Things You Need to Know About Brazilian Education System

Things You Need to Know About Brazilian Education System

As the importance of water is better understood by facing its scarcity; so is the importance of education, can be better understood by dwelling into the lack of it.

It is the most important factor which plays an excellent role in the development of an individual as well as a country. Nowadays, it has become a vital factor for future of the new generations of any society. Education has been made compulsory by the government for all the children of age 5 to 15 all over the world. Without education any human is more like a hawk whose wings have been clipped; educations gives you wings to fly and explore, builds confidence, makes a person smarter and opportunistic. It is like a powerful weapon which one uses to face the adversities of life and overcome poverty, fear, status and most importantly, achieve success.

But do countries across the globe educate their masses in the best way?

So, here through this article we will give you an overview of Brazilian education system, its pluses and loopholes as well.

According to a study 18% of Brazilians are functionally illiterate - meaning, they can read words and write numbers, but can’t understand full sentences or do simple math. That may be because of lack of attention on the education system or any other reason. However, its education system is organized in a very structured manner. Educational structure of Brazilian system is divided into 5 different school levels with sub-categories, respectively.

Pre-school level

It has two sub-sections: Maternal or Jardim.

Maternal are state-funded and enrolls student falling into the age-group of two-five years. They are more like a daycare. Whereas, Jardim are sometimes private and takes in children aging three –six years old. Unlike, Maternal pre-school it adopts an academic approach and occasionally is seen as a better precursor to primary school.

However, to get admission in any one of the above, the child gets to discuss with the school based on which school chooses anyone sub-category best suitable for them.

 Primary school level

In Brazil primary school is mandatory for all the students of age group six to fifteen. Children of five years too can enter primary education if they’re due to fall into six years before the end of 1st semester. Students basically get taught by the same teacher throughout the primary education where subjects like portuguese, history, geography, math, science and physical education are imparted. Some of the schools have other foreign languages course too. The most incredible factor is, it may have students of different ages under same class may be because some children do not start their education at the correct age or because schools do not promote students to other class until they pass their year-end exam.

Secondary school level

Secondary level of education here starts from fifteen and ends at eighteen years of age. Also, a change is made in their circula subjects like sociology and philosophy are added to it. Moreover, the secondary level is also bifurcated into two sub-categories: Lower secondary level and upper secondary.

The lower secondary level enrolls students of age –group twelve to fourteen which is compulsory. The upper secondary level is meant for students above fourteen years of age i.e. in between fifteen to eighteen where students are especially trained to enter public university. However, it’s uncommon for students to continue education after lower secondary level as they do not wish to continue their education and switch to job. 

Besides these another distinctive aspect is the school sessions. Here, schools have three-different timing due to overcrowding in both public and private schools. The school hours vary, though a typical schedule starts from7AM to 12PM, second session from 12PM-5PM, and third session from 5PM-10PM. Students only attend one session per day. While, some schools have only morning and afternoon sessions.

Vocational education level

Even though it’s not mandatory but Brazil understands that its competitiveness depends to a large extent on the quality of the vocational training a child gets. So, the government announced a bold plan to create 8 million more vocational training opportunities .Also, it is gaining a momentum, students are more likely to get admission in VET courses.

Tertiary education level

As mentioned above, High school education is a criterion for entering tertiary institutions, as is a competitive entrance examination. Undergraduate bachelor degrees require 4 year’s study. So school teachers must follow a separate 4 year educational journey. Others prefer to follow 2 to 4 years of technology training. The normal range of graduate education is offered too.

Brazil has 2,600 state and private universities and colleges.

Additionally, Brazil run the world’s largest school meal programme – which is not surprising, given that they have 53 million pupils in total! Also, most of the private schools have hi-tech classrooms and small pupils.

It has recently introduced a new policy into its circula. It has discarded all the subjects related to feminism, homosexuality and violence against women from school textbooks. They say the military will take over some public schools. Although the announcement alarms many teachers and educators as the government say it wants to fight an enemy that does not exist.

However, education does not, as yet, seem to be arousing much enthusiasm among Brazilian entrepreneurs. Its edtech industry is really sprouting. Entrepreneurs are springing up with a number of tools and techniques to put forth innovations in edtech technology and simplify the learning process.

Some of the leading educational trends of Brazil are learning management system: a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs. Here, cloud-based and SaaS solutions are also gaining popularity because they provide better connectivity and allow organizations to plan educational development opportunities through online trainings and courses; early childhood education technique: Brazilian edupreneurs are trying to make parenting easier by establishing many firms with certain innovations like use of distinctive algorithms that curates personalized activities for babies based on their developmental needs, application to support and mentor parents. PlayKids by Brazil is one of the great example which offers educational products and content for children around the world. Moreover, conjointly makes use of artificial intelligence and augmented realties to create educational toys that help develop the multiple intelligences of young children. Career development: The country follows the trend of MOOCs to bridge the gap in between what skills the market is demanding and what traditional educational institutions can currently offer. Brazil falls has several soft wares developed especially to facilitate online learning. Bedu and Digital House  are two of its examples which offers a mix-learning platform to develop programming and business skills, help people improve their digital skills by offering technical courses on mobile and web programming, user experience (UX), data science, digital marketing, artificial intelligence, and much more, respectively. Language learning: The Latin America is coming aboard with platforms to facilitate language learning particularly english. LingoKids is one of the growing startups in Latin America whose user base grown up to 425% in Brazil within a year.

Meanwhile, looking at the numbers of Edtech startups in Brazil, it has 193 Edtech startups .Here’s the list of some of the Top Edtech startups:


Descomplica offers pre-recorded videos, live classes, & quizzes for biology, chemistry, physical, mathematics, geography, and history. Also, offers a correction writing facility, live chat facility, and a platform where students can exchange messages with each other and teachers. It can be used for general curriculum and university entrance exams as well.


It provides online short courses in professional development courses. Offers courses in business administration, health & beauty, technology, gastronomy, and tourism. Live courses, as well as pre-scheduled courses are available. As of May 2015, 600+ online courses are offered to over 2 M+ students. With an investment of Monashees Capital, EDUK has as main partners, Eduardo Lima, Robson Catalan and Bernardo Rezende (Rezende).      

Passei Direto

Founded in 2012, Passei Direto is a collaborative platform for university pupils. It enables them to access study materials shared by others. They can also ask questions, follow the latest happenings, find jobs/internships, and others. Monetizes through in-app purchases. It has won various awards including "Best University Startup 2012 by Eureca". Available for iOS and Android platforms.


Geekie is a learning management system provider of schools. It provides users with an adaptive learning platform. It enables teachers and administrators to track students' performance and make interventions. It has access to both mobile and web. Also provides online practice writing with personalized feedback sessions for students.


Though education in Brazil is free of charge in all public schools still it is fairly tough for poor children as the condition of public schools is depressing. Firstly, there is a lack of books, technology and teachers. They’re not funded enough to offer quality education. Secondly, there is no strict process to be followed to recruit a teacher. Also, teachers are poorly paid leading to lack of interest in teaching. Their careers need to be structured to attract talent, to incentivize good practices, and to punish poor performance. Around 35% of teachers are preoccupied with non-teaching tasks at school, or don’t even show up for work. Thirdly, teachers are not held accountable for a student’s result, as mentioned, it could lead to lack of interest. Also, no student get special attention, if they require so. Fourthly, non-attendance is one of the biggest problem. Many poor children don’t finish school, as they are encouraged by their parents to work from the age of ten – even though this is forbidden by law.

Fifthly, the Brazilian pedagogy is completely out of touch with reality. They usually lecture at Universities or work as trade unionists; most of the time they are not open to changes. . Also, they’re not trained or accustomed to the use of technology which makes edtech innovations less useful.

Another in queue, racial barrier which is weaved into social constructs that prevent education. It also doesn’t have any official special considerations made for children with physical disabilities or learning difficulties in the state school system. However, private schools are recognizing the need for special facilities for differently abled students.

One of the biggest problem faced by Brazilians is the educational expense. Here, the higher-education is meant for the riches only. The reasoning for this is because prep- schools for the college entrance exams are very expensive and a vast majority of families cannot afford such investment. This creates problems for many individuals, although they do have public education available free of cost but that does not offer quality education.  In fact, lesser investments leads to lesser innovation because of financial constraints.

Besides these, according to a study Brazil has a decent level of spending per pupil in comparison to economically similar countries. The funds are so poorly managed that it is almost completely useless. It is estimated that within the allotted budget, 97% goes towards wages, 2% goes towards maintenance, and less than 1% is investment back into the system. This is the fundamental error of education system of Brazil.

These information shows how fragile the educational system in Brazil is and the difficulties that the government still needs to address in order to sustain the growth of the country. But thanks to the awaken government which has shifted its focus towards education and serves as the best education hub in Latin America.

 In 2014, the Brazilian Government announced a set of aggressive measures that will be implemented up until 2024 in order to boost the educational system performance. This program, denominated PNE (Plano Nacional de Educação), is composed of 21 measures and aims, amongst others, to increase the number of mandatory education years, the percentage of Brazilians going to schools and universities and provide means for teachers to improve their qualifications and skills. It is trying to reach the targets established by PNE through doubling the investments in education. Also, looking after the required improvement in training teachers, supporting curriculums, encouraging students to take on studies seriously rather than leaving it in between for job i.e. reduce the fees charged for higher-education prep schools, provide extra support to children with learning difficulties, with an aim to integrate them as much as possible into the mainstream curriculum, assist low-income families of children with dyslexia and more.

Despite these issues, Brazil is still a major higher education force in Latin America. It has 22 universities in the QS World University Rankings, of which 19 are public and 3 are private. Here, public universities are considered leaders in research outputs, with the top ten Brazilian Universities in the Latin American Rankings boasting nine public universities and one private university. It dominates these Latin American Rankings with a total of 90 institutions, compared to Mexico (63), Chile (40), and Argentina (39).Regardless of the facts, it is still struggling to grow at a faster pace.

About the Author
Author: Saniya Khan
Saniya Khan I am Saniya Khan, Copy-Editor at EdTechReview - India’s leading edtech media. As a part of the group, my aim is to spread awareness on the growing edtech market by guiding all educational stakeholders on latest and quality news, information and resources. A voraciously curious writer with a dedication to excellence creates interesting yet informational pieces, playing with words since 2016.

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