Ocean literacy was assumed as a public policy in school education in Santos, Brazil. The Municipal Law #3.935 was enacted on November 12th, and assures the inclusion of ocean literacy in the municipality’s schools, making it the first city in the world to establish ocean literacy as a public policy in the school curriculum.
“What they are doing in Santos is very important to set an example to other cities and countries, as it is something that the whole world needs to do”, commented Francesca Santoro, from IOC UNESCO.
“It’s the first time this has happened, and I understand that this is the right time”, she said, considering that this is the first time that a municipality has included oceanic culture in its own legislation and remembering that the topic is among those debated at the 26th Conference of United Nations on Climate Change (COP26). “Right now, governments and civil society experts are discussing in Glasgow (Scotland) what we need to do for really needed change.”
When enacting the law, Mayor Rogério Santos spoke about the City’s relationship with the environment and expectations for the future. “Santos is located between two important ecosystems, the Atlantic Ocean and the Atlantic Forest. Locally, we need to do our part. And the best way to transform society is through education and the influence of young people and children on families. So, this measure that we adopt today will have a very important impact.”
The initiative was also highlighted by the Secretary of Scientific Research and Training of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Marcelo Morales, who said that the Ministry supports ocean culture and science initiatives in schools, “important to bring solutions for the promotion of science and the sustainable use of the ocean”.
The law for the implementation of oceanic culture in the Municipality’s schools is authored by the City Council, based on a project by councilor Marcos Libório that highlights the importance of the legislative, executive powers and researchers walking together for scientifically based decision-making that promotes education and sustainable development.
The sanctioned law mentions the “transversality of the ocean” by establishing that the subject is approached from different perspectives in the municipal education network. “Including oceanic culture in the school curriculum will allow teachers of different disciplines to address the topic and expand educational projects where the student is the protagonist of knowledge and integrates the local reality and acquired knowledge” explains the Department of Education, Cristina Barletta.
Ocean literacy will become part of the teacher training processes in lectures, meetings and continuing education courses for all teachers in the municipal network.
The Ocean Literacy Law is the result of research and actions in partnership between the Municipality of Santos and the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp). “This law guarantees the right of all children and young people in the city to have access to knowledge about the ocean. By having knowledge, they will become citizens and professionals who will be able to have more sustainable behaviors and actions” comments professor Ronaldo Christofoletti from Unifesp.