The Brazilian Desire for Better Education

By Margot Bernal

With big events such as the World Cup and the Olympics coming to Brazil in 2014 and 2016, respectively, education takes center stage, especially a need for engineers. From private to public schools, to the government paying parents to keep their children in school, the topic of education has given Brazil a lot to talk about.

student pic

Education plays a huge role around the world, and each country controls its education system in
different ways.

Brazil has a social welfare program called Bolsa Familia, or literally Family Allowance. The program provides financial aid to poor Brazilian families; if they have children, families must ensure that the children attend school and get medical checkups and vaccinations. Bolsa Familia helps reduce poverty with direct cash payments to families, but also sets rules and regulations. Children are allowed to miss only 15 percent of classes. If they surpass the number of allowed absences, payment is suspended for the whole family.

According to Thais Oliveira, marketing and communication manager, due to the growth of Brazil and the upcoming major sports events, schools will be required to spend more time teaching English.

The focus on English in Brazil will be a lot more common as the country anticipates numerous foreign tourists arriving.

Brazil also has a shortage of engineers. According to Filipe Martins at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, universities have developed programs that allow students to complete an engineering degree in a shorter amount of time.

“Brazil is in urgent need of more engineers which is why our universities have come up with fewer years to finish an engineer career and our government is now offering a lot more scholarships to those in the science majors,” Martins said. “The situation increases the pressure over universities to train engineers and also to cope with the demands of development and innovation.”

According to some student interns at the Brazil newspaper, their government has not been able to dominate the education system in Brazil. Alana Martins says that if the government doesn’t improve the education system, people will never be treated equal.

She said, “In order to have equality in Brazil, we must all have the same quality of education or else we will never proceed in education.”

The Brazilian students asked visiting American about the U.S. education system and said they
look forward to seeing the education system in Brazil grow over the next couple of years.

According to the Global Expat Network, the lack of internationalization is a huge issue in Brazil.

It makes it very difficult for the universities in Brazil to score well on world ranks. For example, there hasn’t been a Brazilian university that has ever been included in the top 200 universities on the Times Higher Education World Ranking, a ranking that pays special attention to internationalization efforts.

“Education (in Brazil) is not yet where it has to be, but I believe that in a couple years, education will improve.” said John Lyons, staff writer at the Wall Street Journal in Sao Paulo.

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