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Brazil’s New Education Reform Law

Posted on the 27 September 2013 by Angelicolaw @AngelicoLaw

It’s no secret that the public education system in Brazil is among the worst in the world. Education was one of the many issues put forth by Brazilian protestors earlier this year. To fix Brazil’s education system and prepare its citizens for a future where an educated workforce is essential, on September 9th President Dilma Rousseff signed into law an historic education reform law. The Brazilian Congress had previously approved the law as a response to public demonstrations demanding better education in the country.

A study conducted in 2012 by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) measured cognitive skills and educational attainment in 39 countries. Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia ranked 38th, 39th, and 40th respectively.

The EIU helps international business leaders make strategic decisions by analyzing current economic and social situations and preparing coherent and impartial assessments of the future. Their assessment measured indicators that include reading, math, and science scores, literacy, and graduation rates.

The United States ranked 17th on the list – just behind Germany and Belgium. Finland, South Korea, Hong Kong – China, Japan, and Singapore rounded out the top 5. The report is a part of a wide range of analytical programs that seek to understand what leads to successful educational outcomes on an international level.

Perhaps more concerning is the US News and World Report’s Top 400 listing for universities worldwide in 2012. Brazil’s highest ranking university is the University of São Paulo, which ranked a mere 139th out of 400.

What Brazil’s New Education Reform Law Does

The new law enacts a variety of measures designed to improve the education process and standards in Brazil. One of the most dramatic and potentially helpful moves is that it leverages Brazil’s enormous oil discoveries. President Rousseff has allocated 75% of those oil revenues to education. The remaining 25% is allocated to health services. It is projected that the education reform law will funnel $33 billion into Brazil’s public education system over the next decade.

The injection of such a large amount of cash is believed to be crucial to education reform in Brazil. Future hurdles include implementation on the local level and setting accountability standards for teachers.

Mexico Also Reforms its Education System

Almost simultaneously with Brazil, Mexico passed its own education reform law. Much of the law deals with eliminating corruption in its public education system centered on the teacher unions. There have been violent protests by many current and aspiring teachers who oppose the national teacher evaluation test. In addition to significantly reducing the power of the teacher unions, the law creates nationwide teacher evaluations and increases class hours for students.

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