Classroom in the Rainforest

Subtitle: 
How Education is delivered throughout the Amazon
Date: 
Sun, 2017/11/12
By: 
Migel Santos

You’re in class sitting at your desk, you’re listening to your teacher explain the subject, but this is not your usual classroom setup you see in most schools. For one, you are watching your teacher teach through a 42” LCD screen. The teacher is streaming to you, your classmates, and thousands of other children across the Amazon’s remote villages on live stream simultaneously. You look outside, and your classroom is in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, one of hundreds of villages that are availing of free public education.

This is how Brazil’s State of Amazonas is teaching primary and secondary school. Amazonas is a state in North Eastern Brazil, 98% of its land is covered by the Amazon Rainforest. The state’s capital, Manaus is a bustling city right in the middle of the jungle. In 2009, Brazil passed a law that made secondary education free throughout the country, and set a goal that every state would provide this education by the year 2016. The problem that Amazonas State faced was the delivery and implementation of education throughout the Amazonas state. There weren’t enough qualified teachers to cover every single village and many of these villages are hours away from Manaus. The teacher would have to venture through hours of rough terrain and cross rivers just to get to one village.

State officials and educators came up with a solution: live-streaming the classroom. Qualified teachers in the state capital Manaus would live stream to every remote village across the Amazon. In each village, there would be a classroom dedicated to this operation with teacher aides that would help the students learn and would operate the classroom. Generators powered these classrooms and students would learn through a TV. Of course, this system was not perfect, there would be days when the WiFi would be down or the connection would be bad. But these were minor inconveniences compared to the gift of education for these children.

Because of this program, students from remote villages were able to finish secondary school and they even have the chance to attend college/university. Through the use of technology and a proactive legislation, the children of the Amazon are given an opportunity at chasing their dreams.