In Brazil, children who need the most day care still have very little access to services. This is according to a study published by the Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation (FMCSV). Among poor families, for example, only 24.4% of 3-year-olds go to day care centers in the country, one in four.
The survey is based on the so-called Day-Care Needs Index (INC), which is designed to better guide public policy and map the care needs of children in the country’s day care centers. According to the index, the percentage of children in need of care is increasing every year. In 2018, 40.6% of 3-year-old children were in the weaker group who needed the most vacancies. In 2019, the percentage increased to 42.4%. For 2020, the index is expected to reach 42.6%.
That means about 5 million of the 11.8 million Brazilian children under the age of 3 need day care. Poverty-stricken children are part of this group, representing 17.3% of the total number of children in Brazil as of 2019; Those from single-parent families, raised only by mother, father or other guardian (3.5%); And children who need to have a day-care center for the main caregiver to work (21.7%).
Although they need the most care among them, 75.6% of the poorest children are out of day care centers. Within single parent families, 55% are unregistered and, in the group of economically active mothers or caregivers, 18.3% are out of school.
Day care needs indicator
The data is part of the study 2018-2020 Day Care Needs Index and Frequency Estimates: Inputs for Focusing Public Policy, conducted by the Foundation. The calculations are based on the latest data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) until 2019. Indicators are available for every municipality in Brazil for early childhood counseling on the first platform.
“We believe that by shedding light on the data, we have been able to come up with more effective ways to tackle inequality and break the cycle of poverty,” said Mariana Luz, CEO of FMCSV. He emphasized that early childhood, which lasted until the age of 6, was a time of great energy and development, which could affect the whole life of a human being.
Therefore, according to Mariana, access to quality day care is especially important for vulnerable children. “Stimulus, interaction, learning, reading, having a formal environment of elementary education in a curriculum to anchor games with an educational intent that enhances the whole learning process, is actually about giving this child a chance. To get out of the cycle of poverty,” he said. .
Day care means having a safe place for children to leave, which allows mothers, fathers and guardians to work. “The day-care center’s job is to act as a partner so that we can have the autonomy to work, to be able to manage our activities,” said Rosa do Serrado, director of the Center for Early Childhood Education (CEP), in Taguettinga, Federal District. , Kedma Silva Nunes. She is the single mother of 15-year-old Rebecca, 14-year-old Raquel, 9-year-old Ruth and 2-year-old Raphael. All went through day care and Raphael is still enrolled.
The director is a part of the family that needs a day care center to work. “I couldn’t carry my daughter’s routine outside of work, I had to stop working or stay home with my daughter,” he says.
At the school she works at, Kedma sees other mothers in the same situation. “The role of the day care center is to strengthen the bonds for vulnerable families, because the day care center plays a role in women’s empowerment. If my son has a place to leave, I can go out for work, provide for a house and not depend [de outras pessoas]. Sometimes he worked with families where only the man worked. The woman is able to go out and work because she has a place to leave her baby. ”
The effects of the epidemic
The epidemic has affected education, especially in early childhood education, at a stage where distance learning is often not possible. Many families have had their children enrolled in private day care centers.
The 2021 school census released this year shows that more than 650,000 children dropped out of school between 2019 and 2021. During this time, the number of children enrolled in day care centers increased from 3.7 million in 2019 to 3.4 million in 2021.
Public day care centers in Brazil are run primarily by municipalities. According to Luiz Miguel Garcia, president of the National Union of Municipal Education Directors (UDIME), managers need to address a pressing demand in an epidemic.
“Our demand has grown very strongly. These children who were at home with their families during the epidemic and are returning, there are people in the private network, students who were in the private network and those who, due to the complete economic crisis, are being forced to return to their country. Public network .. It is making a huge increase. And there are those who end up outside and who need to be the object of active search, especially those who come from very weak families, ”he said.
In Brazil, day care is not a mandatory step. Education is compulsory from the age of 4 only. Before that, it is up to the families to decide on enrollment But the state must ensure that there are vacancies for those who wish to do so. What actually happens is a lack of vacancies and a long line to secure a place in a public day care center.
Brazil, by law, must have at least 50% of 3-year-olds served in day care centers by 2024. The target is set out in the National Education Plan (PNE), Act 13.005 / 2014. According to the latest available data, since 2019, 37% of children of this age have been enrolled.
According to Garcia, meeting the PNE goal will require national involvement, so that “the policy of building school units is restarted and there is an incentive for states and municipalities to be able to organize, in partnership. And create these new vacancies.”
To include the most vulnerable populations, it is essential to ensure that the day care center is located close to the family home, according to Garcia. “This is possible only if we guarantee the establishment of early childhood education units in different parts of the city, meet the demand and avoid being deprived of the right to day care of the child. One important thing is to reactivate the school unit building program with greater intensity, covering areas as a priority. ”
The latest PNE monitoring report published by the Anisio Teixeira National Institute for Educational Studies and Research (IENEP) shows that to meet the target, about 1.5 million children still need to be included in day care centers and a large portion of them come from “low-income families”. The most concentrated of the missing children “.