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Title : Education at Work

District : 4510

Countries : Brazil

Topics : literacy, workplace

Contact : Solange Ordones, Rotary Club President 

At the beginning of 1998, the Rotary Club of Marillia-Pioneiro, Sao Paulo, Brazil, launched a literacy project entitled, “Education at Work”. The initiative supported by the CIESP (Centre for Sao Paulo State Industries) and ADIMA (Association of Marillia Food Industries) encourages firms in the country to establish workplace literacy programs. The club brought diverse businesses together to discuss the necessity of eliminating illiteracy. One of the firms that became involved was Sasazaki, which took a survey of its employees and determined that 460 of its 1500 employees had not completed primary school. At the first invitation of the company, 158 workers signed up for classes that began in August. With the help of monitors and instructors, 158 employees attended Telecurso 2000 before starting their shifts. Classes were offered at various times to accommodate workers on different shifts. Although Sasazaki has offered education and basic literacy classes for years, the company wanted to improve the program. Previously classes were given by company teachers. In addition to monitors supplied by the firm, Telecurso was assisted by Senai (National Service for Industrial Training).

Sasazaki aimed to obtain ISO 9001 certification in 1998 and saw the need to raise the educational level of its workers. Certification does not require the firm to offer courses but recommends it.

Marilan, a food processing company, also joined the educational efforts, beginning with the evaluation of the educational level of all of its workers. On 10 February, 1999 Marilan inaugurated the building where the firm’s basic school will function. The project is being carried out in partnership with Senap (Teaching and Professional Assistance Service) The school will assist 49 employees at first. Marilan will provide the physical space and equipment necessary to begin the project and Senap will provide the teachers and student teachers. Two groups of students attend class every day from 12 noon to 2.30 pm with three teachers and two student teachers accompanying the classes. What makes the difference is that the classes are offered at a convenient time for employees. For the time being, only grade school classes are offered, each person joining the class at the grade level that they stopped at Marilan Director Jose Geraldo Garla explained that the idea of setting up a school grew out of a meeting between the Rotary Club of Marilia Pioneiro and other firms at the beginning of 1998. Similar programs are being carried out by Nestle and Dori.