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Educação em Revista

versão impressa ISSN 0102-4698versão On-line ISSN 1982-6621

Educ. rev. vol.34  Belo Horizonte  2018  Epub 27-Ago-2018

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0102-4698181620 

Article

RELATIONS BETWEEN UNIVERSITY AND POLICIES TO EXPAND SCHOOL HOURS

Natália Fraga Carvalhais Oliveira2  *
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4956-6780

Savana Diniz Gomes Melo1  **
http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0415-5344

1Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.


ABSTRACT:

This paper discusses the relationship between university and basic education in the context of university expansion and of policies for school hours expansion. It studies Projeto Escola Integrada {Integrated School Program}, a project by Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) related to school hours extension policies by Belo Horizonte City Hall Office of Education (SMED/PBH), implemented from 2006 to 2013. The study is based on a critical theoretical framework. Institutional and official documents and interviews with UFMG and SMED coordinators, as well as with community teachers from three public schools were taken as sources. This paper describes the program highlighting its history, functioning and scope, as well as the subjects’ perceptions on the participating institutions’ roles and the relations they established, pointing to some limits and contributions of these relations.

KEYWORDS: University; University Service; Basic Education; Extended School Hours

RESUMO:

Este artigo discute a relação entre a universidade e a educação básica no contexto da extensão universitária e das políticas de ampliação da jornada escolar. Toma como objeto de análise o Programa Escola Integrada da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, uma ação de extensão universitária relacionada à política de ampliação da jornada escolar da Secretaria Municipal de Educação de Belo Horizonte, no período de 2006 a 2013. O estudo se fundamenta em um referencial teórico crítico. Tomaram-se como fontes documentos institucionais e oficiais e entrevistas com gestores na universidade e na secretaria e com professoras comunitárias de três escolas públicas. O texto procura caracterizar o programa com ênfase em seu histórico, funcionamento e abrangência, e também, evidenciar as percepções dos sujeitos entrevistados sobre o papel das instâncias envolvidas e sobre as relações estabelecidas ‒ apontando alguns limites e contribuições dessas relações.

Palavras-chave: Universidade; Extensão universitária; Educação básica; Jornada escolar ampliada.

INTRODUCTION

Given the re-democratization context in Brazil throughout the 1990s and into the twenty-first century, the relationship between basic and higher education has been stimulated by educational policies, especially those that go beyond teaching and research, targeting service. There is clear emphasis on the promotion of public policies fostering the improvement of quality in basic education that resort to university service. Among such policies, there are programs for extending of the number of school hours, developed in partnership with public universities.

The school-hour extension program developed by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), named Programa Escola Integrada {Integrated School Program} (PEI/UFMG) is one such experience. It sought to develop the relation between the university the school-hour extension policy by Secretaria Municipal de Educação (SMED) da Prefeitura de Belo Horizonte (PBH) {Belo Horizonte City Hall Office of Education} in basic education schools.

Stemming from a research concluded in 2014, this paper intends to show the complexity of such a relation1, its possibilities and limitations, from the discussion of the dialogic interaction between university and society. The analyses below are based on Bruno (2002), Chauí (2003), Coutinho (2014) and Frigotto (2011), among others. By means of documentary research (reports and institutional records, workshop monitor performance reports, newsletters, guidelines, etc.) and interviews2, it was sought to identify some aspects of this relation in the experience between UFMG, SMED and school units, from 2006 to the first half of 2013, focusing on the evaluation of the role of each institution, and their possible contributions in the relations established among them.

Results are divided in four parts: (1) a brief discussion concerning the dialogic interaction between university and society, (2) the current context of formulation of school-hour extension policies in Brazil, (3) PEI, comprising SMED, UFMG and various schools, and (4) the roles, strongholds and shortcomings of each participating instance (SMED, UFMG and public schools) according to the subjects interviewed and the reports analyzed.

DIALOGIC INTERACTION BETWEEN UNIVERSITY AND SOCIETY

We are based on the assumption that the university is a social institution linked to both society’s structure and mode of functioning. University is influenced by the state, while simultaneously exerting influence over it (CHAUÍ, 2003). As part of the foundational division of the university (teaching, research and service), service seems to be a concept under dispute, and there is no consensus among researchers dedicated thereto (OLIVEIRA, 2014).

In its historical development in Brazil, service has been manifested a vehicle for the spreading of dominant culture, as well as an instrument of social domination by means of state welfarism. In the context of Brazilian re-democratization, and aligned with global social transformations and with the university model envisaged by federal government at the time, a market-based take on service has gained momentum. According to Tavares (1996) and Jezine (2006), this take is realized by the amassing of resources resulting from the offer of paid services, by means of a partnership between universities and business companies, as well as the rendering of services to the government.

However, according to Tavares (1996) and Mazilli (2011), service has been given a new meaning within the university, in opposition to this model and to the practices so far in vogue. Service began to be viewed as an academic dimension integral to a model of university that sees the indissolubility of teaching, research and service as a socially referenced quality standard. According to Tavares (1996, p. 98), the university proposed within the higher educators movement3, inserted in the pro-democracy struggles of the 1980s, made possible that service be made an instrument against private sector appropriation of financial resources and cultural goods produced by society, as well as a defense strategy on behalf of democratization and university autonomy.

Since then, the indissolubility principle and the dialogic interaction between university and society entered the row of political guidelines for service, formulated by the Forum de Pró-Reitores de Extensão de Instituições de Educação Superior Públicas Brasileiras {Brazilian Public Higher Education Institutions’ Service Officials Forum} (Forproex). Such guidelines are in accordance with the concept of service also elaborated by the same Forum, which defines service as a process linking teaching and research to social interests.

It should be noted that the concept of dialogic interaction as a guideline for service originates in the discussion carried by Paulo Freire in Extensão ou comunicação?. Based on his conception of education as a freeing practice, Freire proposed the term communication, based on the dialogic interaction among subjects (the agronomist and the peasant, in his case), as opposed to service linked to education as domesticating practice. Freire believes dialogue presupposes a horizontal relation, which is a foundation for action and reflection by means of radical interaction. According to him, speaking of democracy without dialogue is a fraud. He thus defines dialogic interaction from dialogical experience under the perspective of transformation (FREIRE, 1975; 1987).

The construction of a democratic process relating the university and the remaining sectors of society, based on dialogic interaction, is permeated by different conceptions of the state and of democracy.

In this study, the concept of state and its relation to society are based on the theories of Karl Marx and Gramsci. Taking material live (dialectical materialism) as his starting point, Marx states that bourgeois productive relations as defined by the capitalist means of production are fundamentally based on the division of society into opposing classes – the bourgeoisie (the owners of the means of production) and the proletariat (workers who only possess their work power) – and on the exploitation of the latter by the former. The state originates from such a division, as an expression of the particular interests of the bourgeoisie in securing private property and, therefore, in the maintenance of capitalist society. Marx believes the modern state comes into being from the need to secure capitalist productive relations (the economic sphere) by means of the political sphere. This dominion is exercised by control over certain coercive and ideological resources (MARX, 1978, p. 129).

Based on Marx’s ideas, Gramsci, who lived in a different historical context, developed the concept of amplified state, in virtue of the struggles arising in civil society at that point. Gramsci sees reproduction in class domination as resulting not only from the coercive function of the state, but also from consensus among the dominated classes. For Gramsci, there come into the notion of state elements that are also common to the notion of civil society; in this sense, it would be possible to say that the state equals the sum of both political and civil societies, that is, hegemony coated by coercion (1984, p. 149). The roles of hegemony and domination, that is, of consensus and coercion, depend on the correlation of forces among social classes in power struggle. Gramsci’s amplified state concept reveals the contradictory and dialectical links between hegemony and coercion, historically determined by class struggle.

Democracy, in its turn, is viewed in this study as a form that the state may assume in given historical contexts. We thus start from an understanding of democracy as a complex and constant process of struggle in both the material and conceptual realms, that is, a process based on advancements – its amplification (radical democracy) – and drawbacks and formals restrictions (liberal democracy) (COUTINHO, 2008). Liberal democracy is characterized by certain formal procedures, such as the acknowledgement of equality before the law, which has favored the maintenance of privileges for the few to the detriment of guarantees of access to social rights for all; citizen participation restricted to periodical elections; centralization of power in the hands of the few, with restricted spaces of collective decision, for example. In radical democracy, a more encompassing participation is assumed in political decisions; it is guided by the construction of a public space grounded on collective action, with a view to common good, and in horizontal social relations, which are confirmed in solidarity and equality of all (COUTINHO, 2008; BRUNO, 2002). Consequently, it breaks with the hierarchy and the limits imposed by liberal democracy, such as the restriction of spaces for collective decisions, among others.

Based on such a framework, our object, service as a university tenet, may be conceived as social practice grounded on dialogic interaction, by means of the promotion of mutual transformation and of a new attitude of the university towards society, according to the interests of the majority of the population. In this sense, dialogic interaction, in thesis, seems to be grounded on the democratic ideal in its radical stance.

THE UNIVERSITY AND SCHOOL-HOUR EXTENSION IN BRAZIL

Since Brazilian re-democratization, educational policies have fostered the relation between higher and basic education and, currently, with the implementation of policies to extend the number of school hours in basic education throughout the country, universities have been required to take part in the social network responsible for ensuring public education. This integration is in the current educational agenda, as the state, according to the Plano de Desenvolvimento da Educação {Education Development Plan} (PDE/2007), must hold a systemic view acknowledging the links between basic and higher education (among others).

Made up of various programs encompassing basic and higher education, PDE has sought to guide the Brazilian educational policies with the help of the federal government, overcoming the lack of integration among policies that had so far been verified. Some authors believe PDE may indicate: (a) the implementation of a state policy by the Ministry of Education (MEC), as it gathers government plans, and organizes and integrates national educational organization; (b) the attempt to fill gaps on the Plano Nacional de Educação {National Education Plan} (PNE) (2001/2010) caused by president Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s vetoes; (c) the possibility to conceive of an education system in Brazil (OLIVEIRA, 2011; KRAWCZK, 2008). Others believe PNE, which would still be in effect, was backgrounded by PDE (SAVIANI, 2009; FRIGOTTO, 2011).

Despite the contradictions and shortcomings in this initiative, and regarding the analysis here presented, according to PDE, on the one hand, public universities must tend to initial and continued education of their faculty members, with a view to improving the quality of basic education. On the other hand, this improvement may help ensure that those graduating basic education would be better prepared to join higher education, thus closing a circle of mutual, evident and positive dependence among education levels (MEC, n/d, p. 11). The Programa Mais Educação {More Education Program} (PME), which fosters school-hour extension policies, and the Programa Extensão Universitária {University Service Program} (ProExt), both belonging to programs within the PDE, foresees the articulation between basic and higher education.

PME was instituted by Portaria Normativa Interministerial {Inter-Ministerial Normative Decree} n. 17 (April 24, 2007) (BRASIL, 2007) and by Decreto {Decree} n. 7.083 (January 27, 2010) (BRASIL, 2010). It was first established by partnership between MEC, Ministério do Desenvolvimento Social e Combate à Fome {Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger}, Ministério do Esporte {Ministry of Sports} and Ministério da Cultura {Ministry of Culture}. Later, Ministério do Meio Ambiente {Ministry of Environment} and Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia {Ministry of Science and Technology} joined, as well as the Secretaria Nacional da Juventude {National Youth Secretariat} and the Assessoria Especial da Presidência da República {Special Presidential Counsel}. Originally, this inter-ministerial federal policy intended to foster the extension of the number of school hours in several states and municipalities, with a view to promoting full education and contributing to improve basic education quality.

Early documents guide the program’s actions to intersectoriality, defined as “mutual accountability” in the relation among the several governmental instances and the search for partnership with society, based on the idea that educational processes involve multiple agents (BRASIL, 2009a). The role of universities is understood from within this framework. The presence of students who are teachers-in-training should also be noted among those responsible to take action in experiences of extending the number of school hours (BRASIL, 2009b, pp. 15-16). The mapping of school-hour extension experiences, undertaken with a view to provide data for the construction of the main policy, shows that only 6,2% of the experiences under study has universities as partners, the highest number found in the South-East region, especially in the state of Minas Gerais (BRASIL, 2009c).

According to PME’s regulating documents, PME requires the articulation between educational systems and universities, with a view to producing knowledge, theoretical and methodological support and the training of professionals in the field of full education (BRASIL, 2007; 2010). ProExt was regulated by Decreto {Decree} n. 6.495/2008 (BRASIL, 2008), and defined as a university service program. Since then, it became one of the programs integrating PDE, dedicated to fostering university service programs and projects, especially alongside basic education. Edital {public notice} ProExt/MEC/2013 contemplated a specific line dedicated to full education policies, with a view to fostering university actions within such policies.

Despite the various previously mentioned readings PDE may elicit, Abreu (2010) states that with its help Brazil has been prioritizing education by means of a systemic perspective made up of an articulated vision among several levels and modalities of education. Within such a view, basic and higher education are no longer fragmented and isolated, and have been integrated (ABREU, 2010, p. 136). PME and ProExt, both belonging to PDE, predict the articulation between basic and higher education. Policies for both basic and higher education are thus bound to make this integration effective.

However, in October 2015, in his inaugural speech as minister of Education, Aloísio Mercadante announced changes in PME. Despite his claim that the continuity of PME’s would be one of his priorities, a process of change was announced, pertaining especially Mathematics and Portuguese. Mercadante stated that such an emphasis was based on research conducted by the World Bank in partnership with Fundação Itaú Social, which, among other things, pointed to the fact that PME was impacting neither school dropout rates, nor the Índice de Desenvolvimento da Educação Básica {Basic Education Development Index} (ZINET, 2015).

In March 2016, Mercadante announced that the programs’ funds were to be redirected to schools, the students of which showed serious literacy problems. This change reduced the number of school units served by the program from 60,000 to 26,000. After the political and institutional crisis which led to the impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff and the stepping into office of Michel Temer (2016), the Programa Novo Mais Educação {New More Education Programa} was instituted, still focused on improving the learning of Portuguese and Mathematics in basic education.

The original proposition clearly takes backward steps with these changes, as it originally sought, among other things, to increase the number of learning opportunities, by offering and developing activities in the realms of culture, sport, leisure, arts, etc., thus going beyond traditional school knowledge. The current perspective is based on a narrow take on education quality, circumscribed to student performance on large-scale evaluations4. It is possible to suppose that the partnership between universities and schools will also be restricted to this new perspective.

As may be verified in what follows, SMED/PBH’s PEI, despite having become a reference program for school-hour extension in Brazil and for MEC itself, was also reduced in offer and reach.

PROGRAMA ESCOLA INTEGRADA: SMED, UFMG AND SCHOOLS

PEI/SMED is a policy for the extension of the number of school hours in school units of the Belo Horizonte basic education municipal network (RMEBH), since the implementation of the pilot project in 2006. It intends to promote a higher number of learning opportunities for children and teenagers between the ages of 6 and 14 (BELO HORIZONTE, 2010). It is based on the conception of educating city (the use of spaces around the school and throughout the city),5 as well as in the relation between school and community knowledge. It integrates different social projects by RMEBH with actions developed by NGOs and other civil society partners (BELO HORIZONTE, 2012), such as community associations, clubs, commercial establishments, businesses, leisure and health centers, churches, higher education institutions, foundations and research centers (COELHO, 2010).

PEI/SMED is developed outside regular school hours, with the offering of workshops by cultural agents and university monitors—themselves students granted service scholarships. Since 2009, workshops offered by higher education institutions began to be organized in accordance with PME. Community teachers are in charge of coordinating the program in each school. Student participation is dependent on their family’s agreement (BELO HORIZONTE, 2009). PEI/SMED encompasses all schools units within the system, but does not accommodate all students, and its implementation faces many challenges.6

Despite a new administration stepping into office in PBH in 2009, PEI/SMED was maintained, and held as one of PBH’s leading programs. At the beginning of the 2009-2012 term, a goal was set for the construction of the facilities in which the program was to take place, for the full adhesion of all school units and the accommodation of 65,000 students by 2012. According to the PEI/SMED general coordinator (2006-2012),7 these facilities were not built, and the renovation of school facilities was only partial. According to the interviews conducted and the information obtained from SMED, even though all schools units within the system had adhered to the program, the number of students missed the mark; by August 2013, there were 61,771 participating students.

Despite its range, and despite being seen as one of the best consolidated experiences in the country, the reduction of approximately 20,000 positions in the PEI/SMED had been predicted by 2016, restricting the number of students to 43,000. According to PBH, cuts were justified by the fact that there were many infrequent students, who lacked attendance over twice a week. Cuts were criticized, as they limited student access to new learning opportunities, and as they linked the need for budget cuts to student accountability for their lack of attendance (ZINET, 2016). It may once again be viewed that the policy for the extension on the number of school hours in Brazil is receding in its search for guaranteeing fuller access to free public quality education.

Regarding PEI as university service, UFMG was the first higher education institution to join PEI/SMED. UFMG was invited to help think of a new format for school hour extension in basic education within RMEBH, and developed a pilot-project alongside SMED. PEI/UFMG was initially a service project, linked to the program UFMG integrada à educação básica {UFGM integrated to basic education}.

From 2006 (date of its conception and of the development of the pilot PEI/SMED project) to 2010 (as university service project), PEI/UFMG was organized around the offer of subjects to schools, the organization of continued training seminars for monitors and the evaluation of all participants belonging to UFMG. Supervising visits to monitors in order to assess their performance and closeness to school reality for better dimensioning of university actions also belonged to PEI/UFMG routine.

Proex housed the general coordination; pedagogical coordination was initially composed by Centro Pedagógico {Center of Pedagogy} (CP) faculty members (until 2010), and later (from mid-2010 onwards) by Facultade de Educação {School of Education} (FaE) faculty members.

Monitors in charge of school workshops had a 20-hour workload, liable to extension with university authorization, 60% of which was destined to the administration of workshops, 20% to planning and guidance alongside community teachers and 20% for supervision and planning in the university, alongside coordinators. Coordinators were in charge of proposing workshops, monitor selection, guidance and preparation, as well as monitor assessment within schools and regarding the program’s general and pedagogical coordination (UFMG, 2010).

Regarding the project’s sustainability within UFMG, from the beginning, its continuity was based on the constitution of a stable structure with a general coordination and workshop guides. Despite great enthusiasm within the university in early stages, challenges began to appear as the project unfolded. From 2009, UFMG’s participation progressively shrank due to recurring problems in the program’s implementation (UFMG, 2009), such as PEI/SMED’s lack of infrastructure, security and organization, among other aspects that made working in accordance to UFMG’s goals difficult or unfeasible. These problems, as well as other university demands, reduced monitor’s and supervisor’s availability and interest in taking part of PET/UFMG.

From 2011, PEI/UFMG was restructured as a university service program, reconfigured within a more complex and articulating action framework, integrating actions organized around a common axis, and expanding its scope within the university. PEI/UFMG thus encompassed five projects: (1) Oficinas na Escola Integrada {Integrated School Workshops}; (2) Acompanhamento pedagógico do PEI nas escolas {PEI pedagogical guidance within schools}; (3) Processos formativos em Educação Integral {Full education formative processes}; (4) Projeto Apoio à Escola Integrada {Support to integrated schools}; and (5) Suporte de Comunicação para o PEI/UFMG {PEI/UFMG communication support} (UFMG, 2011). This new structure made possible to increase the numbers of participating schools units, types of offered workshops, monitors, as well as the reach of undergraduate programs within UFMG, workshop supervisors and area coordinators, as may be seen in table 1.

Table 1 PEI/UFMG overall scope: 2006 to first half of 2013 

Specification Year Not available1
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Schools 7 16 21 12 21 40 71 40 4
Workshop monitors 56 43 66 53 65 102 175 62 4
Monitors subjects 10 12 13 13 14 20 27 14 3
Workshop coordinators 17 12 23 17 26 17 17 13 -
Types of workshop 13 20 23 19 20 29 29 21 4

1 Information not available for that year. Source:OLIVEIRA (2014)

PET/UFMG’s restructuring as university service program allowed for an increase of its actions both in terms of their qualification within schools and in the training of university students and the systematization of knowledge regarding the experiment. Despite the aforementioned benefits the new structure brought to the program, until mid-2013 there was still no guarantee that the program would continue, which was a major concern for PEI/UFMG coordination. In 2014, as there was a change in UFMG’s administration, conversations began with FaE, in order to strike a partnership with SMED and to assess whether FaE would be able to host the general coordination. In early 2015, this resulted in the termination of the SMED/Proex partnership.

Regarding PEI within the selected school units, the implementation process went through stages, with differing motivations and features for the establishment of a link with UFGM, as reported by the community teachers interviewed and summarized in Table 2.

Table 2 PEI in schools and their relation to UFMG 

School/Regional Year of implementation Description Year when link with UFMG was established Motivation
A Pampulha 2007 Project began upon teacher’s collective agreement; there is a waiting list of families; facilities available (within school and rental houses); limits in the PEI-school integration (time). 2007 Former partnership (Projeto Guanabara); closeness to UFMG (which makes student transit and contact with UFMG easier); only UFMG monitors were selected.
B Noroeste {North-east} 2009 Began due to interest on the part of the school management and upon approval of assembled school teachers; there was no waiting list of families; PEI-school integration; facilities available (within school, surroundings and rental houses). 2009 Previous partnership (CP and FaE); interest in developing new projects with UFMG; lack of dialogue with PEI coordination of other higher education institutions; only UFMG monitors were selected.
C Leste {East} 2007 Began by demand of the Regional and management decided to join without consulting teachers; no waiting list; integration not effectively carried out; facilities available (within school) 2009 After unanswered attempts (the school is distant from UFMG), one community volunteer was inserted, who was a student at UFMG, and a link was established; monitors were selected from UFMG and other higher education institutions.

Source: OLIVEIRA, 2014

Data shows that PEI/SMED was differently developed in each school, and that the link between UFMG and school units mediated by the program was established at different times and with different motivations.

THE ROLES OF UFMG AND SMED IN PEI’S SCHOOLS: LIMITATIONS AND CONTRIBUTIONS

In order to assess whether PEI/UFMG was based on dialogic interaction in its relation to SMED and school units during the development of PEI, one of the aspects analyzed was the assessment of SMED’s, UFMG’s and the school units’ roles, highlighting the limits and contributions of the links established.

According to PEI/UFMG’s general coordinator,8 SMED demanded a participation of university students for the development of workshops, but the university’s role was broader, encompassing the program’s management at SMED regarding organization, discussion and assessment. In her evaluation of the relation with SMED, she pondered that, until 2012, PET/UFMG’s actions alongside SMED were dialogic, and guided by commitment to the program, with those involved effectively taking part by means of horizontal discussions, with a view to the common good, as discussed by Bruno (2002) and Coutinho (2008). However, she pointed that managerial changes within SMED had implications for this dialogic relation, as the following testimony shows:

They basically wanted us to supply students (who held scholarships) and workshops. The deal was that we would guide them, but they should also have guidance in the school! But all this time we helped to discuss, to organize the program {…}, we took part in the general coordination alongside SMED. {…} The relation with SMED in the previous administration, with the people who had been there from the beginning, since 2006, in the coordination, was very good! We felt like real partners! Making it happen together. {…} Working on a dialogic relation, exchanging, assessing, proposing and reflecting. {…} We were also free to give, suggest and complain, in a really committed partnership! We were able to advance in the program. With the change in administration, coordination was changed completely. {…} We are slowly resuming the dialogue. But we still don’t know what’s going to happen next! (PEI/UFMG general coordinator)

After her positive assessment of the relation between UFMG and SMED’s PEI management, the general coordinator criticizes the structural problems within schools, which directly impacted the development of workshops as conceived by the program. The first problem noted was the supporting role demanded of university monitors, which asked of them to act as fully trained professionals, and not as students still undergoing their training process. Another problem was the lack of support to monitors, as the following interview excerpt shows:

I think the program has a structural problem. It shouldn’t lean on student-monitors and cultural agents. {…} If you think of the student and of the partnership as university service, the focus is student training. The student-monitor must have support within the school unit. Students have often been treated as professionals. They are demanded of as professionals… They’re not! They can’t sustain the program! They must be a plus in it! They needed a big supporting structure, because this is a very important experience for the university! It should promote debate on full education, in order to place these kids into school reality. This is a rich experience! But, on the other extreme, they must have an attitude they don’t have, and it is up to us to give them that kind of support! (PEI/UFMG general coordinator)

As a consequence, the general coordinator pointed that UFMG monitor turnover was high, and that was another structural problem, which distanced the program from its original concept, and needed correction. This may be viewed in the following testimony:

This constant replacement inside {the school unit} was also another structural problem. If monitors have no support there, be it from a teacher or any other person, if they are the sole responsible, they leave… these kids come and go. What happens? The formation of the children in the school is discontinued. The program is no longer educating, it’s just “babysitting”, becomes a “time-filler”, whatever. You may be able to somehow contribute, but it’s far from what was proposed, which is to provide full education to those children. We have to have a structure that enables that, because students come and go, but something has to remain there. We must ensure that children have that! (PEI/UFMG general coordinator)

The general coordinator acknowledged the importance of UFMG monitors in the program both regarding their own training as future teachers and the new experiences they bring to the schools in which they act. In her view, “the monitor-student participation is rich; it is important in transforming tomorrow’s teachers, and in providing schools with new experiences, but this cannot be sustained!” (PEI/UFMG general coordinator) Data so far presented show that the lack of a structure within school units allowing for the continuation and consistency of the activities undertook by UFMG monitors jeopardized the full education of children and youth as originally predicted when PEI/SMED was conceived.

These aspects were pointed by other school-hour extension related investigations. In a study on children’s insertion and participation in full (time) education within PEI/SMED context, Carvalho (2013) viewed as positive the presence of university student-monitors (alongside cultural agents). However, Carvalho states that, in the experience he analyzed, some were not ready to handle the situation due to the number of children, to material and structural conditions, as well as to the restricted supervision in their activities, thus impacting the quality envisaged by a full education proposition.

Clementino (2003), when investigating teaching work in another school-hour extension experience, also problematizes the participation of university monitor-students in PEI/SMED. According to her, the program may provide an important teacher training experience, given the difficulties faced by most teachers in their initial insertion process within schools. However, she believes that lack of support, structure, and planning time, which were verified in the schools under investigation, may favor monitor turnover and the development of hollowed and improvised practices, thus impacting the quality of the work.

The participation of cultural agents and university students may be enhanced by guidance and schoolteacher supervision, as pointed by Clementino (2013). However, according to her, teachers themselves also need to take part in formative processes in order to learn new practices and knowledge different from that offered in their initial training courses. She also thinks it is necessary to extend teachers workload to full time, in order to effectively promote dialogue involving the community, sociocultural knowledge and school knowledge.

In accordance with the above-mentioned studies, the community teacher from school A also acknowledged that PEI/SMED had structural problems regarding the availability of adequate workshop facilities. She thinks the program should count on appropriate space for the type of service provided.

I think it’s high time the program stopped improvising, it may be time the Integrated School had its own facilities. {…} It’s about time the schools made the necessary renovations or the construction of news facilities for that service. The program is being viewed as important, as one the leading programs in the current administration. Political propaganda is drawing upon PEI. It’s about time we really had appropriate, structured facilities, so the various workshops can happen, so students can be educated {…} and the monitors’ works improve. (School A community teacher)

Within the monitor assessment reports selected for this research,9 the challenges faced in developing the workshops were verified, regarding the program’s functioning and structural issues (unsuitable facilities, high number of students per workshop, lack or resources and unsafe transfers), presented as limiting factors imposed on the fulfillment of tasks and on student participation, and evidencing the weakness of public authorities in guaranteeing appropriate infrastructure. Oliveira (2014) also points to PEI/UFMG monitor turnover, the high number of students per workshop and the lack of suitable facilities for the development of the activities.

The head of Proex’s for the 2006-2010 terms believes that, during her term, the university fulfilled its role; however, SMED failed in not having allotted specific resources for PEI/SMED destined to UFMG, so the university could manage its share on the program and pay staff.

I think the role of the university was to do what was done there {…}. I think SMED was below expectations. {…} First, it didn’t build a policy. {…} SMED had to have created a policy to create a project, just as we, for example, had the LASEB {Lato Sensu specialization in basic education teaching, FaE/UFMG}, which granted resources to the university; SMED could have allotted resources for PEI, that could have been transferred to the university so it could manage its share, with the people here that would be working on it. Meanwhile, SMED would have a group ahead of the project, managing he school units involved. Management was lacking… dialogue between SMED and university was lacking in that sense, and had no resources. Things won’t happen out of sheer good will! We needed people paid to dedicate themselves only to that. (Head of Proex, term 2006-2010)

This testimony shows a conflicting point in the UFMG/SMED relation during the first years of the program: lack of financing on the part of SMED. Proex’s head for the following term (2012-2014) also thought that public authorities should take up their responsibilities in carrying out their policies, and that the university should fulfill its role, but had to interfere and show city hall how to do their part.

{s}ometimes, some actions or projects are criticized because their are taking up tasks that are up to the authorities. I think it was up to city hall to make PEI happen. City hall does make it happen! It pays scholarship. But the people handling the school… belong to the university! {…} This is one nice thing PEI/UFMG does. It begins to interfere in politics; it remains as a project, as it is and as it should be, but it begins to interfere in politics so authorities may take over. It may then resume its own function {…}, but it was for city hall to manage it! It’s very comfortable for them like this! A lot of good people working for them! {…} The role that PEI/UFMG took was the one it should have taken! (Head of Proex, term 2012-2014)

These testimonies point to SMED’s limitations in fulfilling its role in relation to the university, according to the interviewees. Thus, despite there being dialogic interaction in the conception of PEI/SMED, in practical terms, within schools, its implementation was limited. It should be noted that the university always had a very clear understanding of the objectives of this action qua university service, developed so as to provide its students an environment for training and production of knowledge, and so as to cooperate for the improvement of basic education. In practical terms, and without really willing to do so, in face of the structural limitations presented by PEI/SMED, UFMG seems to have at times indulged in welfarism, cooperating with city hall in replacing teaching staff with university monitors in offering school subjects.

As for the assessment of SMED’s role in relation to UFMG in developing the program, the mediator with higher education institutions (2007-2012)10 reported that, for some time, coordination acted defensively regarding the questions made about management and the program. She stated that, at first, UFMG’s demands notwithstanding, the relation with this university was like the relation with the other higher education institutions, and it improved as UFMG began to jointly think of solutions.

The partnership with UFMG… Began well with just UFMG; it was with UFMG. It was the same with UFMG as it was with the others. Except that UFMG was more demanding of us. Then relation became closer with UFMG, because it presented more possibilities, it was able to show more ways, to help think of solutions instead of just demanding them. (Higher Education Institutions/SMED mediator, 2007-2012)

She also criticized PEI/UFMG’s position in university structure, and considered that UFMG demanded solutions to issues internal to the institution.

Some of the issues UFMG brought were pretty much internal. Some times it happened that UFMG would ask for a meeting with SMED to discuss organization issues. {…} I think that was relevant, how the university needed to organize itself in order to handle to program. Management belonged entirely to Proex. I think Proex was anxious with this, as it tried to articulate things with no success. It couldn’t systematize, no professor would take it up… Turnover was also big inside the university; professors would come and go, there was no centralization. {…} CGP/UFMG would bring that up, in hope that SMED would find a solution to the problem. To see what the schools and SMED could do to help. (Higher Education Institutions/SMED mediator, 2007-2012)

However, for her, PEI/UFMG restructuring and the closer link to FaE resulted in a better relation with SMED, given the enhanced possibilities of articulation. With this change, SMED began to demand a more effective participation of FaE in formative events.

In relation to UFMG, it was not the change in administration that made the difference, but the change in the organizational structure of the program within the university. During the first years, we felt UFMG demanded very strongly that we found solutions. From a certain point on, when FaE became involved, it was like: “Let’s make this together, let’s really think of solutions with SMED”. {…} The relation became easier then. {…} Then we also began to demand that UFMG took more part in formative activities. (Higher Education Institutions/SMED mediator, 2007-2012)

PEI/SMED general coordinator (2006-2012) also acknowledged criticism of the limits analyzed regarding the relation involving UFMG, SMED and school units, as pointed by the mediator (2007-2012), when stating that UFMG’s more demanding stance would often disregard the changing process within SMED and school units. She stated that UFMG was prominent among the other higher education institutions in relation to PEI/SMED, and acknowledged that the university did find a new internal organization in function of the program, despite its more critical stance in the relation established.

I think UFMG, given its savoir faire, may have for some times been a bit more {…} demanding in relation to the program. {…} UFMG stood out among the participating universities. It stood out, first, because UFMG began with us, it was part of this format, it helped us create, it took part in the conception of the program {…} Then, the other universities brought their contributions, but it was conceived and formed with UFMG. The fact that UFMG created a significant space within FaE, a center directed to PEI, with research, systematic supervision, training {…} I think for some time it wasn’t possible for UFMG to make it come true very efficiently. {…} but the spaces it created for training… lets us talk of the Web {the teaching, research and service group Território: educação integral e cidadania at FaE/UFMG}, I think this made the difference in relation to the other universities! UFMG organized itself on account of the program… It took over the possibility of dialogue between basic and higher education. {…} Even if criticism was, some times, a bit harsher. (PEI/SMED general coordinator, 2006-2012)

As Mamede (2012) notes, the constitution of a network around the guarantee of full education and of full-time education is fundamental, with the integration of universities to different governmental spheres and to other institutions, in the development of experiences similar to the one here analyzed. However, even though it is admitted that UFMG’s part in PEI/SMED was important, the problems so far noted show how complex these relations may be, given the challenges the university had to face.

UFMG’s, SMED’s and the schools’ roles in the relations developed during the evolution of PEI/SMED were also assessed by the community teachers interviewed. One common aspect to which they pointed was the changes made from 2013 in SMED management, which, according to them, interfered in the relation between SMED and the schools, such as: lack of SMED supervision and support for the workshops; hiring problems faced by PBH, occasioned by lack of monitors and cultural agents in schools; communication centralization in SMED, and bureaucratization for the selection of workshops, among others.

Regarding UFMG, community teachers in schools A and C stated that their schools were instructed not to get into direct contact with higher education institutions to tackle issues regarding workshops and monitors, leaving that to SMED. The school A community teacher was against this, as she thought the school should be close to the university and know the supervisors, so as to benefit the work being done inside the school. She thought SMED, as it became partners with universities, should be a bridge between PEI/SMED coordination in school and in the university. School B community teacher thought that the university was fulfilling its role in establishing dialogue with the school regarding the workshop proposals presented. School C community teacher also showed concern with the continuity of the relation between SMED and UFMG, given the changes in SMED, identified as centralization and bureaucratization, which entailed the weakening of the partnership and loss of enthusiasm.

It was way easier. Now I can’t do this. I can’t. We were in fact forbidden to get in direct touch {with the universities}. All must go through SMED. Too centralized. And this makes some things more difficult. It makes everything bureaucratic. {…} I am very concerned, because since the pilot project, in 2006, UFMG is in, and we always perceived they had a lot of interest. It was always one of the first to raise issues in city hall, in SMED, during meetings and all. {…} I don’t know if I’m right, but I feel links are weaker. I think everybody lost a little enthusiasm with city hall. They lost a little faith in the program… (School C community teacher)

Overall, the community teachers believe it what SMED’s role to ensure the program had supervision, to guide and seek solutions for the problems faced, resulting in its effectiveness inside the school and in the training of those involved. School C community teacher believes the school should welcome the monitors, pay their service scholarships and guarantee life insurance. The interviews show that changes in PEI/SMED management entailed alterations in the relation between UFMG and school units. It was evident the concern with more formal aspects, resulting in more bureaucratic and hierarchical relations and a break in dialogue among school units, the university and SMED.

On the other hand, regarding the monitors’ take on the relation involving UFMG, SMED and school units, half of them evaluated communication and articulation among instances as positive in school A. A significant number of monitors thought it were little satisfactory in providing the solutions necessary to the development of activities in accordance with their founding conceptions. The challenges reported by monitors in this sense are of various natures. One monitor voiced criticism regarding city hall and UFMG, as the following testimony shows:

Many aspects of the program need to be rethought, such as the improvement of work conditions and the training of students in charge of workshops. Ideally, city hall should invest in these aspects, instead of worrying about advertising the project. These programs are out of keeping with the reality we face, and give society the false impression that PEI means “salvation” for students of the poorer neighborhoods of Belo Horizonte. The program has strong points, but I think they may be outnumbered by the negative ones in the future. UFMG, as partner with city hall, has the obligation towards its students working in the program to denounce and demand reformulation. (Monitor 1, Pedagogical Supervision Workshop, 2nd semester/2008)

In schools B and C, most monitors also evaluated positively the communication and articulation involving UFMG, the school units and SMED. However, in school B differing takes were seen on this topic. One monitor, facing problems in receiving her transportation subsidy, to be supplied by the school, claimed to be disappointed “in management support and common sense” regarding the communication to solve her problem, that is, to ensure basic work conditions for monitors (Monitor 2, Dance Workshop, 2nd semester/2012). Another UFMG student claimed that communication among institutional partners was harmonious, and provided the necessary support for her advancement.

I think {school B} is well organized, and so far I have had no difficulty, nor was I victim or the “untidiness” of the program with SMED, the school and UFMG. On the contrary, the community teacher, UFMG and SMED are always in sync, with no disagreement among them that could jeopardize the functioning and improvement of the program. {…} So far, I was given support, and I see their efforts in carrying on with the program. (Monitor 1, Dance Workshop, 2011)

It was observable that the problems identified in PEI converge with those pointed by the literature. In his study on university educators’ work at PEI/SMED, Coelho (2011) states that this program seems to function based on the good will and overload of faculty and student body, with activities happening in unsuitable facilities. The lack of integration between PEI and the schools’ regular class shift was also pointed, showing even lack of knowledge among students of the school in which his research was conducted about the workshops carried out by monitors. Clementino (2013) demonstrates that one of the schools analyzed in his research, where the program was implemented in 2009, still faced many structural challenges, which hindered the development of an effective full education proposition.

The analysis of the data shows that UFMG fulfilled its role and SMED faced limitations, especially regarding the lack of support to the work of monitors in schools. If the general coordinator within UFMG thought that PEI/UFMG was based on dialogic interaction in the relation involving UFMG, SMED and school units, for the head of Proex for the 2006-2010 term, dialogue was restricted due to lack of resources from PBH destined to the program’s management in its university branch. On the other hand, PEI/SMED interviewees acknowledged the importance of UFMG, and pointed to its critical positioning in face of this public policy, in accordance to the social role that such an institution is expected to fulfill. It was also verified that dialogue between UFMG and school units weakened in face of changes in SMED (from 2012), and university monitors showed different perspectives on the role of these institutions and their dialogue.

Despite the limits and challenges pointed, both within the university and regarding the relation established with SMED and school units, the interviewees’ perceptions and the documents analyzed11 show that these relations yielded various positive results:

a) SMED’s contributions: financial viability; reflection and assessment on PEI/SMED and training of the educators involved.

The partnership with SMED, generally speaking, has contributed to the financial viability of the program; it has also contributed to conception and methodological reflection of the program, as well as its assessment. Furthermore, UFMG, in particular, was instrumental in its structuring and operationalization (UFMG, 2007).

I can’t say much about how UFMG fared in comparison to other universities, but I think it is the best suited to provide the biggest help to PEI. None of the others can handle what UFMG handled. It not only provided students, and help in their training; they also thought PEI together with everyone. {…} (Higher Education Institutions/SMED mediator, 2007-2012)

b) Contribution to schools, students and the improvement of basic education: expansion of learning opportunities, access to cultural goods, favoring of classroom learning and consequent improvement in the quality of education in face of impact assessment results; socialization; incentives for students to proceed into higher education, among others.

I think this dialogue made possible that our students became interested in the university. (PEI/SMED general coordinator, 2006-2012)

It has contributed, there was even an assessment made by university research. Numbers improved in schools that joined the program. The research is rather old. {…} The program has contributed to improving students’ rapport with school and learning, and their pedagogical process in the school has indeed contributed. (School A community teacher)

PEI has helped children to advance. It has made them grow under various perspectives. In their relations, in study, in behavior. We were part of that! (PEI/UFMG general coordinator)

You see how big this work is, how important for the children, especially me, who was born and grew up here. I know very well that if it weren’t for the school, access to theater and movies would be difficult. The program made access to cultural and artistic means possible, made it possible to know other places in the city. {…} This is how important PEI was {…} Kids as young as six are going to the ballet, to Palácio das Artes and to the symphonic orchestra. No one can take this away from them. The experiences they are having, no one can take away from them. (School C community teacher)

c) Contributions to the university and UFMG monitors: professional experience; financial aid by means of service scholarship; teacher training; discussion, reflection and production of knowledge on school reality; approximation between basic and higher education institutions.

It was possible to conclude that the program has contributed to the expansion of spaces for professional practice, to enriching personal and professional experiences of student-monitors, to knowledge construction {…}, besides financial aid by means of a scholarship. {…} For UFMG, the participation in the program meant: expansion of spaces for university service, for research and for the improvement of teaching – production of knowledge, the opportunity for political, social and cultural intervention. (UFMG, 2007)

{S}tudents were bringing school reality into the university {…}, into licentiate courses. How and is and what it is with us there. We hear news of professors in licentiate courses, that students are bringing integrated school into classroom discussion. So you know about it even if you’re not in it. It is very important for basic education that there is a real approximation between universities and students that are now graduating, between professors and the real school. (Higher Education Institutions/SMED mediator, 2007-2012)

{T}he Integrated School experience is very rich for all UFMG students, regardless of being licentiate students. There, I was able to learn several things, and put to practice many theories that I studied in the university, not to mention the relationship and moral values learned in that environment. In my case, I’m a licentiate graduate, it was very useful, because I was able to put to practice and experiment with different ways to teach, as well as different techniques, materials and spaces. (Urban Intervention Workshop Monitor, 2nd semester/2012)

The evidence here presented shows the positive aspects of the relation established between UFMG, SMED and school units in developing PEI/SMED. Some of the aforementioned studies also acknowledge PEI/UFMG’s potential to educate students in the school system (CARVALHO, 2013) and train future teachers (CLEMENTINO, 2013). Additionally, Oliveira (2014), when analyzing how families whose children joined PEI/SMED made sense of the program, states that these families considered the activities offered by the program as a possibility to improve their education and development, as well as favor their future insertion in the labor market.

The experience here under study points that, contradictorily, despite the limits and structural problems PEI/SMED has faced, the sustainability challenges posed to PEI/UFMG and the tensions during its developments, the program was also beneficial to those involved. Among these we should highlight the expansion of learning opportunities for school students and their access to cultural goods, as well as their approximation to teachers in training, and the production of knowledge and dialogue with school reality.

FINAL REMARKS

This paper sought to evidence one experience that approximated the university and public policies destined to extend the number of school hours, which policy is in agreement with the current educational policy with PDE, such as PME and ProExt.

Dialogical interaction was the foundation for PEI/UFMG in the relations established with SMED and the school units, given the democratic construction and implementation of PEI/SMED, as may be seen in the documents pertaining to both programs. However, in practice, there were limiting circumstances that hindered a fuller carrying out of the roles, especially UFMG’s – challenges are yet to be met regarding the maintenance of a stable structure that may guarantee qualified action in the schools –, and SMED’s in the established relations – limitations in providing suitable facilities and structure for monitors working in the school, that is, a sufficient number of professionals to supervise their activities and the formative process of both school and university students. However, different subjects acknowledged the various contributions resulting from the relation established with the university, SMED and school units, while pointing to existing contradictions. These may help us see some of the implications that the relation between universities and school-hour extension policies may present in the experience under analysis.

This study showed the difficulty of translating into social practice a guideline that is not only complex but also contrary to capitalist logic – grounded on private property, class antagonism, work exploitation and profit. A general market economy, in which every thing becomes a commodity. Therefore, this study made possible to question the real possibilities to effectively instantiate a democratic state, its institutions and policies alongside capitalist landmarks.

In this sense, the need is felt to broader and deeper studies with a view to understand the relation the university has effectively established with school-hour extension policies in the country, and to investigate actions for education democratization, for the improvement of educational quality, regardless of the number of hours within school premises.

It should be noted that, after the study which served as a basis for this one was concluded (OLIVEIRA, 2014), educational policies in Brazil, such as the school-hour extension policy, began to face new challenges stemming from fiscal adjustments and budget cuts in education, labor and social security reforms, among other policies that will greatly affect basic and higher education in Brazil, as well as other social areas. These adjustments have imposed many restrictions to public education institutions, to social and labor rights, thus representing a fierce attack of economic powers on the working class. There is yet much to investigate on this topic, but it signals the need for critical evaluation of the current situation from the viewpoint of its structure and current policies, so as to develop resistance strategies. Such an assessment demands not only researchers, but also unions, education workers, students and other categories committed to free public and quality education, and with the interests of the working class.

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1 This paper is taken from a Master’s Thesis (OLIVEIRA, 2014), and is also an updated and expanded version of a work presented at the I Seminário Internacional de Educação Integral: observando realidades e construindo compromissos {1st International Seminar on Full Education: observing reality and committing}, and published in its Proceedings.

2 Interviews were undertaken with coordinators working at UFMG’s Pró-Reitoria de Extensão {Service Activities Office} (Proex) and at three schools participating in the said program. Methodological procedures were undertaken only after approval by the Conselho de Ética em Pesquisa da UFMG {UFMG’s Research Ethics Committee}. Data collection was undertaken after the subjects agreed to their participation and the participating institutions granted approval.

3 For more details on the movement’s propositions, organized by Associação Nacional dos Docentes do Nível Superior {National Higher Education Educators Association} (ANDES), later named Sindicato Nacional dos Docentes das Instituições de Ensino Superior {National Higher Education Educators Union} (ANDES-SN), see Revista Universidade e Sociedade, n. 1. São Paulo, Feb. 1991. Available at <http://www.andes.org.br/imprensa/publicacoes/imp-pub-775780476.pdf>. Accessed March 18, 2018.

4 Critical analyses of issues related to educational assessment policies may be consulted in researcher Luiz Carlos de Freitas’ blog. See https://avaliacaoeducacional.com/.

5 The concept of educating city began in Barcelona, in 1990, stemming from Charter of Educating Cities. The concept aims at integrating the offer of local and cultural activities so as to strengthen the formal and informal educating capacity. Its motto is “Learning in cities and with cities” (FUNDAÇÃO ITAÚ SOCIAL, 2011, p.36).

6 As may be seen below, several studies have been realized regarding the PEI/SMED experience, with various different objects under analysis.

7 She worked as an RMEBH teacher at the time of the interview.

8 She worked at UFMG as education technician at the time.

9 75 PEI/UFMG monitor assessment reports were analyzed, 45 from school A, 23 from school B and 6 from school C (UFMG, 2007/2013).

10 Teacher at RMEBH, who worked together with PEI/SMED management as mediator with the higher education institutions that joined the program.

11 Coordination six-month report and PEI/UFMG workshop monitors assessment report.

Received: June 20, 2017; Accepted: May 25, 2018

Contact: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Pró-Reitoria de Extensão, Av. Presidente Antônio Carlos, 6.627, sala 6.007, Campus Pampulha, Belo Horizonte|MG|Brasil, CEP 31.270-901

*

Master’s Degree in Education (UFMG); Doctoral student in Education (UFMG). Education Specialist at UFMG’s Pró-Reitoria de Extensão {Service Activities Office} (Proex). E-mail:<nfc@ufmg.br>.

**

Post-doctoral student at the School of Education Sciences – La Coruña – Galicia – Spain (2014). PhD in Education (2009). Faculty member of the School of Education’s Graduate Program in Education (FaE/UFMG). Coordinator of the Universitátis, a research group studying the university (FaE/UFMG) E-mail:<sdgmufmg2@gmail.com>.

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