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December 17th, 2018

Full-time integral schools in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco

In the early 2000s, academic performance in the state of Pernambuco was among the poorest in Brazil. A public-private partnership designed an innovative model for secondary education, which soon showed positive results. However, it was only available at first to a very small selection of the state's public high schools.

In 2008, Pernambuco's incoming state governor, the late Eduardo Campos, adopted the model for use across the state. Renamed Integral Education, it formed the basis for a reform of the state's public education system. It has now been adopted by about 50 percent of Pernambuco's schools, and has transformed secondary education in Pernambuco, making it one of the best performing states in the country.

The initiative

In 2007, a change of government in Pernambuco brought a new approach to tackling the low performance of state education and closing the gap between the CEE network and the rest of the state high schools. The incoming governor, the late Eduardo Campos, was a strong critic of limiting the ETI model to a small number of high schools. Campos acknowledged the success of ETI and the CEE network, but wished to apply the model more extensively.[3]

As a result, in 2008 the state government adopted ETI as its policy for reforming the education system by gradually expanding the programme from the limited CEE network to cover more of Pernambuco's high schools.[3]  The state policy was referred to as Integral Education,[5] and had the objective of improving the quality, efficiency and equity of public education and restructuring its management.[1] The reform of the education system was part of a broader strategy designed by the state government to reform the public services in the health, security and education sectors.[3]

In 2008, the joint management of PROCENTRO and ICE transferred management of all CEE schools to the Office of Education. In this transition, ICE gave up all decision-making power over the direction and future design of the policy. In the new structure, all CEE schools and all the public high schools that adopted the Integral Education policy were renamed Secondary Education Reference Schools [Escolas de Referência em Ensino Médio] (EREMs).[3]

The Office of Education implemented a number of measures to support the programme's expansion:

  • Reforming the state's education evaluation body [Sistema de Avaliação Educacional de Pernambuco] (SAEPE) to provide an external annual report on the performance of the education system
  • Improving the infrastructure of public high school buildings with financial support from the private sector
  • Analysing existing schools and establishing eligibility criteria to set up the phased transformation of public high schools across the state. For example, prioritising schools with existing higher secondary education and schools located near a state primary school to absorb graduating primary students
  • Developing an expansion plan that aimed to have at least one EREM in each of Pernambuco's 184 municipalities, plus the Fernando de Noronha district
  • Gradually implementing the new education methodology in each EREM, starting with the first intake of high school students and allowing three years for the programme to operate at full capacity.[3]

In 2009, the Office of Education underwent a structural reform that created five additional executive offices, including the executive secretariat for professional education [Secretaria Executiva de Educação Profissional] (SEEP), a body with financial and administrative autonomy focused on overseeing the Integral Education schools. SEEP took over the running of the Integral Education programme within the Office of Education. At this stage, the programme encompassed full-time and “semi-full-time” EREM schools, as well as State Technical Schools [Escolas Técnicas Estaduais] (ETE) which focused on professional training.[3]

According to Maria Medeiros, executive secretary of SEEP, the gradual implementation of the programme was strategic and enabled a holistic transformation of the education system.[3] Teachers and management teams trained in the new methodology, pedagogic concepts influenced staff working in other year groups, and learnings trickled down to those classes following the regular education system. The new methodology offered EREM students two schooling options: full-time (45 hours weekly tuition, five days a week) and “semi-full-time” (35 hours weekly tuition with students attending “five mornings and two afternoons or five afternoons and two mornings”).[3]

In subsequent years, Pernambuco continued to improve and adjust its Integral Education programme. The state utilised resources available to support the implementation of the policy, such as adhering to and complementing federal initiatives and securing World Bank funding.[1][3] By 2015, an evaluation of the programme reported positive results. As of 2018, the Integral Education programme continues to be a strategic area of state policy.[3]

The challenge

In the early 2000s, primary and high school education in the state of Pernambuco were both performing poorly, with many pupils failing exams or dropping out of school altogether. In 2005, Brazil's Basic Education Development Index [Índice de Desenvolvimento da Educação Básica] (IDEB) placed Pernambuco 20th out of 27 states, with a score of 2.7 (out of 10), which was below the national average of 3.0. The gap continued to grow, and in 2007 Pernambuco scored 2.7 again, while the country's average rose to 3.2.[1][2] Pernambuco's low-performing education system was clearly lagging behind.

In addition, educational equity by racial group and income was also a cause for concern. According to the World Bank, only 32 percent of the poorest students were enrolled in secondary education in 2008, compared to 75 percent of the wealthiest students. Only 38 percent of black children between 15 and 17 years old were enrolled, compared to 46 percent of white children.[1]

The responsibility for Brazilian education is shared between municipal, state, and federal governments. Municipalities manage pre-primary schooling and partner with states on elementary education, while states manage secondary education. The federal government is responsible for overall education policy and regulating higher and professional education. “There are many differences by states, regions, and municipalities in terms of performance and implementation due to variations in capacity and resource allocation.”[1]

In 2000, a group of Brazilian business executives responded to the state of high school education in Pernambuco by creating the Institute of Co-Responsibility for Education (ICE). ICE designed a new education programme and received support from the state government through the creation of PROCENTRO, a state body dedicated to work with ICE to design a new education programme. However, the public-private collaboration model established by PROCENTRO and ICE was criticised by some, because of the influence private actors could have over state education.[3]

Between 2002 and 2004, ICE and PROCENTRO supported a team of experts who designed a model for full-time schools, Escolas em Tempo Integral (ETI).[3] ETI was based on a system with a management model inspired by business principles such as the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) cycle, where the teaching content was aligned with student interests, including youth entrepreneurship, education values and work culture.[3][4] The spirit of the reform was the concept of interdimensional education, focusing on four human dimensions: “racionalidade, afetividade, corporeidade e espiritualidade” (the rational, emotional, physical and spiritual).[5] This interdimensional approach was combined with the TEAR theoretical framework - Business Technology Applied to Education: Management and Results - which informed the strategic planning of the schools involved in the ETI programme. As a result, the management team shared the decision-making duties within the schools, dividing the responsibilities between them.[5]

Between 2004 and 2006, PROCENTRO and ICE selected 13 schools to adopt the new ETI model, forming a limited network of high-performing public secondary schools, which were known as Centres of Experimental Education (CEEs). This created a gulf within the state education system, with pupils in the CEEs performing dramatically better than the state's regular public education system, which served about 400,000 pupils across 704 high schools.[3][4]

In 2006, CEE schools reported 97 percent attendance and a 98 percent pass rate.[3] While Pernambuco's wider education system was failing, the small CEE network, which was itself developed under Pernambuco's Office of Education, was reporting increases in both academic performance and teachers' salaries.[3] The gap between the two education models was clear, and challenged the status quo within the Office of Education.

The public impact

By adopting ETI, Pernambuco saw a substantial improvement in its education system. Its IDEB score went from 2.6 in 2008, one of the lowest ratings in the country, to 3.9 in 2015, joining the group of highest performing states, on a par with São Paulo;[2][3] by 2017, this had risen to 4.0.[16]

Education efficiency also improved in terms of student flow, i.e. “age-grade distortion” (the percentage of students who are more than one year behind the age appropriate for their grade) and falls in dropout rates. Age-grade distortion fell from 29 percent to 18 percent, and the rate of 19-year-olds completing high school education increased from 34 percent in 2008 to 56 percent in 2014. Between 2007 and 2016, dropout rates fell significantly, from 24.0 percent to 1.7 percent, and Pernambuco transformed its education system from having one of the highest dropout rates in the country in 2007 to becoming the best-performing state in the country from 2013 onwards.[6]

There is limited data available to assess the impact on education equity, because the data does not disaggregate by student characteristics such as race, gender or socioeconomic status. However, student data is available by location, and “although the trend for rural schools in Pernambuco increased across all grades assessed, a performance gap remained between rural and urban schools”.[1]

The Office of Education expanded the Integral Education network from a small group of 20 centres in 2007 to 388 in 2018. In 2018, 173 schools - as the centres were renamed - were full-time, 172 were semi-full-time, and 43 were ETEs.[3] As of 2017, the network of state public high schools comprised 787 centres, of which 369 followed the Integral Education model. That year, over 200,000 students were enrolled in Integral Education schools, which represented 51 percent of the total high school enrolment in Pernambuco.[7][13]

An important challenge for high school education is the need for students from low-income families to work and contribute to household income, often at the same time as attending school. To address this challenge, the Office of Education designed a new attendance model for semi-full-time EREM schools in 2016. The new model offers two shifts, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon (see The Initiative above). As of 2018, there were six schools offering this option.[3] SEEP found this model to be more appropriate for metropolitan areas with good public transport infrastructure than those that are more dependent on school transport.[3]

At a national level, other Brazilian states are replicating the Integral Education policy to undertake the kind of education reform already implemented in Pernambuco. The aim is to tackle the low quality of education across Brazil, which as a country ranks among the worst performing in the OECD. In 2015, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranked Brazil 64th out of 69 OECD countries in mathematics, 63rd in science and 59th in reading ability. “The rate of enrolment in secondary education, in 2016, was 62.7 percent and the conclusion rate was 58.5 percent, so nearly half of Brazilian 19 year olds have not completed elementary education.” Also, only 54.9 percent of teachers hold a proper qualification for the subjects they teach.[8]

Written by Cristina Figaredo

Stakeholder engagement

To scale up the ETI programme from a small-scale model to a state-level Integral Education programme, the state government worked closely with ICE and PROCENTO, the creators and managers of ETI.[3] “The legitimacy at first was based on the partnership of the state with the technical partner and was strengthened over time by the approval of the school community.”[8]

In 2007, the programme transitioned from joint management by ICE and PROCENTRO, who acted on behalf of the Office of Education, to full ownership by the state government. Throughout that year, the state government maintained the PROCENTRO team and structure, allowing the new government to become familiar with the ETI programme and to amend the design. In 2008, the state expanded the reach of the programme by about 60 percent from 20 centres to 33, with approximately 20,000 students enrolled. At the same time, the Office of Education took over the full management of the CEE network, reducing ICE's involvement.[3] ICE lost its veto power and its involvement in the direction of the policy. However, ICE's new role was to design extracurricular programmes and develop new external partnerships. That same year the Office of Education replaced PROCENTRO with the Integral Education programme through Complementary Law nº 125 of 10 July 2008.[3]

Besides the involvement of ICE and PROCENTRO, the World Bank referred to the participation of other relevant stakeholders in the expansion of the programme to a state policy. Parents, teachers and principals took part in conversations to discuss the performance of the results-based management model. Senior secretariat officials and members of the state government also engaged in these conversations.[1]

Political commitment

Eduardo Campos became strongly committed to reforming the education system. Reports on Campos' views on education reform before his election as governor of Pernambuco are limited. However, his views on the ETI programme are clear. He was a critic of ETI because of its limited application, creating only a small network of high-performing schools, and the involvement of private actors through ICE. After the election, though, the director and founder of ICE, Marcos Magalhães, was able to persuade Campos of the positive results of the ETI programme. Despite having criticised the initiative, Campos appreciated the model's beneficial impact and became a strong supporter of the programme and its expansion, adopting it as state policy in 2008. In doing so, he scaled up the model and reduced ICE's involvement.[3]

According to Magalhães and the Instituto Natura, Campos was the first governor in Pernambuco to continue a programme started by an outgoing state government of a different political persuasion.[4] In its 2017 evaluation report, the World Bank observed that “there has been continuity in education policies and programmes in the state government, despite there being multiple governors”.[1]

The supporting measures implemented during the Campos government are further evidence of strong political commitment. The education reform was part of a broader strategy to reform Pernambuco's public services around health, security and education. More specifically, the Office of Education reformed its structure and created a new body dedicated to supporting the implementation of the Integral Education policy.[3] In addition, the programme's design was modified at different stages to introduce improvements, including professional development programmes for teachers and principals, and school committees to appoint principals for three-year terms.[1]

Public confidence

Public trust in Eduardo Campos and his policy was strong at all levels in Pernambuco and in the Brazilian government, which was led at the time by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.[9] The 2006 Pernambuco state election results indicated strong public support for the Campos: participation rates in the elections reached about 84 percent, showing strong public engagement and support for state government institutions. In these elections, Eduardo Campos received strong public support, securing over 65 percent of the vote. The favourable election results strengthened his legitimacy in carrying out his reforms, including the Integral Education policy.[10]

From 2010 to 2016, the World Bank provided financial support to Pernambuco for its education reforms.[1] The commitment of funds to the initiative suggests that the World Bank had confidence in the policy and the outcomes pursued by the state government.

Clarity of objectives

Complementary Law nº 125 of 10 July 2008, defines nine qualitative policy objectives. Its focus is on the expansion of the Integral Education model, combined with results-based management for high schools. Several objectives also emphasise the importance of innovation, teaching, and new partnerships to expand the new model. In later years, the wording of the law was modified and a tenth objective was added, stressing the importance of students' cognitive and social-emotional development.[12] However, the legislation did not define any measurable targets.

In the financing agreement between the state government of Pernambuco (“the Borrower”) and the World Bank, the objectives of the education reform were summarised as:

  • “(a) Improve the quality, efficiency, and equity of public education
  • “(b) Introduce management reforms that will lead to greater efficiency in the use of the Borrower's public resources in the education sector, all through the carrying out of interventions in the Secretariat of Planning and Management, Secretariat of Administration, and Secretariat of Education.”[1]

The World Bank mentions in its evaluation report that targets were set at a school level. Moreover, the results-based model of Integral Education, along with federal and state surveys and indexes, provided strong tracking tools to evaluate the performance of the objectives.[1]

Strength of evidence

The Integral Education policy built on substantial evidence from the ETI programme, which was developed by ICE and PROCENTRO between 2002 and 2007 (see The Challenge above). The state allowed a transition period for knowledge-sharing and consolidation before expanding the programme across Pernambuco. These steps enabled a process of testing, adapting and ongoing evidence-gathering to take place before the programme's expansion.[3]

In 2006, there were 13 schools applying the ETI model, reaching over 4,500 students.[4] These participating schools reported 97 percent attendance and a 98 percent pass rate.[3] In the entire public high school system, on the other hand, there were dropout rates of 24 percent and high age-grade distortion, with over 20 percent of enrolled secondary students being two or more years over the age norm in their education level in 2007.[1][6] This evidence suggested that ETI was extremely successful, albeit on a relatively small scale.

Before expanding the programme, Pernambuco worked closely with PROCENTRO and ICE throughout 2007. This was a transition year, in which the state's Office of Education needed to learn about the model and improve knowledge-sharing before taking over the management of the programme. During this time, the model was expanded from 13 to 20 schools, allowing the relevant state employees to familiarise themselves with the process of designing and implementing the programme in new centres.[3]

In 2008, the state took full ownership of the programme, transforming it into the state policy of Integral Education. The programme was initially expanded from 20 to 33 schools, allowing the new management structure to be consolidated.[3]


From a legal perspective, the state of Pernambuco enacted Complementary Law nº 125 of 10 July 2008, which defined Integral Education's objectives. The state transformed part-time high schools to full-time schools to increase student learning. In addition, the state introduced professional development programmes for teachers and principals, and reformed the appointment of principals for school committees to elect a candidate every three years.[3]

From a financial perspective, the state government provided funding for the policy with the support of the World Bank. The state of Pernambuco contributed USD597.86 million from 2009 to 2016, and agreed a loan from the World Bank in 2009 for USD154 million, which was disbursed throughout the same period. The Government of Brazil was the guarantor of the loan.[1]

In terms of human capital, “the governor recruited and hired a class of civil servants based on merit”.[1] Several of the civil servants involved in the implementation of the policy later remained as part of the secretariat, which helped the policy to succeed.[1] The teachers who were recruited for EREM schools received a 72-hour training course on the philosophical concepts behind multidimensional education and on how to implement the new management and teaching methodology.[3]

The state government was realistic about the application of the policy across different regions, which had varying resources and capabilities. This is clearly stated in Article 2-III of Complementary Law nº 125, which requires the dissemination of the Integral Education model according to the economic capabilities of each region.[12]


When the governor made Integral Education a state policy, the management of the programme was transferred from the ICE-PROCENTRO partnership to the Office of Education of Pernambuco. In 2009, the Office of Education created SEEP (see The Initiative above).[3]

Monitoring and measurement mechanisms enabled the policy to be adjusted over time, and were evidence-based. For example, the full-time high school model made it difficult for students from low-income households to combine work with their studies. In response to this problem, the semi-full-time model was implemented, allowing students to sign up for morning and evening shifts. Further data gathering indicated that the semi-full-time model was more viable in urban areas (see Public Impact above).[3]


IDEB measures the quality of education in Brazil, rating the quality at many levels, individual schools, municipality, regional, state and national. This index is calculated on the basis of two components: school approval rates obtained from the School Census; and the average of exam performance applied by the National Institute of Studies and Education Research Anísio Teixeira [Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisas Educacionais Anísio Teixeira] (INEP).[14]

The goals established by IDEB (see The Challenge above) vary across individual schools and the federal education system as a whole. However, the objective is that they should all reach 6 points by 2022, which is the average for education systems in developed countries.[14][15] Therefore, the results from IDEB, and the goals it established, strengthen the monitoring and performance improvement of Pernambuco's education system. For its own state-level evaluation, the state government uses IDEPE, the Index of Education Development in Pernambuco.[6]

In its reporting, the World Bank offered further measurement tools to assess progress and make a final evaluation of the initiative. “The government's management process comprised planning, budgeting, and monitoring; thus, the collection of data (related to performance indicators) was critical to monitor the efficacy of public services. These indicators were used by the governor in meetings with secretaries to monitor progress and performance.”[1]


The director and founder of ICE, Marcos Magalhães, thanked Eduardo Campos not only for continuing the programme started by the previous state government but also for adopting the initiative as state policy to expand its reach across Pernambuco.[4]

Several of the frontline civil servants implementing the policy chose to continue supporting the programme by joining the secretariat.[1] This choice suggests civil servants were motivated and engaged in the execution of the initiative.

The Office of Education showed strong alignment with the initiative when reforming its structure in 2009. The new structure included a dedicated body, SEEP, with financial and administrative autonomy focused on overseeing the Integral Education schools.[3]

Many of Pernambuco's municipalities have aligned their priorities for education with those of the state. According to the World Bank, “several municipalities have embraced the key priority of improving the quality, efficiency, and equity of public education and are implementing similar initiatives, as the visible improvements in the state had a catalytic effect on municipalities.”[1]

Integral Education was also aligned with the World Bank's strategy for improving efficiency and public sector management as well as the quality of education. Overall, “the objectives have continued to be highly relevant for the government and the World Bank since the time of preparation and after closure. The relevance of the objectives is rated High.”[1]


[1] Pernambuco Education Results and Accountability Project, 26 June 2017, Independent Evaluation Group, World Bank Group Accessed 1 October 2018

[2] Resumo Técnico, Resultados do índice de desenvolvimento da educação básica, Diretoria de Estatísticas Educacionais (DEED), Diretoria de Avaliação da Educação Básica (DAEB), 2017, Ministério da Educação

[3] Fatores de sucesso da expansão das escolas em tempo integral em Pernambuco, Lilia Asuca Sumiya and Hironobu Sano, 2018, Instituto Natura

[4] A juventude brasileira ganha uma nova escola de Ensino Médio: Pernambuco cria, experimenta e aprova, Marcos Magalhães, 2008, Albatroz: Loqüi, Accessed 1 October 2018

[5] Educação Integral, Secretaria de Educação, Governo do Estado de Pernambuco

[6] Premio Idepe 2017, Para os melhores desempenhos no Índice de Desenvolvimento da Educação de Pernambuco, Fred Amancio, 2017, Secretaria de Educação, Goberno do Estado Pernambuco

 [7] Programa de educação em tempo integral de Pernambuco passa a contar com mais 20 escolas, 11 December 2017, G1 Pernambuco

[8] Innovations on [sic] the secondary education system: how to overcome low quality and increase democratic governance in Brazilian federal nation-states, Filomena Siquera and Laura Angélica, 2017, Congress T01W10 - Institutional innovation to tackle complex public problems in Latin America, International Public Policy Association, Accessed 07 November 2018

[9] Desacreditado no início da campanha, Campos se elege em PE, 29 October 2016,,,AA1330634-6299,00-DESACREDITADO+NO+INICIO+DA+CAMPANHA+CAMPOS+SE+ELEGE+EM+PE.html, Accessed 16 October 2018

[10] Eleições Apuração 2 Turno, 29 October 2016,,,PRD0-6299,00.html, Accessed 16 October 2018

[11] Eduardo Campos (PSB), 19 August 2006,,,AA1251031-6299-274,00.html, Accessed 16 October 2018

[12] Lei Complementar Nº 125, de 10 de Julho de 2008 - Cria o Programa de Educação Integral, e dá outras providências, State Governor Eduardo Henrique Accioly, 10 July 2008, Legislação do Estado de Pernambuco, Accessed 16 October 2018

[13] Sinopses Estatísticas da Educação Básica 2017, Instituto Nacional de Estudios e Pesquisas Educacionais Anísio Teixeira, Accessed 1 November 2018

[14] Ideb - Apresentação, Ministério da Educação, Accessed 1 November 2018

[15] O que é o Ideb, Instituto Nacional de Estudios e Pesquisas Educacionais Anísio Teixeira, Accessed 01 November 2018

[16] IDEB - Resultados e Metas, 2018, Índice de Desenvolvimento da Educação Básica, Accessed 28 November 2018

Other sources

Taxas de Rendimento Escolar - Brasil, Regiões Geográficas e Unidades da Federação - 2017, Instituto Nacional de Estudios e Pesquisas Educacionais Anísio Teixeira, 2017, Ministério da Educação

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