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Trabalho, Educação e Saúde

Print version ISSN 1678-1007On-line version ISSN 1981-7746

Trab. educ. saúde vol.18  supl.1 Rio de Janeiro  2020  Epub Mar 16, 2020 


Education and Work in Health: dialogues and experiences in Brazil and Portugal

Tânia Celeste Matos Nunes1

Naomar Almeida Filho2

Carlos Henrique Assunção Paiva3

1Member of the General Coordination of Education, Vice President of Education, Communication and Information of Fiocruz, acting in Research in Health Education.

2Visiting Professor at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of São Paulo/USP. Full Professor (Retired) of the Institute of Collective Health of the Federal University of Bahia/UFBA. Former Rector of UFBA and Federal University of Southern Bahia/UFSB CNPq Researcher 1-A.

3Coordinator of the Observatory History and Health (COC/Fiocruz) and Professor of the Graduate Program in History of Science and Health (PPGHCS/COC/Fiocruz).

Knowledge also has history, the English historian Peter Burke (2016) has told us. If so, the resumption of the work of authors from the field of public health and education becomes a fundamental task as a way of recovering - and thus valuing - some of the bases of the thought of professional health education in Brazil. Additionally, such an effort, although great in view of the limits imposed by any journal, can objectively contribute to the necessary recovery of important contributions from different Brazilian educators. Without losing sight of this ambitious purpose, this supplement seeks to promote convergence and dialogue among thinkers in the fields of education and public health as a constitutive matrix of the editorial project.

However, it is worth noting: the presence of Brazilian and Portuguese authors in this supplement cannot be confused as part of a proposal that would have in view comparisons between such different national realities. Prior to this, the recognition of the differences allowed the construction of an editorial project with the consideration of convergences around the theme of school and health education, without a planned investment involving comparisons between the two countries. Without ever disregarding, therefore, differences in focus, approaches and methods, as well as research interests, we made the deliberate choice to build a Work, Education and Health supplement that did not take the contrast from a comparative South-North perspective. On the other hand, we define, first and foremost, issues that interest us all, a kind of common ground on which each partner of this project would make contributions more generally and possibly in dialogue with the specific realities in which they are inserted. In this sense, our partnership has produced far more thematic ‘complementarity’ between partners than initiatives in the field of comparative approach.

What gives unity to this supplement, in this sense, is a critical reflection on education, work and health education. We come together to introduce the education as a living space for practices in which the phenomenon known as ‘formation’ is held, and also for what concerns us in particular: where the preparation of the individual for health work takes place. From this perspective, Education is designated herein in capital letters, as the concept expands and unfolds to include all the spaces and scopes in which educational and formative processes are carried out in societies marked by Western modernity: from early childhood education to elementary school, to secondary school and again what interests us most delicately: the university.

Official health and education documents and specialized literature express a recognition of the social and symbolic position that educational institutions play in contemporary society. Parents, students, professionals, education and health managers, each one interacts with these institutions with a specific eye, mobilizing roles and possibilities that are reflected in curriculum proposals, formation programs, field-specific policies and ways in which they are implemented.

By committing to such reasoning, this supplement aims to engage in dialogue with the health and education sectors of governments and society as a whole. It seeks dialogue with educators and members of civil society interested in understanding the social and cultural processes of formation of new generations and in the formulation and reformulation of new practices in health and education systems.

The relationship between Education and health work is permeated by the expectation of professionalization, access to employment, earning salary, respectability as a professional, technical and ethical qualification for intellectual education and social recognition. In the functional context of the health and education sectors, specific guidelines are established with a view to restructuring their practices, demanding proposals capable of dialoguing with the dynamics of daily life, but which do not always favor a learning relationship between workers or future workers as individuals. This is certainly a question to be considered, but other related and pertinent questions have come up and stand out.

But does the reference to Education necessarily refer to institutions with spaces open to internal and external dialogues? Does the educational process converge on a necessary circularity of ideas and dynamics that are established in different social contexts? How do educational institutions relate to different sociocultural environments (and how should they relate)? Has the knowledge produced and shared by educational institutions responded well to the demands imposed by the world of work? Finally, on what ethical, programmatic and political bases should we think of a universalist teaching?

These and other general questions have troubled many past educators and continue to introduce dialogical energy into the debates over expanded social reproduction. The organizers and collaborators of this collection translate these concerns in the form of debates, shared readings and pedagogical experiences lived in various educational institutions in our country.

Without claiming to provide ready answers to such complex questions, this supplement brings together articles that address both the discussion about education - as we said, not exclusively professional - as the debate about professional health work in the contemporary scenario. Our expectation is that we can contribute some, and eventually update, approaches to citizenship education, the role of the school and an ethical and politically committed curriculum with a universalist perspective on society. Additionally, we intend to contribute to some issues related to vocational formation and health work, always in a perspective committed to universalist values and social justice. Evidently, we wish for good reading!


BURKE, Peter. Uma história social do conhecimento. São Paulo: Ed. Unesp, 2016. [ Links ]

Creative Commons License  This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.