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Educação em Revista

Print version ISSN 0102-4698On-line version ISSN 1982-6621

Educ. rev. vol.32 no.2 Belo Horizonte Apr./June 2016 


A curriculum pact: the national pact for literacy at proper age and the design of a national common base

Rita de Cássia Prazeres Frangella1  *

1Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Rio de Janeiro - RJ, Brasil


This study aims to analyze the National Pact for Literacy at Proper Age (PNAIC - Pacto Nacional pela Alfabetização na Idade Certa), identifying it as an initial movement, a part of debate and defense of a National Common Curriculum Base. Such analysis makes it possible to observe arising elements that become supporting arguments for such common base necessity: the right to learn as a qualitative democratization guarantee. I seek to highlight and debate the concepts of curriculum, knowledge and learning that support PNAIC, questioning what it proposes as a pact. Therefore, I defend that curriculum must be understood as articulation/production of signifiers, pointing out its discursive dimension, in dialog with both Homi Bhabha's and Ernesto Laclau's studies. The analysis of the forces that engender senses competition as well as the strategies created to hegemonize a particular sense sets the moto of this research.

KEYWORDS: Curriculum policy; Knowledge; Right.


Este estudo objetiva analisar o Pacto Nacional pela Alfabetização na Idade Certa (PNAIC) identificando-o como movimento inicial, parte do contexto de discussão e defesa de uma Base Nacional Comum Curricular. Por meio de sua análise, torna-se possível observar o delineamento de elementos que são retomados como argumentos a favor da necessidade dessa base comum: os direitos de aprendizagem como garantia de democratização qualitativa. Busco pôr em evidência e discutir as concepções de currículo, conhecimento e aprendizagem que sustentam o PNAIC, interrogando com o que se propõe pactuar. Para tanto, defendo a compreensão do currículo como articulação/produção de significados, destacando sua dimensão discursiva, em diálogo com os estudos de Ernesto Laclau e Homi Bhabha. Analisar as forças que engendram as disputas de sentidos e as estratégias criadas para hegemonização de um dado sentido se configura como mote para esta análise.

Palavras-chave: Política curricular; Conhecimento; Direito.

A matter of rights...

Education as a right: this is the motto that, based on what is assured and restated from the time the Federal Constitution (BRASIL, 1988) was promulgated, and guaranteed by the National Education Guidelines and Bases Law (LDB) 9.394/96, presents itself as a discussion trigger and t motivation for educational proposals that are currently provided in the national scenario, and that incite debates.

Education is everyone's right and shall be enforced, at the same time education quality is discussed. If the idea of education as a right is a fact, thickened by the perspective of education as a human right, it is important to question what is understood as right to education.

What we have seen is the idea of the right to education in a direct association between education and schooling and, from then on, the understanding of education as learning. Therefore, in order for the right to education, viewed under this perspective, to be ensured, it is necessary to limit what to learn and how to learn it. Thus, the issue of learning becomes central, and its effectuation unfolds to the detailed outlining, with the monitoring and validation required to determine whether the right has been ensured or not, by means of evaluation proposals. Such description, although presented here in a synthetic and superficial manner, may be associated with what is intended to be developed in the proposition of a National Core Curriculum (BNCC) for Basic Education. The same description does not emerge from a pseudo-inference, but rather from substantial indexes based on actions that are articulated to the proposition of BNCC, such as the actions in the National Pact for Literacy at the Right Age (PNAIC), whose discussions started in 2010-2011 and launching took place in 2012. Program development started in 2013, and is underway in the entire country.

PNAIC actions are mainly centered on continuing qualification of teachers, but is articulated around four structuring axes, namely: articulate actions among the different federal instances; qualification; evaluation; and development of teaching materials - which I have been arguing (FRANGELLA, 2014; 2015) as being outlined as public curricular policy.

One of the key discussions posed in the PNAIC and that is used as defense argument and, at the same time, based foundation on which the organization of material unfolds is the issue of the right to learning. Discussing the concept of "rights" on which the propositions are supported and, therefore, the discursive articulation that assigns meaning to "curriculum" and "knowledge" is the focus of the analyses developed in this paper, which enables unfolding the problematization around the new BNCC.

Education and right: equality with horizons?

The centrality of the right to learning derives from a practically unquestionable assertion: the right to education. If, on the one hand, there is a practically undeniable consensus around this assertion, on the other hand, the meanings of "right" and "education" defended must be questioned. McCowan (2010) problematizes the issue by exposing that, if the right to education is defended and it is desirable that this perspective exists, there are also problematic points involving the discussion: the identification between education and schooling; the restriction of the absolute right to the elementary level; the absence of a discussion on the forms assumed by education.

Therefore, if education is a human right, does it unfolds into the right to learning? According to McCowan (2015), in English, justifications for stating the right to education are made based on two elements: socialization and autonomy. Socialization applies to welfare, the knowledge required to be in the world and live with others; and autonomy refers to agency, the possibility to deliberate, which, the author adds, also consists of dual components: ethic action and understanding.

Based on this, the complexity of understanding what "right to education" means is expanded. If, on the one hand, the right to learning is evidenced as integral part of the defense for the right to education, learning in itself, on the other, does not ensure the other dimensions of the right to education as a human right. Learning is aligned to the idea of schooling; and the author warns, about his, on the identification between education/schooling as reductionist and fallacious.

This happens because, although the right to education has been defended as a human right, thus the understanding the this right is univocal and universally valid; it is necessary to question universality, equality and consensus discourses (FRANGELLA and RAMOS, 2013) that are aligned to the idea of reduced right to schooling. Seeing as such, the idea of universality corresponds to an equality perspective with a democratic horizon. However, as Butler and Laclau (2008, p. 411) advise us, "depending on the circumstances, equality may lead to reinforcing or weakening differences". McCowan (2015, p. 30) indicates the characteristics to enable understanding education as a human right and, among them, he highlights:

The right to education is a right to educational processes, rather then inputs or outputs In particular, there are problems with associating the right with access to schooling. Furthermore, a right to education cannot stipulate universal outcomes, given the diverse values attached to it, the unpredictability of education and the need for spontaneity and freedom in learning. People have a right to engage in meaningful processes of learning.

I consider this as a striking questioning before the logic imprinted in the idea of right to learning that has been linked to the propositions about the formulation of curricular and qualification proposals we have monitored.

The idea of the right to learning as the basis of the educational policy proposals focused clearly shows the key role played by knowledge in this discussion. Direct association between knowledge and learning reduces the understanding of the right to education, leaving the formative dimension that applies to the agency on second place. Along this line, the idea of right to learning unfolds in the school's duty to teach. Undoubtedly, the school is responsible for the teaching activity, but reducing education to its content teaching dimension, also undoubtedly implies in narrowing the idea of education to that of teaching, which may not be understood as equivalent. Macedo (2012, p. 179) warns: "Assuming that there is no education without difference, I argue that school, in order to educate, needs to place teaching under suspicion. If this does not mean not teaching, it at least means moving teaching from the school's neuralgic core".

Taking knowledge as the conceptual mark that delimit the proposition of public policies, which, under the focus of learning and, thus, of teaching, make way for centralizing curricula based on the definition of a right to learning is - in the case in question, based on PNAIC proposition - occurs in the direct understanding that unfolds in learning goals. Alferes and Mainardes (2014) bring up the use of the idea of learning rights as a replaced for "learning expectations", an expression that appears in the Basic Schooling National Curricular Guidelines, and whose concept is challenged, as we may notice in the synthesis document for the "Congresso Internacional - Educação: uma agenda urgente" (International Conference - Education: an urgent agenda", held in Brasília in 2011, by the organization "Todos pela Educação" (All for Education), an important voice in thse discussions in a partnership with the National Education Council. In the document "Definition of learning expectations - reference texts"1, among defenses and refusals in the discussion about the need for learning expectations, these are always listed as linked to a precise definition required that may instruct that these expectations be met. It is stated that:

Firstly, we would like to suggest that the term used not be the one of minimum learning expectations. We need to attempt to define a common national basis for learning expectations, which address curricular parameters, contents and didactic guidelines required for these expectations to be met effectively. (DANNEMANN, 2011, p. 2)

Along these lines, what is observed is the discussion that tries to observe the guiding principle for the definition of expectations, and, in different forms, this is referred to basic education and learning needs, terms whose definitions are made difficult due to lack of clarity regarding the indication of common contents - of a common basis. In addition we have that, for expectation to, actually, be effective, equity, seen as equality, needs to be ensured:

Equity to ensure quality: if quality must be offered to all students, equity requires that educators are able to handle knowledges, methods and technologies that enable them to meet effectively and efficiently those who come from different realities, ensuring equal opportunities to all of them. (NEVES, 2011, p. 2)

Therefore, ensuring equity means ensuring the right to learning. Thus, learning expectations transmute into rights, although there are no alterations in that which they indicate - the teaching objects and the learning goals. Nevertheless, there is, undoubtedly, a signification slide, as, when we no longer consider an expectation, which has in itself an idea of probability, even if of something feasibly effective, but implies expecting, but rather consider a right, we then require normalization, legitimizing adequate ways to achieve its effectiveness. In the words of Bobbio (2004, p. 8), "there are no rights without duties; and there are no rights or duties without conduct standards".

Not ensuring learning means violating the student's rights, a right aligned to equality here. Butler and Laclau (2008, p. 408) allow us to problematize this signification as they discuss the use of the significant "equality":

Not only do I believe that these two notions {difference and equality} are not incompatible, but I would even add that the proliferation of differences is the precondition for the expansion of the logic of equality. To say that two things are equal - i.e. equivalent to each other in some respects - presupposes that they are different from each other in some other respects (otherwise there would be no equality, but identity). In the political field, equality is a type of discourse which tries to deal with differences; it is a way of organizing them, if you want.

However, in reading the document about Learning Rights (BRAZIL, 2012a) and other with which it is associated, such as the PNAIC, we notice that equality, seen as horizon, implies that difference be subsumed, in democracy ideas that are supported by the idea of standardization as a means for equity. The highlighted commonness to be shared ends up resulting in homogeneity, which is in opposite relation with difference. The alignment of the right to equality unfolds here in normalization, which seeks, in determining a fixed content/procedure/goal format, to ensure right/equality. Thus, unifying objects of knowledge and procedures in dealing with it is seen as the way to go. Would this be the democratic way?

I share with Laclau and Mouffe (2004) the idea that the political ground is crossed by contingencies and that this is the very condition for producing democratic projects. By bringing the idea of contingency, I refer to the logic of liminality and indetermination, in which the political struggle is staged as negotiation and complex signification process, which is takes place and is marked by alterity. Conceiving alterity not as multiple - or, rather, many of the same - implies conceiving the difference not as something to be eliminated, but as the articulator of the intersubjectivity moment that enables agencying. If, according to Laclau (2011), it is possible to think agencying in terms of decision which takes place in the realm of the undecidable, the contingency is the temporality of the undecidable, and, in these terms, I use Bhabha's (2003, p. 259) argument to state the agency

{...} negotiates its own authority through a process of iterative "unpicking", and incommensurable insurgent relinking. It singularizes the totality of authority by suggesting that the agency requires a grounding, but it does not require a totalization of those grounds; it requires movement and manoeuvre, but does not require a temporality of continuity or accumulation; it requires direction and contingent closure, but no teleology and holism.

Therefore, I try to argue that it is not about absolute refutation and polarization between universality, signified from a legal notion, and particularism, understood as subjectivist and relativist focus. By anchoring on Laclau and Mouffe's (2004) theories, we do not intend to deal with universalism/particularism as opposite and excluding logics; the authors argue that they are interconnected dimensions, and their imbrication is essential. Thus, they repel the dichotomic and polarized view between universality and particularism, as analyzed by Norval (2008), and point towards beyond the dichotomy between consensus and dissent. The democratic horizon prefigures in the constant tension involving universal-contingent-particular, in this meantime, interval dimension for "anchoring signifiers" (Bhabha, 2003, p. 259).

I ask: is it possible to predict the possibility of negotiation in what has been defended as a right? And, here, I reaffirm: it is about questioning the idea of right to learning, and not of right to education, which implies thinking the complexity of human action, including agency there. By problematizing the right to learning as a foundation, I also do it in discussing questioning the very meaning of this foundation. Bobbio (2004), in his historical-philosophical analysis of the constitution of human rights, during what he calls the age of rights, discusses whether an absolute foundations is possible and, if so, it would be desirable. In this line of argument, the author states that:

From the purposed aimed at by the foundation search, arises the illusion of absolute foundation - that is, the illusion that - from accumulating and preparing reasons and arguments - we will end up finding the reason and the irresistible argument, to which no one may refrain from adhering. {...} Before the irresistible argument, the mind necessarily bows, as does the will before the irresistible power. The ultimate foundation may no longer be questioned, as well as the ultimate power shall be obeyed (sic) without questioning. Whoever resists the first is placed outside the community of rational persons, as well as whoever rebels against the latter is placed outside the community of just and good people. (BOBBIO, 2004, p. 16)

Based on this, the author discusses about the search for the absolute foundation being unfounded and about the impossibility of a precise notion, warning that this search is not only illusion; many times it works as a pretext for defending conservative positions.

What stands out here is the idea that the right seats on a foundation. In the case analyzed here, the right to learning has, as its foundation, based on a notion of equity as equality, the access to knowledge. From this, we infer a notion of knowledge as something fixed, given and validated and that, therefore, dispenses with other justifications and/or validations that indicate their relevance and pertinence - are knowledges the absolute foundation? What knowledges? Are such questions, in the direction taken by the discussion, applicable?

PNAIC: the way towards a common base?

It is important to clarify that, by focusing the analysis on the PNAIC, I understand it as institutive of curricular policies, in a duplication movement, signaled by the and. It is not about "neither one nor the other" (Bhabha, 2003), but about something else, duplicated in the terms proposed b Bhabha (2003): duplication of the significant marks the spot of ambivalence, of a postponed presence - a presence by means of absence, ambivalent in iteration duplicity.

Laclau (2011) draws attention to iteration as part of the hegemonic operation, in a duplication of the repetition dimension and meaning displacement, which, from a Derridean perspective, includes iteration not as continuity, but as additive process, repetition in a plurality of instances, which, in a progressing emptiness, articulate theses iterations in a hegemonic formation.

The use of PNAIC for analysis is justified as it is presented as a strategic action in the area of formulation of educational policies for Basic Schooling, due to its extension, coverage and adhesion movement: data provided by the Basic Education Department (SEC) at the Education and Culture Department (MEC) state that 317 thousand literacy teachers are involved in the program, 15 thousand study advisors, 5,420 cities, 38 public universities in the 26 states and the Federal District. We noticed that elements have been designed in the PNAIC, which are being included in the agenda of the BCCN formulation proposals, among which, taking learning rights as the articulating axis for the propositions made. This is clear in the ordinance that institutes the PNAIC, in which the following is defined:

  • Art. 2 The actions of the Pact are hereby instituted, by means of which the MEC, in a partnership with higher learning institutions, will support the states, Federal District and cities' public teaching systems in the literacy and lettering of students up to the end of the 3rd year of basic education, in rural and urban schools, and which are characterized: .

  • I - by the integration and structuring, based on the Literacy Teacher Continuing Qualification, of actions, materials and circular, and MEC pedagogical references that contribute to the literacy and the lettering;

  • II - by the sharing of the program among the Union, States, Federal District and Municipalities;

  • III - by the guarantee of learning and development rights, to be checked by external annual evaluations.

  • {...}

  • Art. 5 The Pact actions are designed to:

  • {...} V- build proposals for the definition of learning and development rights for children in the first years in basic education.

  • (BRAZIL, 2012a)

Learning rights are provided by means of the document Conceptual and Methodological elements for the definition of learning and development rights in the Literacy Cycle (BRAZIL, 2012b). As it contextualizes:

This document is an essential part of a government policy that is materialized in MP No. 586/2012, announced by the President of the Republic on the same day the National Pact for Literacy at the Right Age was launched, in November 2012, with the signature of adhesion by 5240 cities of the 27 states in the federation. (BRAZIL, 2012b, p. 7, original emphasis)

The articulation between the PNAIC presentations and the aforementioned document explains the strength assigned to PNAIC itself and states the key role played by knowledge and the conception on which this concept seats - thus the understanding that it is about using teaching as a means for qualifying education, which is specified in the brief summary provided in the document itself:

The present document is organized in two parts that address the General foundations of the Literacy Cycle, as well as the Rights and Teaching goals and development by area of knowledge and curricular component of Portuguese Language which consubstantiate in the learning of 6 to 8-year-old children.

The first part deals with the current context of the curricular movement in the Basic Schooling and with the concept of learning as human right. It also defends the concept of childhood as the singular universe of this learning, and provides the curriculum and continuous cycle of learning of these rights. All concepts are essential to guide this path, considering the evaluation and its different possibilities for assuring these rights.

In the Second Part, each area of knowledge and curricular component for Portuguese language define their learning rights, the axes that structure these rights and the different learning goals for each axis, in a list consisting of about 30 rights, 20 structuring axes and 256 learning purposes.

MEC's subsequent task, after approval by the CNE, the development of methodological notebooks that produce reflections on practices about how to effectuate the learning goals in the thousands of classrooms in the entire national territory.

Under the responsibility of MEC, the document is now sheltered by CNE to be analyzed, debated and normalized by it. It should be kept in mind that it is a reference text and subject to additions after it has been subjected to the different voices still to be included. This is intended to recover the many years of this historical debt of having our children and youths fully literate. It is a debt, and everyone's rights, a duty of the State and a commitment to society. (BRAZIL, 2012b, p. 8-9, original emphasis)

That is, the definition of rights unfolds into the indication of goals and their relative contents, but, to ensure the guarantee of the rights, there should be the indication of what needs to be done to achieve it - thus modulating teaching forms with definition of methodological procedures.

Therefore, we identify the clear link between the formulation of rights to learning and the development of the PNAIC, the first being the foundation from which the latter unfolds:

As a consequence of this intense cooperative work, this document contains the definition of the Learning Rights and Goals and Development for the Literacy Cycle. The fundamental principles and assumptions are developed in the Formation Books in the National Pact for Literacy at the Right Age, therefore, there is an intense articulation between the assumptions explained in the current document, and the texts included in the National Pact for Literacy at the Right Age materials, which will be provided by MEC to guide the teaching practice, starting in 2013. (BRAZIL, 2012b, p. 17)

Therefore, what is evidenced is how the learning rights, expressed in the form of learning goals, guide the work to be developed in the PNAIC scope, and this is consubstantiated in the very organization of the work proposal, as exposed in the Caderno de Formação de Professores (Teacher Qualification Book) (BRASIL, 2012c, p. 24-25) in the National Pact for Literacy at the Right Age forming structure presentation:

Table 1 The National Pact for Literacy at the Right Age forming structure  

Table 1 continuation 

Source: BRAZIL, 2012c, p. 24-25.

Upon reading the tab le, it is possible to identify the articulation among rights, curriculum and knowledge. The structure presented clearly places emphasis on the definition of a curriculum, as well as its understanding in terms of operationalizing the formulated goals, indicated based on the rights. Therefore, as a right, there is a significance displacement, which enables the understanding, that:

The present document, relative to the Learning and Development Rights and Goals, therefore, it is not a curriculum proposal, but it is a landmark in search of the articulation involving practices and needs arising from the school daily routine. It is a proposal for delimiting basic principles associated to students' rights, which may bring more subsidies for system managers, in different instances, in their teaching and learning objective creation practices in schools, and for teachers to plan didactic situations that favor learning, considering, for such, the teaching goals; the interaction situations in which students participate, and the ones in which they are entitled to participate; the knowledges and abilities they master, and those they are entitled to master. (BRAZIL, 2012b, p. 29)

Having said that, even if the rights do not bring in a direct manner a curricular proposition, they assign meaning to the curriculum in and incisive in that for which it is responsible: outlining the teaching/learning forms, planning to achieve goals. Undoubtedly, this is an important dimension and may not be faded in the development of curricular proposals, however, what is discussed is that, upon focusing only on these dimensions, what is understood is a sense of curriculum under a technical-instrumental perspective, according to which the appropriate arrangement of procedural issues and the precise organization of these movements to ensure the development of the pedagogical work. Thus, learning is an issue in which exogenous factors prevail, and are marked by technical issues. What about the contextual dimensions of the teaching-learning process? It should be emphasized that:

Thus, knowledges produced in the scope of science and other knowledge construction scopes that circulate in school undergo alterations (simplifications, cuts) in the school process, in order to ensure there is progress in learning, continuity, reflection and systematization. Knowledges, therefore, become school contents. It is necessary, however, that this transformation process is watched to that the references of the extra-school spheres are not lost. Contents shall be faced as object of learning, but need to be appropriated in situations as similar as possible to extra-school practices. Under this perspective, different organization forms shall be observed (sic) as well as the relation with knowledge and, more specifically with school knowledge. Above all, the existence of curricula with different concepts about what to teach and how to organize didactic situations, shall be observed. (BRAZIL, 2012b, p. 29)

It is stated that the organization of teaching and learning situations shall be done with clarity and precision:

Ongoing reflections, in the Education Department scope, based on the results of large scale evaluations - Provinha Brasil, Prova Brasil, ENEM and SAEB - and the development of the National Pact for Literacy at the Right Age and considering teacher demands for greater clarity and precision on why teach, what to teach, how to teach and when to teach, have led directors at the Department of Education to develop and produce documents that explain the students' Learning and Development Rights and Goals. (BRAZIL, 2012b, p. 14-15)

Knowledge is being understood as content to be taught, a fixed and stable data that enables observing the discussion about its insertion in the teaching and learning process may be discussed in terms of handling, of thinking adequate forms of transmission.

Observing the links established between rights/curriculum and knowledge, upon analyzing PNAIC material, using Unit 1, which deals with "Literacy curriculum: concepts and principles" (BRASIL, 2012d), the discussion about curriculum is done tangentially, using as reference the material prepared by MEC "Questions about curriculum" (BEAUCHAMP; PAGEL; NASCIMENTO, 2007). In this document, we highlight:

the discussion about curriculum involves different aspects, such as school knowledges, procedures and social relations that make up the scenario in which the knowledges are taught and learned, transformations that are desired on the students, values desired to be ingrained, and the identities desired to be built. By speaking about curriculum, authors refer to "school experiences that unfold around knowledge, amidst social relations, and which contribute for building our students' identities". (BRAZIL, 2012d, p. 7)

Thus, the debate about the curriculum appears amidst arguments about literacy path, literacy concepts and the need to organize a curriculum based on such concepts that, in accordance with the section highlighted above, articulate around the definition of which learning shall be ensured, and how to act to make sure this is effective. Even if the material Questions about the curriculum (BEAUCHAMP; PAGEL; NASCIMENTO, 2007) also highlights the perspective that the curricula are culturally guided and the connections between curriculum and culture, in the volume sequence, when dealing with the concepts of literacy, the subtitle of this section indicates "What to teach in the literacy cycle", pointing towards the path that is outlined in the articulation curriculum/literacy, which is evidenced in the statement:

It is necessary, therefore, to define learning rights associated to the different Portuguese Language teaching axes to be developed throughout the three first years in Basic School, such as those suggested in the first issue of the Pre-Lettering Program material, which proposes a set of abilities to be developed by students in the first three years of Basic Schooling. Another example of learning right proposition may be viewed in the section entitled "Compartilhando" (Sharing) in this book. The main purpose of this proposition is that such example may serve as a starting point for the discussion, in each city, about knowledges and abilities that may me proposed in official documents that guide the work in schools. (BRAZIL, 2012d, p. 22)

At this moment, it is proposed that the definition of these rights be dialogued and contextually made, however, upon reading the set of PNAIC books and even the document about Learning Rights (BRAZIL, 2012b), they are defined and are foundations for the work to be developed in the scope of qualification. If we return to the very definition of the PNAIC, provided in the ordinance that institutes it, and the signs observed upon reading the material, it is perceived how the PNAIC are articulated to a greater movement for the formulation of a National Core Curriculum, in addition to the fact that qualification of literacy teachers within the scope of the National Pact for Literacy at the Right Age/PNAIC constitute circular references for literacy, making way for reflections and actions that may unfold in a generalized manner for other years/stages of basic education.

This common curriculum, in the alignment of curriculum/knowledge/right/evaluation, implies in the understanding of the common as the unique, as, if the assurance of right guarantee is articulated, they shall be verified based on universal evaluations, namely, the National Literacy Evaluation (ANA), also developed simultaneously and in connection with the PNAIC.

Considering this progressive approach to learning in the Literacy Cycle, this document provides Learning Goals organized around Structuring Axes. These Axes, in turn, have been conceived so as to ensure Learning and Development Rights that compose each Knowledge Area and the Portuguese Language Curricular Component. For each Learning Goal, in this proposal, the teacher will find a continuous I/A/C development scale associated to it. These letters that are shown beside each Learning Goal indicate the progress expected during children's development in the Literacy Cycle.

This progress enables the school planning to be procedurally evaluated, as we have the possibility to monitor the development throughout the first three years, thus ensuring such goals will be assured by the school. (BRAZIL, 2012b, p.21-22)

Therefore, this entanglement lets us see the search for precision and clarity, also possible based on the definition of learning contents, ensured as rights.

The centrality of knowledge as signification key for what is understood as curriculum is more evident in Unit 1 of year 2 (BRAZIL, 20102e). The first qualification book is entitled "Curriculum in the literacy cycle: consolidation and monitoring of the teaching and learning process". In it there is a discussion towards the definition of the meaning of curriculum, which is defended in the PNAIC scope. In the first text in this volume, it is stated that:

The school's function has been increasing as the right to education broadens, considering individualities and subjectivities, in the perspective that attempts to form subjects that are ethically committed to justice, solidarity, peace. However, considering the learning associated to ethical values does not mean disregarding school contents.

In their document "Questions about the curriculum", Moreira and Candau (2007)2 identify the current need to recover the student's right to knowledge. They will recover, therefore, the links among culture, curriculum and learning.

As we conceive education as a right, we are compelled to think inclusion as a curriculum organization principle. This means considering the need that all students have access to knowledge and advance in their learning. For such, considering learning rights as a social commitment is critical, in order to ensure that, by the end of the 3rd year in Basic Education all students are literate. (BRAZIL, 2012e, p. 6)

Having said that, we start, then, to expose how this understanding unfolds in a curricular proposition, enunciated here in terms of leaning space-time organization and its submission to the absolute foundations (BOBBIO, 2004): the right to learning.

As we prepare a curricular proposal for the literacy cycle, it is necessary to make basic decisions that involve issues associated with the "what", the "why" and the "how" to teach, in connection with the "to whom". Such issues are associated with content, experiences, lesson plans, goals, and to evaluation procedures and processes.

According to Veiga (2006)3, these decisions are related to (i) content relevance (we must know it is not neutral, but rather marked by interests by the different social classes); (ii) intentionality (it is necessary to define intentionality to reach the purpose based on the goals); (iii) type of content, as it must be meaningful and critical (it is necessary to favor quality in these contents, rather than quantity of information. as well as the selection of these contents must be adequate to the students' social reality). (BRAZIL, 2012e, p. 9)

What is noticed is what is discussed, in a mere format arrangement, is how to organize teaching in the literacy process. Although this idea is projected based on a lettering perspective, based on social reading and writing practices, surpassing, in its conceptualization and discussion, the instrumental logic of learning how to read and write, and although important elements are emphasized - such as the singular nature of childhood -, the need to refer to extra-school practices, to diversified materials, to the silence surrounding knowledge taken as a given, and its standardization on behalf of an equality that leads to a perspective in which curricular discussion ends at the learning grading and in decisions of methodological nature. It is correct to depoliticize an important discussion by characterizing knowledge as a fixed and stable unit, making room, also, for a hierarchy of those knowledges worth teaching, whose learning must be, therefore, ensured to all, as a right. What about other knowledges? In fact, is there room for other knowledges?

By questioning the central nature of knowledge, I do not do so o deny the importance of this discussion in the curricular debate, but rather I put an epistemological authority under suspicion which, being protected by the scientific coat that qualifies knowledge, makes it different and normalizes it, emptying the discussion about it, which I understood as depoliticizing movement. Politicizing enables understanding knowledge as something that takes place within the permanent political struggle through which temporary meanings are instituted, give way to difference, and enable the relation with knowledge, not as an end in itself, definite and universal, but as an expression of this procedural hegemonic dispute, whose horizon is always incomplete.

Is knowledge, whether characterized as scientific or not, also a political-cultural production? I consider knowledge as an institutional form of a discourse, and this requires understanding its production within the political struggle. The cultural dimension of knowledge may be discussed in a dialogue with Bhabha (2003), as he analyzes the production of an authority to differentiate in culture analysis. From then on, he discusses the ambivalence caused by uncertainty, by rupture, which is "neither the contestation of contradictories nor the antagonism of dialectical opposition" (BHABHA, 2003, p. 188). The author argues that, based on the colonial context analysis - which places side by side, as opposite fields, pre-constituted cultures, and, at the same time, creates normalizing strategies, which, by means of a cultural authority, enable generalizations -, there is room for the ambivalent movements, which implies a partial incorporation of native culture, and another part that is not understandable, in a double inscription which emerges as uncertainty and shakes culture authority.

PNAIC analysis as ways for the BCCN may be endorsed by the propositions presented in document "Pátria Educadora: a qualificação do ensino básico como obra de construção nacional" (Education Nation: qualification of basic schooling as a work for national construction) (BRASIL, 2015). One of the axes of this national construction is the reorganization of the curricular paradigm and the teaching and learning modes, which would become concrete with the definition of the BCCN. About this, it is stated that:

Curriculum as a sequence of qualifications: standard and special sequences. The National Curriculum must be, therefore, organized as a sequence of qualifications, acquired and exercised in variable fields, under the sign of prevalence of deepening over coverage, as high school advances to its higher steps. (An interesting example of an effort in this sense is the Australian national curriculum)(BRAZIL, 2015, p. 10-11)

Both the standard curricular sequence and the special sequences need to be effectuated in the rich repertoire of protocols provided to the teachers. Protocols are practical and detailed examples of how to lead each class in each discipline. They will replace the schoolbook in their undue function as residual curricular guide. (BRAZIL, 2015, p. 11)

If the concept of "curriculum" that crosses the propositions provided has not been made clear, the extracts highlighted enable infer the foreseeability and predictability that is attached to the qualification of teaching - a detailed control of the actions that would ensure and validate results, what would enable correcting deviations more precisely.

The idea of curricular organization presented incurs in homogenization, with the proposal of protocols, of definitions that would leave school and its teachers in the role of adapting, adjusting execution. Sequences may be read as planning and organization forms for the pedagogical actions which do not put in debate, in itself, what is planned and organized - knowledges are given and backed up in their proposition by the right to learning, an unequivocal, therefore unquestionable, right.

What do the centrality of knowledge and the articulation knowledge/right bring to the curriculum discussion?

Is this the issue that needs to be raised, in different spheres, thus mobilizing the debate around what meaning is assigned to the "common" that qualifies the basis: single/homogenized? Who discusses what is common? With whom?

Other than this, amidst the defense of rights, I do not consider important thinking that rights must, indeed, be ensured, but must not be thought in a reductionist and pragmatic manner. Therefore, more than the right to learning, it is necessary to catch a glimpse of the right to education, which, although includes the instructional dimension, is not limited to it. In this sense, I believe it is necessary to defend whole rights, rather than half of them, as suggested in Antunes, Frommer and Britto's composition (1987):

Drink is water!

Food is pasture!

What are you thirsty for?

What are you hungry for?

We don't only want food

We want food, fun and art

We don't only want food

We want exits to anywhere

We don't only want food

We want drinks, fun, ballet

We don't only want food

We want life as life wants it

Drink is water!

Food is pasture!

What are you thirsty for?

What are you hungry for?

We don't just want to eat

We want to eat and make love

We don't just want to eat

We want pleasure to relieve the pain

We don't just want money

We want money and happiness

We don't just want money

We want it whole, not just half of it


Fun and art


Fun, ballet

As life wants it

Desire, need, want

Need, desire, eh!

Need, want.


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Received: August 11, 2015; Accepted: November 06, 2015

Mailing: (UERJ/PROPED) Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rua São Francisco Xavier, 524, 12ª Andar, sala 12037, Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil, CEP 20.550-900


PhD in Education by the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Rio de Janeiro - RJ, Brasil, Professor in the Graduate Program in Education - Proped. Coordinates the research group GRPESq Curriculum, qualification and education in human rights. FAPERJ-UERJ Pro-scientist; Our State/FAPERJ Young Scientist. Email: <>.

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