Graduations in Brazil

Brzilian Graduations

School is free and compulsory for students at the primary (ages 7–14) and secondary (ages 15–17) levels, but roughly three-fifths of Brazilians have only four years of schooling or less. Approximately nine-tenths of children aged 7–14 are enrolled in school (in contrast to 1960, when only half of the children of that age group attended school). The primary schools of the Northeast, North, and Central-West are smaller and more dispersed and are run by teachers less qualified than those in the South and Southeast. Furthermore, the northern and western schools tend to be financed out of meagre municipal budgets, whereas southern schools are predominantly state-supported. Several states markedly increased educational spending in the mid-1990s, notably Minas Gerais and São Paulo, and overall an increasing number of primary students in Brazil have been continuing on to the secondary level. Less than three-fifths of students aged 15–17 attend school, and, of those who do, some are still finishing a delayed and interrupted primary education; about half the total number of students are in the Southeast and South. However, secondary-school enrollments increased dramatically in the late 20th century, and the number of annual graduations in the mid-1990s was twice that of the previous decade. Secondary schools have low overall enrollment rates in part because many students are compelled to earn wages at an early age (the federal census records child labourers as young as 10). Other students complete only a short-term vocational program rather than a full three- to four-year curriculum. In addition, most secondary schools are located in large towns, particularly in the Northeast, and rural households with children in city schools incur a considerable financial burden paying for room and board. Many people pursue a high-school equivalency diploma through evening courses after they enter the workforce. University attendance rose dramatically in the 21st century in Brazil, but it remained limited compared with that in most developed countries. Although the number is growing, only a small portion of Brazilians aged 18–24 attended universities. Traditionally, higher education had been largely the prerogative of the wealthy and of the more ambitious members of the middle class, with places in the country’s prestigious free public universities limited to only the highest achievers. As demand for places increased, however, the role of private institutions grew, and by the second decade of the 21st century about three-fourths of undergraduates in Brazil attended private higher educational institutions, though in many cases meeting the cost of their education was a great challenge for these students. Beginning in the 1990s, schools began offering a greater number of weekend and extension courses to accommodate the needs of the upwardly aspiring working class and the lower strata of the middle class, and the number of students enrolled in distance learning also increased significantly

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