How technology can accelerate the advancement of education in the country

On Teacher's Day, find out how companies and civil society are using technology to improve access and quality of education in Brazil.

Accessible, quality education for all children is a fundamental right listed decades ago in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, ensuring free, quality education is still a challenge for many countries – especially the poorest ones. The goal is so important that it is one of the first items on the UN (United Nations) list of Sustainable Development Goals, which 193 countries have committed to achieving by 2030.

Brazil still has a long way to go to reach the goal related to education. At the end of 2020, 5 million children and adolescents were without access to education, according to the PNAD Covid-19 from IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics). Hence the importance of uniting governments, companies and civil society to increase investment in education that is truly inclusive and transformative for those who currently do not have access to quality education.

“The only way to see a prosperous and equitable country is through education. What industrialization did with the development of countries in the past, technology is doing today”, comments Gustavo Vitti, vice-president of People and Sustainability at iFood. The company is a signatory to the UN Global Compact (United Nations), the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, and is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Our plan is to focus on partnerships that help people in the most vulnerable communities, public school students and teachers and delivery drivers and their families to enter the job market in the new digital economy.”
In this field, one of the objectives of iFood Decola – iFood's Education pillar – is to help Brazil become a powerhouse in technology, impacting 5 million public school students and teachers in the areas of mathematics, science, engineering and technology (or STEM).

To this end, the company seeks partner organizations that are aligned with the objective of finding far-reaching solutions, such as the NGO All for Education, which seeks to contribute to the advancement of educational policies that focus on improving the quality of basic education – and aims to impact more than 48 million students.

“Education is fundamental to guaranteeing citizens their full freedom, allowing each person to reach their potential to define and achieve their life goals. The dissemination of knowledge and educational quality are powerful instruments for increasing productivity and, at the same time, reducing inequalities”, comments Rogério Monaco, Institutional Relations at Todos Pela Educação.

“The new generation needs to be able to find cures for new diseases, mediate new conflicts and contain the environmental impacts of climate change, in addition to living in a world of artificial intelligence, of biotechnology and increasingly constant technological revolutions”, he says.

Rogério also states that the use of technology will be crucial to improving access to education. “It is urgent to invest in digital inclusion in the country, which still has millions of students without access to connectivity and digital devices. Effective actions to overcome learning gaps, which before the pandemic already had an important ally in the use of technology, have become even more relevant.”

Technology for inclusion

An organization that uses technology to improve teaching and generate more social impact is 1Bi Foundation, which is supported by iFood. The foundation, today, offers a free digital platform to improve teaching and learning in the public network, the AprendiZAP (which is also available to iFood delivery partners and their families).

Created in 2020, the tool delivers classes and tutoring to students and teachers through WhatsApp, with content tailored to meet the National Common Curricular Base (BNCC). On the one hand, teachers have access to more than 1,500 classes with specific exercises to work on the skills required by BNCC – which are shared via the messaging app.

On the other hand, students receive classes and exercises via the app. After finishing the task, they send a photo to the teachers to correct. Furthermore, they can request reinforcement classes via the app on the subjects in which they find difficulties.

“It’s a tool that makes the teacher’s job easier to prepare a good class and encourages students’ autonomy, because they are the ones who set up their study routine according to need,” explains Bianca Silva, teacher and analyst at Fundação 1Bi.

The solution was developed to increase inclusion in the digital environment. “We chose to work with this application because it is accessible and also serves students with greater social vulnerability, both in terms of use and data consumption”, adds Bianca. “This is a way to democratize access to technology and offer quality education.”

Today, around 230,000 students and 30,000 teachers across the country use AprendiZAP, which has just launched new reinforcement content for high school students. “The future of a nation depends on access to education. This is our way of contributing to this fight”, says Bianca.

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