Federal University of Minas Gerais (BRAZIL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 265-267
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The federal vocational education in Brazil was recently reorganized and expanded to a great extent. A new policy for the secondary level vocational schools of the federal education system was formulated under Lula’s administration (2003-2010). Through this policy, such schools were organized as Federal Institutes of Education, Science and Technology, all of which are known as Federal Institutes (FI). The new Institutes were created through the integration of two or more existing federal vocational education institutions, and also through the conversion of existing institutions. The Federal Institutes offer vocational education within several technical and technological areas in different levels: higher education, secondary education and elementary training. In spite of the significant growth of public offer and access to vocational training, the number of dropouts in the FI are substantial, as various studies have indicated (BRASIL, TCU, 2013; AMORIM, 2013; GOMES, 2013). In order to understand how the FI administrators deal with the dropout problem in their schools, we studied the five FI of Minas Gerais state, Brazil, and their 26 respective campuses. The research involved the application of online surveys to 54 administrators that inquired into the reasons for students dropping out in the secondary level vocational education and about the school initiatives to prevent dropouts. We had a total of 46 completed questionnaires. Data analysis revealed that the lack of basic knowledge related to course contents among students resulted in a difficulty to follow through the vocational training, which constituted the main reason for dropping out. Among the initiatives taken for preventing dropouts, 71.7% of the administrators mentioned the diagnosis of students' difficulties, while 47.8% cited the encouragement of student participation in extracurricular activities. Moreover, 50% of them mentioned establishing contact with the family of the students as a practice that the school does. Only 10.9% said that they do not have any dropout prevention initiatives. The perceptions of the administrators reveal the existence of an effort within the FI to prevent dropouts. However, this is a complex phenomenon and it is still necessary to broaden the understanding of the reasons for dropouts and to develop methods to curtail it.
School Dropouts, Vocational Education, Federal Institutes, Brazil.