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VideoApril 3, 2024

Keys to literacy success for Sobral's children

Twenty years ago, most of the children in Sobral, a municipality in the Brazilian state of Ceará, were illiterate. Now, Sobral's education system is a reference both within Brazil and in the Latin American and Caribbean region.

We talked to Francisco Herbert Lima, Sobral's Secretary of Education, about the keys to the success of this transformation.

What are the keys to Sobral's success?

First of all, Sobral has carried out a very deep educational reform. Around 1997, there was a very important political decision to invest in children's literacy, according to which all children at the age of six and seven have the right to develop reading, writing and math skills.

How did you engage teachers to understand the importance of literacy?

By offering support, as well as ongoing training with a structure of reception, with a strategy of effective classes, in which the teacher's objective is to guarantee the learning of all children. Also creating incentive policies, of recognition beyond teachers' salaries: public recognition, valuing teachers, class structure and with specific class materials.

Based on Sobral's successful experience, what recommendations would you give to those countries or municipalities that are redesigning their early childhood education system?

First of all, there is a need for political decision and support, for effective investment. It must be understood that the earlier the possibility of educational experience for children is given, the greater the possibility of success. The technical decision, the measures that are often difficult, but necessary. For example, creating a strong teacher training system.

And finally, create a structure of recognition of incentive bonuses for teachers.

Interviewer: Álvaro G. de Pablo, Communications Associate at The World Bank