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Research and development Researches in the Pandemic

The perception of families and educators

Itaú Social and third-sector partners enlarged the realization of educational researches of national scope. Surveys confirm increasing inequality and show that families are valorizing teachers more and are closer to their children’s learning

A research study commissioned to Datafolha promoted the systematic listening of the perception of families and was carried out in five waves in 2020: analysis and publication of results in time to help the decision-makers and to collaborate to the public debate

In the year 2020, during a period when the vast majority of schools in Brazil had their in-person classes suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, various surveys and research studies were conducted to understand and to assess the possible effects of the suspension and how they were being perceived. The combined effort of third-sector partners in listening to the teaching networks, to the teachers, to the students, and to the families resulted in a series of broad and rapidly completed researches, which produced results in time to guide decision-makers, still in the midst of the crisis.

This set of researches includes those launched at the beginning of the pandemic, like the one conducted by Undime (National Union of Municipal Education Directors), with the support of Itaú Social, UNICEF and CIEB (Center of Innovation for Brazilian Education), to enlarge the understanding of how the municipal secretariats were responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic in regard to remote teaching, protocols and support needs. Another series of researches marked the beginning of a systematic listening to the perception of families, with a representative sample, on both the national and regional level. Commissioned by Itaú Social, Fundação Lemann and Imaginable Futures, the series Remote Education in the Perspective of Students and Their Families relied on the technical support from the Social Knowledge network and was carried out by Datafolha in five waves throughout 2020.

The research was undertaken in order to understand and to map the reach of remote teaching and – always with an eye on the families – it wound up developing to the point of gaining an understand of the students’ engagement level, their difficulties and fears. The last waves, such as the fifth one, carried out in November, also considered the resumption and reopening of the schools. The analyses were made in dialogue with the partners, including managers of the municipal and state secretariats, who also contributed to the formulation of the questions of the following waves. The detailed data of the various series were analyzed in combination, resulting in the Portraits of Education in the Context of the Coronavirus Pandemic published in 2020, such as this one, from October.

This series carried out with Datafolha spotlights three facts identified in 2020, summarized in the following:

  • The pandemic intensified inequalities. Students in the country’s North and Northeast regions were hurt the most. Families with a low education level and less resources found it harder to accompany and maintain the engagement of their children. Over the course of the waves, at least one-third of the respondents always mentioned the fear that their children would drop out of their studies, mainly for their difficulty to accompany their classes. The difficulties for families with children in the first years of elementary school should also be noted.
  • The teacher is being more valorized by the family. The families began to valorize the teacher more as the main link with their child’ is learning and their contact with the school.

One of the main facts reported in the series of researches shows that 2020 was a watershed year in regard to the relationship that the student’s parents or guardians maintained with the school and that, in various ways, the families strengthened their contact with their children’s learning and with their school.