‘Rain’ in the classroom and dengue outbreak: structure of schools in MG harms teaching

‘Rain’ in the classroom and dengue outbreak: structure of schools in MG harms teaching
‘Rain’ in the classroom and dengue outbreak: structure of schools in MG harms teaching
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Of the ten Brazilian schools with the best results in the National High School Exam (Enem), three are in Minas Gerais, and none are public. The discrepancy in opportunities is usually attributed to the dedication of teachers and students, but the school community and education experts point to a series of factors, including the infrastructure of educational institutions. According to the latest report from the “Operation Education” of the Court of Auditors of the State of Minas Gerais (TCE-MG), seven out of every ten state schools have apparent inadequacies in the ordinance, and six have problems in the structure of the classrooms. The government of Minas Gerais reported that it invested almost R$16 million in the institutions mentioned in the document alone. In the midst of the largest dengue epidemic in the state, the scrapping of buildings ends up causing an increase in mosquito outbreaks.

One of the units that is constantly the target of complaints is the Governador Milton Campos State School, known as the Central State School, in the Center-South region of Belo Horizonte. This Tuesday (April 2), a leak in the institution’s roof was released by students. The gutters on the roof of the building could not withstand the overload of rainwater and gave way, causing flooding in the classroom. The government of Minas Gerais argued that the problem is the result of heavy rains that hit the capital and did not interrupt activities. The site was cleaned and an inspection was carried out to assess the necessary interventions.

At the institution, however, the complaint about the roof is not new. According to a teacher, who preferred not to be identified, the school management had already requested the repair. “It was obvious that the school structure would not withstand rain like yesterday (2). The Central State needs to undergo urgent reform. A request has been made for the roof to be renovated for three months, and no response has come from the government of Minas Gerais”, he denounces. The State did not respond to the teacher’s demand, only informing that the preparation of “a complementary restoration project for the building, which is listed as a historical heritage site”, is in progress, without setting deadlines for execution.

The teacher recently had dengue fever and believes he became infected because the school is a focus of the disease. He complains that the unit received new items, but that the structure remains neglected. “The school has chairs, benches, trash cans, everything is brand new, and investment in infrastructure is not made. In fact, there are parts of the school that are flooded, containing water”, he denounces.

One of the Central State students, who also did not want to be identified, lists a series of defects that she regrets having become routine. “I can’t feel safe, there’s even a lack of fire extinguishers and fire hoses. This year alone, we have already run out of water at least six times,” she says. The TCE-MG report found that 88% of schools in Minas Gerais have a regular water supply.

She regrets the situation at school and the effort she has to make to focus on classes. “When I compare it to the reality of students in private schools, it becomes clear that I have to make twice as much effort to be able to focus and actually learn the content. It’s frustrating. Today (April 3) it’s very hot and there’s no water,” she says. The Minas government did not respond regarding the Central State water supply.

According to the State, the TCE-MG report selected and inspected a small number of schools in relation to the total. “The State Department of Education is unaware of the criteria used to select the schools in the state education network that were visited,” he informed. In any case, the government allocated almost R$16 million to improve the infrastructure of the schools mentioned.

“It is also necessary to highlight that in the last five years of the current administration, around R$4.5 billion were invested in improvements to the infrastructure of schools in the state education network”, continues the government. Of the investments, R$70 million were allocated, in 2022 and 2023, for electronic monitoring and surveillance, “aimed at ensuring greater security for the school community and public assets”, he informed. The initiative attempts to reduce the percentage of institutions with apparent inadequacies in the ordinance.

Infrastructure and education: what is the relationship?

According to pedagogy specialist and director of the Single Union of Education Workers of Minas Gerais (Sindi-UTE/MG), Marcelle Amador, learning is always affected by infrastructure barriers. “How does this affect teaching? You don’t need to go very far. When a student is distracted all the time because heavy rain is threatening the structure of the school, when he does not have access to water, is in a precarious room, he faces many more barriers to learning than someone who is comfortable. We see teachers and students become heroes to overcome all adversities and provide education. They become an exception,” she assesses.

Amador reinforces that problems with the structure of institutions even have consequences for the health of the school community. “It is an inequality that has increased in recent years. The flawed structure harms students, workers, teachers, everyone. In addition to the learning rate, health as well. Is it a critical period for dengue fever, and do we have schools that are mosquito hotspots? A school? This is quite serious. Sick young people don’t study. We have institutions that are being left aside”, he continues.

In general, the government of Minas Gerais claims to have allocated more than R$150 million to all municipalities in the state to combat diseases caused by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, in addition to promoting a D-Day against arboviruses and training health teams. A campaign to update the portfolio vaccination of children and young people within schools is being planned by the Minas Gerais State Health (SES) and State Education (SEE) secretariats, as previously informed by the government.

Mother denounces dengue outbreaks at school in Greater BH: ‘students are sick’

Hairdresser Jeniffer Alves, 33, mother of a student at João de Almeida school, in Ribeirão das Neves, in the metropolitan region of BH, denounces the increase in dengue infection in students, teachers and workers. She recorded photos of the accumulation of stagnant water, debris and open forest around the institution. The school wall collapsed at the beginning of the year and has not yet been rebuilt, and an improvised measure was taken with a drop in the earth. It is one of the cases that is similar to 70% of schools with inadequacies in the entrance.


Photos show accumulation of stagnant water and debris in the school’s common areas

“My son’s teacher caught dengue, and we continue to hear of students with dengue fever recurring in the mothers’ group. With these rains, it becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. This school, unfortunately, is decadent. The structure is terrible, the surroundings, full of weeds, give the impression that anyone can enter”, complains Jeniffer.

Regarding the accusation, the State informs that the João de Almeida state school is undergoing renovation work through the Mãos à Obra na Escola Program. “For this unit, almost R$875 thousand were allocated to carry out improvements to the infrastructure of the school building, such as renovating bathrooms, canteens, changing floors, painting, in addition to rebuilding part of the wall”, he guarantees.

As for the institution’s wall, repairs are scheduled after the rainy season. “The Department of Education clarifies that, at the moment, renovation work is underway on the inside of the school. To rebuild the wall, the company responsible for the works is waiting for the rainy season to pass, so that it will be able to start the works. However, to avoid damage to the teaching unit and provide greater security to the school community, the site was temporarily closed with walls.”

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Rain classroom dengue outbreak structure schools harms teaching

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