Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Preparation for University Exams

To add to existing projects, here is one more. I had some school supplies that were better for people preparing for university so we gave to Marcos' group.

In favela communities the public education is so poor that its very rare that young people go on to university. When you grow up in a favela, normally most youth continue on in the path of their parents. They get access only to low skilled low paying jobs mostly in the service industry. The children follow this path because work or being able to bring in more money to the household has more value than studying which costs money.

In my life I have only met about 15 people that I know that have gone to University. This is sad because I know that many children aspire or have dreams to be in a profession, but its one that requires advanced education. Its very difficult when the public school system has children in school only 4 hours a day. How can a child learn anything in 4 hours? Private school for the middle and upper classes prepare their children and the majority go onto university.

But there are groups of people in the favela that are trying to change this. I met Marcos Barros years ago. He had the opportunity, through receiving a scholarship, to go to university at PUC, a private university in Gavea. He studied Journalism and graduated. But now he also gives back as a teacher in this project called Prevestibular Communitario da Rocinha.

This program prepares residents of the favela to take the vestibular or entrance exams into university. The best universities in Rio are the public ones but you must take very difficult exams to get in. The public school system is not enough so these volunteers like Marcos have these pre exams classes to prepare the students to pass these exams.

 Marcos speaking to potential students about PVCR and its functions.

The Pre or PVCR as it is known was formed by a group of volunteers who use education as a weapon to make a difference in Rocinha. Participants are graduates, undergraduates or alumni of universities and are mostly from Rocinha. This is the only such project in a favela that helps those who want to attend college. This program is helping to change the profile of residents from the favela.

Unlike private pre-university, the PVCR has the task of forming critical subjects to create a collective consciousness to be reflected in the favela as a whole. This functions as a collective where everyone involved and empowered to prose ideas and decisions are made democratically. Social networks are used for communication between the group and the focus of the students are on the ENEM (a university entrance exam) and contact with the public universities.

The PVCR has no funding or external support. A space is donated by Communication Community Movement or TV Tagarela, which is owned and operated by favela residents. Students pay a monthly fee of 25 reais a month which covers the costs of photo copies used in class and maintenance of the space.

The PVCR is in much need of a computer (even if its used) that functions just to use internet as a teaching tool. The students only use notebooks and pens in class.

To see their website check here: http://pvcr.org.br/novo/