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Sheikha Moza visits schools in Rio's Rocinha Favela

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder and Chairperson of the Education Above All Foundation, today visited two schools in the Rocinha district of Rio de Janeiro, which is the largest favela - or shantytown - in Brazil.

Sheikha Moza visits schools in Rio's Rocinha Favela
September 16, 2013

Her Highness first spoke with teachers and pupils at the Francisco de Paulo Brito school, where she toured classrooms, the school library and the computer room. This school is part of the Schools of Tomorrow project supported by the Foundation’s Educate A Child (EAC) programme in Rio de Janeiro. Her Highness spoke with the school’s Director about how EAC support is benefiting the school.

EAC, a global programme launched last year by Her Highness, aims to help the world’s hardest to reach out of school children (OOSC) to get a quality primary education, and is currently supporting two projects in Brazil: Schools of Tomorrow and Nation Wide Advocacy for the support of out of OOSC.

Schools of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro will map out of school children. It will create community task forces to enroll children in schools and create student communication group for peer-to-peer advocacy for education. The project will also train school staff to enroll 21,000 children in various schools over three years.

Rio’s favelas have traditionally lower education levels, rates of illiteracy, age-grade disparity, OOSC and higher dropout rates. The Municipal Department of Education developed the Schools of Tomorrow Program, and has made significant progress in reaching OOSC in the last three years.

The nation wide advocacy programme will be implemented through Todos Pela Educacao and will launch a targeted community and school mobilization program in poor areas of Rio and Sao Paulo. It will also engage the Government education department, municipalities and communities to develop sustainable solutions together to enroll out-of-school children.

Later, Her Highness visited the Andre Urani school, also located in the Rocinha district. This school is part of Project GENTE, a recent initiative taken by the Municipal Board of Education in Rio de Janeiro in partnership with UNESCO, to drastically improve some of the poorest performing schools in the favelas. Her Highness spoke to children and staff about the school’s innovative approach to teaching.

The GENTE project aims to transform educational facilities and approaches to learning, by using today’s most up-to-date technology. The curriculum is designed to stimulate student autonomy and the classrooms are far from typical. Each student has his or her own individual laptop with online lessons built-in for each week. The online lessons are individualised to match the level of the student and pupils are evaluated at the end of each week. Speaking after the visits, Her Highness said:

"It is truly inspiring to see the determination of these children to learn, and of their teachers and communities to provide them with quality primary schooling in Rocinha.
Brazil has made great strides over recent years to provide the vast majority of its children with access to education. The Educate A Child programme and Brazil are developing a flourishing partnership, where we can learn from Brazil’s successes and also share best practices."