“Our school is like the schools of two hundred years ago, only now it exists with technology.”

In episode 37 of the podcast, we talked to a guest you may know from his appearance on the first series of Shark Tank. Tim Vieira. But what caught our attention it´s the fact that he his the founder of the Brave Generation Academy: an educational institution with disruptive methods.

“Our school is like the schools of two hundred years ago, only now it exists with technology.”
Fígura de ondas técnologicas azul

Education is changing. We all know that. We just don't have the magic formula to keep up with the change. The truth is that there are already learning curricula in education that break away from the standard and promise a unique educational experience, as is the case at BGA, argues Tim. An educational model that has not yet been approved by the Ministry of Education, making even more urgent to rethink some of the teaching processes in Portugal. Watch the full interview:

 «Education isn't just about school»

When he was a student, he liked school, but he didn't like the way he learned. Tim Vieira believes he was always a bit different as a student. But it wasn't until later that he was sure: when he became a father and realised that education isn't just about school. There's a lot more to it than school," he says. And through travelling with his children, his realised that different learning dynamics lead to great development. So her children are a mirror of what He's envisioned for Brave Generation Academy, a differentiated model of education that puts what's best for the student first.

We think about things differently. What's best for the child? Not what's best for the BGA, for Tim Vieira, for the father. No, what's really best for the child. If we can do that, the rest will follow. It's natural.


The BGA is open all year round and uses a flexible teaching model where lessons are available on a platform with no fixed timetable. The student has a schedule to meet and it's up to them whether they can do it in three, four or five days. It is also an academy, mirrored in several hubs around the country, where students always interact with each other, regardless of age and level of education.

This mix from 12 to 18 helps a lot. There's more empathy with older people, with younger people, etc. So it really helps and we see that it is a great advantage.

According to Tim Vieira, BGA attracts three types of children: those who are very academic - they want to be faster, they want to do lots of subjects; those who are into sports - Olympians, surfers, skaters, rugby, football - who are there because they need flexibility; and those children who need to go a bit slower, they need a bit more time.

In this sense, the Academy is more than a curriculum.

I started thinking more. I started looking at different curricula. I chose British International because of its worldwide reputation and flexibility. Which is important. You could choose where you wanted to study, how you wanted to study. [But we also saw that there were other children for whom British wasn't the best. So we introduced a different curriculum. A curriculum that sometimes seems easier for children who don't do well in exams. Then we introduced, and we've had a lot of success with it, a programme app where they can start choosing their degree at 16 - where we have 142 universities. If a child wants to do business, computer science, education, sports management, they're already on that track. They do two to three years with us and finish with three months at university and have a degree from the university.


Curricula designed to meet the needs of each student. Needs that are also met with the support of technology. BGA is an academy that uses technology as its ally, and one of its great advantages is the ability to monitor each student individually: to follow their progress, their performance. This allows the academy to intervene when necessary. 

Our platform can see how the child is doing: if they're on the timeline. Every Monday they sit down with the coach and see how they're doing: if they're failing, [the line] is in the red. We can get statistics between the centres.


Win-win partnership

With the students in mind, but aware of the latent changes in the world and, consequently, in education, Tim Vieira recognises that the only thing missing in Portugal is recognition by the Ministry of Education. An answer that hasn't been forthcoming for more than two years.

It's a lack of response. We've been waiting for a meeting for two years. It's a disgrace because we contribute, we pay taxes, we pay salaries and there's no respect. 

In practice, it almost seems like an invitation for students to leave the country even further, to study abroad and probably not come back. This is because, as the founder of BGA explains, equivalences just don't happen with the Portuguese system.

We can't have equivalence with the Portuguese system. A child who goes to BGA can't go to a Portuguese university, but he can go to any university in the world.

A former contestant on the first series of Shark Tank, Tim believes we are at a time when even universities are struggling to attract new students. In fact, one of the possibilities Tim sees is in hybrid work, between public and private education.

I think we could even work with public schools. We should be there already. That's what we do in South Africa. That's what we're doing in other countries. We're even starting to put BGA's in primary schools that are already able to have a BGA that allows the school to continue. Because there are schools that need it, but they can't build more rooms, more classes, more chairs and teachers because they can't find teachers.

In Tim's view, working together would help to meet some of the needs that the state schools are unable to meet at certain times. A partnership in which the Portuguese would be the winners.

It should be a partnership between private and public organisations, but in a win-win way. And at the end of the day, the biggest winner is the portuguese people.


«Our education is running behind society» 

Until that happens, or at least until something changes, there has to be a change at the societal level. Today there seems to be a distrust of private initiatives. At least that's what Tim feels, when in fact they just want to bring solutions.

I'm sorry, because obviously what we want to bring today are solutions for education, which we're doing for today. We're not even talking about the future. We're talking about today. Our education is a bit behind society. Education should be at the forefront. It should move society forward. But we're not. 

That is why, for example, our political class needs to have entrepreneurial experience of innovation, of entrepreneurship. But, Tim, it goes further than that: 

We need to be more dynamic, we need to have a vision for the country, we need to be able to make this country more competitive and we need to let our entrepreneurs work, create: create wealth, create projects. Everything that sometimes seems difficult. I think if our politicians understood that more, maybe they'd get out of the way a bit and let things grow. They'd realise that less bureaucracy, less government, gets things moving, keeps people here. Keeps the talent here. An ecosystem starts to develop where people create, and from one moment to the next we have growth for everyone. It's not just for a few. When the country grows and things start to move forward, it takes everything with it.

But for all that, you have to start. You have to have the will.

If there is no will, it's criminal. It's criminal. This is our future. And we're stealing it from the person. We're really stealing it.

Because, after all::

Our school is perhaps like schools two hundred years ago: they were schools with children of different ages in one room. That is how it used to be. Only now it exists with technology, which is even better.

Watch the full episode on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes or Google Podcasts.



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