State Secretariat of Education

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
In 2012 PRIMA was created to meet the state of Paraiba’s needs for social integration, education, professional formation and the creation of work and gross income. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2008 of Paraíba were one of the worsts in Brazil, ranking 24th among the 27 units of the Federation rating 0.718. According to the 2010 Census of the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistic), 42% of the population receives a minimum wage of $880 reais per month and only 9% of the population receives more than 2 minimum wages per month. Problems within education include low school attendance, frequent repetitions of grade level, and high rate of dropout. According to the School Census (INEP 2011) the passing rate in public elementary school funded by the State is 75% lower than private schools or schools funded by the city government, while dropout rates reach more than 11% in state public schools. These problems increase in the areas farther from cities. Finding a solution that would attract young people to attend school and study at home proved challenging in Paraiba amidst greater social problems such as rampant crime, prostitution, drug trafficking and gang warfare. Amidst a context of low income and low education it is easy to imagine how the unstable living conditions and social relations create a lack of access to the human right of knowledge and education, and a lack of opportunity to experience different cultural environments, be they local or international.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The solution was PRIMA - Inclusion Program through Music and the Arts. A program that incorporates intense orchestral music study within public schools. PRIMA offers a globalized musical education that seeks to develop a high level of cultural education, thus providing an engaging alternative to keep students in school and provide them with an endless journey of self discovery and joy through the arts.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Through the teaching of orchestral music, PRIMA seeks to awaken the curiosity and pleasure of profound study, aesthetic appreciation, beauty, discipline and mutual respect. These factors are crucial within a symphony orchestra. Music is the driving force towards the formation of better citizens, as our students embark on a journey of self development as well as learning how to work with their colleagues to create the most beautiful music possible. PRIMA chooses their work sites by focusing on public schools in socially vulnerable areas especially places where violence is commonplace. To begin a new site, PRIMA offers beginning children’s general music studies, choir and music theory before expanding to instrumental music . The strategy has proven to be successful. While the insufficiency of artistic activities and recreation equipment was a sad reality of these communities, many juveniles who were called “trouble-makers” ended up transforming into dedicated singers, earning accolades from faculty, administrators, family and fellow students. Initially PRIMA debated between using one site to test pedagogical practices or expanding quickly to sites in order to learn how different communities responded to different methods. PRIMA chose the later option and within one year had sites in eight cities throughout the state. One successful strategy used by PRIMA was searching for established proffesionals living within target areas who could be recruited to work as teachers in the program. For example, when PRIMA visited Catolé Do Rocha, a city in the hinterland of Paraíba, we looked in several schools and local restaurants, seeking references of music teachers. Amongst many names we found Edcláudio Martins, a conductor who taught in one of the major schools in the city and in a social project, also linked to music. We spoke with him, explained the character of PRIMA and the need to deal with questions such as citizenship and youth formation, psychology and art, education and culture. He understood our mission and accepted the challenge. We followed suit as we founded more PRIMA branches, seeking local leaders who already recognized for the work they did in their community. Each PRIMA site maintained autonomy and indepence in order to respect the characteristics of each community, from the countryside to the coast, and as consequence the recruitment of students was simplified, since the coordinators and inspectors already knew where to look for students with the profile desired by PRIMA.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The goal of PRIMA is to offer comprehensive musical education, with the understanding the music is in fact a means and not an end. It is of the most absolute importance that our students are empowered, aware, and prepared to face any social challenge. The orchestra becomes a metaph or for society.. An example of this can be seen within the Student Senate, found in each PRIMA site. Five students are elected by their colleagues to be their representatives. These representatives help choose repertoire, give feedback on all the classes, suggests debates and lectures both about music as well as social issues such as equality of gender, homophobia, racism, etc, and they can report abuses by teachers or coordinators. Another important and innovative action of PRIMA was the birth of CRESCENDO, a method to train PRIMA instructors and monitors. It creates a philosophical link between students, teachers and family members from different points of view that interacts in the PRIMA branches. Each letter in the acronym is a reference to a word and therefore to a series of concepts and definitions that are bounded to give a certain meaning, unifying the culture of PRIMA

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The implementation was made by the State Government of Paraíba through the Secretary of Education in partnership with the Secretariat of Culture under the direction of Maestro Alex Klein and his wife, Catalina Guevara. From its implementation in 2012, up to now, more than 4,000 students have passed through PRIMA. Many of them, thanks to social inclusion policies, have joined universities and technical colleges in Paraíba and other states. Today, the direction of the Program is in the hands of the Conductor Priscila Santana, who as a graduate of a musical social program herself, is an example for our students of how hard work studying music can instill social skills and offer a diversity of career options. PRIMA currently benefits more than 1,200 children and young adults and has a staff of 94 employees: 64 teachers, 11 branches coordinators, 11 branches inspectors, 2 drivers, 1 logistics coordination, 1 executive secretary, 1 coordination of events, 1 coordination of institutional communication, 1 coordination of patrimony and 1 pedagogical coordination.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The first branch of PRIMA was in the city of Cabedelo, located on the north coast of the state and suffering from a high level of violence. We started at the Fortaleza de Santa Catarina in March 2012. We spread the news of the program through sound cars and school visits, and on the first day of registration we were able to enrolled 20 students. The Fortaleza is a tourist site located in a needy area in Cabedelo. The first teachers took their own instruments and many of them ended up lending their cello or violin to students so they could try the instrument for the very first time. During the first year, program implementation took place with choirs, classes in musicalization and theory. After Cabedelo, other branches were opened in Mandacaru, Bairro dos Novais and Alto of Mateus (districts of João Pessoa), Tibiri (in Santa Rita), Guarabira and Campina Grande. Each site followed the same plan as mentioned above: visit a community and identify a music teacher within the community who could be recruited to build the program. Amongst the many challenges we faced included explaining the social character of the Program as well as dealing with the students' anxiety about the arrival of the instruments. In many cases, music is still a huge taboo inside schools. Many teachers and principals still see it as a waste of time, since it is not an official subject for acceptance in colleges exams. Changing that belief remains a big challenge. Our strategy is to use our many success stories in order to change hearts and minds. Students who were once troubled and difficult are today references and roll models. Music served as an awakening and taught respect and discipline in a way that core academics was unable to. In 2013, we managed to secure a R$ 7 million investment in order to purchase instruments, including violins, violas, cellos and basses, flutes, clarinets, oboes and bassoons, trumpets, trumpets, tubas, trombones, timpani and percussion, as well as pianos, keyboards, stereos, shelves and metronomes. With the arrival of the instruments, the students, who were already developing musical skills through choir and theory, advanced rapidly in the instrumental development. Within months, orchestras began to appear in many Paraiban cities for the first time. PRIMA's faculty always received a salary of R$ 1,200, coordinators R$ 1,500 and inspectors R$ 800, which gave an average cost of human resources, in the first years, of R$ 100,000 per month, paid by the state Department of Education. Since the branches are located in different cities, the travel of many teachers takes place in vans. The cost of renting cars, the payments of drivers and gas is also paid by the Secretary of Education. Currently, the Program is still 100% maintained by the State Government, generating an average cost of 2.2 million Reais per year. 90% of is directed to personal payroll and the others divided between transport rental and cost of the annual concerts.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
) It was Governor Ricardo Coutinho who first dreamt of bringing music to children in need. He invited internationally renowned oboist Maestro Alex Klein and his wife bassoonist and educator Catalina Guevara to share their expertise and passion in the creation of PRIMA. Alex set the artistic goals while Catalina laid the foundation for the program's philosophy and pedagogy. Executive Director Milton Dornellas coordinated and negotiated with host communities and cities in order to facilitate the opening of new sites and to build support for the program throughout all the levels of government.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
In August 2015 PRIMA was selected among more than 170 projects from all over Brazil to present itself in the Education Map, an event celebrating successful education initiatives. PRIMA was among four selected programs to give a featured presentation. With tears of passion and pride in their eyes, student Antônio Cícero (horn player from the branch of Cabedelo) and flute professor Sergio Aires presented the program data, showing pictures and giving personal testimony. Another of PRIMA’s victories was the formation of the first Paraíba Women's Orchestra. Paraiba has historically been one of Brazil’s states with the highest rates of violence against women. The OMPB (Women's Orchestra of Paraíba) was formed by students of PRIMA branches who were identified through sexual harassment commissions. The committee consists of two students, male and female, chosen to discuss gender issues of gender, sexuality and even moral, psychological, and sexual abuse, in order to spread the message of awareness. In 2014, we began to see the “I” Of the PRIMA really working: the Inclusion. Students were accepted to formal musical institutions such as UFPB (Federal University of Paraíba), IFPB (Federal Institute of Paraíba), OSPB (Paraíba Symphony Orchestra), EMAN (Anthenor Navarro Music School) and nonmusical courses such as odontology, civil engineering, computer science, law, nursing, etc. These student accomplishments affirmed our mission to develop conscientious and dedicated citizens, musicians or otherwise. In 2015, we were invited to participate in the Instituto Musica Brasilis tour, a touring project that offers selected groups a chance to perform in a highly prestigious and publicized event. It was the first time that students played in a formal “gig” and had the opportunity to play side by side with their teachers. Each of these milestones have allowed our students to relish and reflect in their own accomplishments and potential. Going up on stage and communicating with audiences, facing fear and nerves, creates a confidence and attitude that is infectious and spreads throughout communities, offering all who are involved the chance to become masters of their own destiny.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Predjiduce towards music as a vehicle for social change: Oftentimes teachers, directors and unfortunately, many parents do not recognize in music to be a lever for a human development. With diligence and determination however, our students continually confirm that music teaches important values, such as listening, being "in tune" with others, respect, discipline, and so many other things that are essential to play in an the orchestra. Above all, these are essential values in the formation of oneself and in the development of social, professional and artistic skills. Skepticism of orchestral music: Many believed that orchestral music is something for rich and older people and naturally did not believe that PRIMA was offering the opportunity to for at-risk communities to learn this music for free. PRIMA makes it a point to reach out and show communities that the orchestra can play anything and everything from Beethoven to authentic Paraíba music, such as Forró de Gonzaga. Students Reality: Many students face serious financial problems, and in many cases our challenge is to rescue them from child labor. In some cases, the reality is tougher and frustrates our expectations. However, in other cases, we have been able to successfully recover these students through inclusion, on merit of the student himself, in projects such as the Paraíba Youth Orchestra, which pays a scholarship of R$ 700 a month. Pedagogical challenges: How to teach bassoon in a city that has never had a bassoonist before? How to teach oboe in a place with no record of an oboe teacher? The van was our logistics solution to take the teacher from the capital to the Sertão (countryside). Technology was crucial, with the internet bridging student and teacher, opening a window to other cultures and enabling the unprecedented to happen.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Practical and frequent example in PRIMA: Once, at the Mandacaru branch, the coordinator began to notice that one of the students at the school was not attending class, but instead following the rehearsals. He was not enrolled in PRIMA, but began to feel attracted to the classes. A few days passed by and the same student continued to watch those music lessons while missing his math or Portuguese class. The student was called by coordinator, since he knew he was missing classes. He asked: -"Why aren’t you in the classroom?" -"Because I don’t like the class." -"And what are you looking at in here?" At that time, the student pointed to the marimba. At the same time, the coordinator negotiated with him: he would have a marimba class once a week, as long as he attended and was active in his academic classes. The principal was notified, as well the teacher of this student. As usual, he was considered a “troublemaker”: he was missing the classes and never did his homework. Through his love for the marimba, this student transformed his attitude towards school. He began to see the importance of routine, practice, discipline, and above all, began to see school as a wonderful place. Examples like this are common at PRIMA. Young people who are excluded because of their sexual orientation, find in the Program a way to express themselves. The orchestras breaks the monotonous and often violent routine. The concerts are held inside schools, in recreation areas, churches, day care centers among other places, transforming communities, taking parents out of their homes and, especially: raising the self-esteem of young people often times oppressed by the reality in which they live. Every year, PRIMA sends students to music festivals such as FEMUSC, in Santa Catarina-Brazil where they encounter a whole new world. Students like Erenilson Ferreira, who was one of the first students of the PRIMA and is currently studying conducting at the Federal University of Paraíba, or Izabella Raiane, a violinist at the Cajazeiras branch, who was approved in six national college exams in 2016 return to their communities filled with awe for the cleanliness and the lack of holes on the streets and the beauty of architecture. They come into contact with young people of different realities and end up influencing their neighborhood with a universal and more inclusive worldview. . Music is showing its strength as a social lever. It gives voice, recover self-esteem, transports to new realities. This is our routine and our purpose.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
) PRIMA was created with the promise of inclusion for poor communities in 12 regions of Paraíba. From the beginning the initiative had to act with criteria of decentralization and strategies for a human resource training. Empowering communities through knowledge was the best action taken by the program leaders. The arrival of the musical instruments took about a year, and therefore, in the beginning, many asserted that PRIMA would be just another failed political promise; However, over time the program was strengthened and consolidated. PRIMA had a relevant impact on the community of Paraíba, through the action of a small group of determined and organized people, who demonstrated the possibility of breaking paradigms. Not only has the government fulfilled its promises to invest in education and culture, but it has believed in the power of public service people to implement the program, and to adapt it in each community based on the needs of the region. Corruption in the public service declines when a leader acts with transparency, respect, and makes decisions in a decentralized manner, listening to students, administrators, and teachers. PRIMA maintained its integrity by having a clear understanding of objectives that facilitated decision-making. The Action Plan and Pedagogical Strategy (Klein 2012) has proven to be effective with an organized, systematic, flexible and coherent program. The value of culture, the constant interchange and the access to knowledge were the most powerful weapons for the empowerment of these communities. When PRIMA offers a path to empowerment of these communities, it opens up spaces for increased productivity, increases opportunity, and gives participants the option to seek quality of life, with standards of respect, tolerance, autonomy and development, thus favoring the integral formation of individuals with full awareness of their rights and duties.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Much of what has been explained here contemplates the answer to this question because it is in the genesis of the project to work with gender equality. But it is worth repeating: Paraíba Women's Orchestra, Sexual Harassment Committees, Student Senators are 3 practical and real examples of women's inclusion and the debate on violence against women in the Program. Gender equality and the many issues facing windom are regularly explored at PRIMA, and there are constant discussions about sexual harassment, the patriarchy, poverty and how the government addresses or ignores women and minorities. These discussions and the awareness they instill have positively impacted our students. For example: The student Leandro Barboza after discussions, reflections and initiatives of the PRIMA had the courage to come out as transsexual today continues to work as an advocate for different gay rights and trans-rights groups in João Pessoa.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   State Secretariat of Education
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Aléssio Trindade
Title:   Secretary of State  
Telephone/ Fax:   +558332185074
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   avenida João da Mata, s/n - Jaguaribe
Postal Code:   58015 - 020
City:   João Pessoa
State/Province:   Paraíba

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