Culminating in a 10-year agreement, the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and the Lemann Foundation have founded the Lemann Center for Educational Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Brazil at Stanford. The center focuses on developing new approaches to improve learning in Brazilian public schools, especially among low-income students, as well as developing new learning opportunities for these students both inside and outside of the public school system.
Improving the education system of a country is an extremely complex topic with no single solution. By looking at different countries around the world, we can see that importing one educational model does not work for all.
Finland, with its progressive and student-centered model, achieves results in international rankings that are similar to those achieved by Singapore, which makes use of a conservative and teacher-centered model. Teachers’ unions are blamed for the “failure” of American public education, and at the same time, teachers backed by very strong unions compose the high-performing educational systems of Canada, Finland, and Japan. Examinations for qualifying teachers are adopted in some high-performing countries like Singapore and Taiwan, but not in Finland.
In an emerging country like Brazil, the educational ecosystem includes not only teachers and students, but also parents, politicians, corporate executives, educators, and educational entrepreneurs.
A new educational model must be made that not only targets the schools, but the entire ecosystem. Selectively incorporating practices proven successful in other countries as principles, not models, can then be adjusted to the local culture, society, and economic reality. The success of the efforts Brazil is undertaking to give a giant leap in its educational system is intimately connected with the country’s capacity to attract the best and brightest minds from all fields to this educational ecosystem. With good training, a sense of community, and a well-articulated vision of the future, these different groups can be the trailblazers of change in Brazilian education.