The preparation of primary school teachers with special reference to Paraiba State in the North East of Brazil
This work is concerned with the quality of Primary Education and Teacher Education in Brazil, and particularly the State of Paraiba. Quality of education is an elusive concept to measure, and Brazil is not the only country in the world where one can find critics of the educational system who believe that the quantitative expansion of the system has necessarily brought about a reduction in quality. Chapter 1.0 sets out the basic problems which are viewed as related directly to the internal and external efficiency of the educational system. A number of problems which face primary education in Latin America are identified in Chapter 2.0. These problems were mainly produced by the rapid expansion of the system to meet increased social demands and to satisfy important human rights of the people of Latin America. Chapter 2.0 also reviews conferences, especially those held in Latin America, which have suggested solutions to these problems. Chapter 3.0 looks at teacher education in Latin America and Brazil, focusing on its internal and external aspects. Chapter 4.0 shows a number of features of the educational system of Brazil which were obstacles to the effective implementation of the proposed reforms. These obstacles were the result of the historical development of the system of education, and the traditions which had been developed since colonization. Chapter 5.0 sets out the problems which have been raised by the policy adopted after 1964, when a military regime took power. It is against this background of national policy that the teacher preparation policies in the various states of Brazil must be understood. Chapter 6.0 deals with some of the determinants of teacher education development in Paraiba State, including a brief summary of the socio-economic situation and its implications for the educational system. Through these early chapters three major shortcomings of teacher preparation in Brazil have been identified: 1) The number of teachers prepared, 2) The unsuitability of the training for conditions internal to the schools (curricula/teaching methods etc.), and 3) The unsuitability of the training for conditions external to the schools (the social condition of entrants to the schools). Chapter 7.0 seeks to investigate how the trainee teachers in Paraiba perceive the training they receive, from these various aspects. Finally, Chapter 8.0 summarises the findings of earlier chapters, and sets out recommendations for the revision of teacher education to improve the quality of teacher education, and hence of education at the primary level, in Paraiba specifically, and more generally in the whole of Brazil.