers of the Government cease, but there’s no way to “recover” the amount invested initially.

Opportunities in the labour market

Costa, the MEC, says there is a big commitment of the courses because they believe it will give them more opportunities in the job market.

The BBC Brazil chatted with students, alumni and professors of Pronatec for a month and found a hodge-podge of profiles and contradictory reports.

Many say in fact have done a good job or changed in life with the help of the program. Others were frustrated for not finding the job you want.

The offer of courses varies greatly from region to region so it is also common to find people who can’t license plate in your preference.

Some people admit to have been registered because “remained vague” in your area, or to receive the student aid offered in some of the courses (somewhere around R $2 R $4 per hour/lesson for spending on meals and transportation).

“The course was good, but I’ve had studies so hasn’t made much of a difference,” said one of those students, of Goiás, after being contacted by the BBC for Facebook.

For others, the student aid is crucial to avoid circumvention. “I received scholarship at graduation and master’s degree and I don’t see why these students cannot also have support,” says Mahalakshmi Albuquerque, teacher of a course of events in Paraiba.

The Economist Marcelo Manzano, Unicamp, says diversity is natural.

He explains that the Pronatec is an “umbrella” that United professional training initiatives related to different ministries and entities.

“If we consider that the expansion of slots may not be as great, but to promote this systematization allows more control over the courses-which is good.”

‘ Short-term solution ‘

Some people have a more critical view of the program.

Gabriel Grabowski, an expert in technical education from Feevale University, in Rio Grande do Sul, for example, would be very Pronatec focused on “short term”.

It refers to the fact that the programme has two types of course. The (courses) of 800 to 1,200 technicians have hours and form airport technicians, in oil and gas, jewelry store, or shoes–just to mention a few examples. Them, would have enrolled 2.1 million people.

The bulk of the enrollment, however, would have been made in the Initial and continuing training courses (FICs), with a duration of 160 to 400 hours-and more specific. Can be, for example, oral health helper, caregiver of elderly, Brewer or exotic meat producer. These would have been enrolled 5.4 million people.

“These shorter courses can solve immediate and specific demands of companies, but in the medium and long term will not boost the productivity of the country or open the horizons of workers”, says Grabowski.

In your view, the Pronatec makes the same mistake of past policies on takeoff professional high school education.

“The truth is that if we don’t have a quality basic education, which give instruments to people fit easily to changes in the market, we will continue to spend time and resources by qualifying by technical workers and that in a few years are already obsolete,” believes Grabowski.

For Lucchesi, Senai, the criticism is “academicista”: “there is no doubt that these courses make the difference for businesses and young people, who otherwise would have more difficulty entering the market,” argues.

Read all about: 2014 elections • pronatec • dilma rousseff