Tags: brazil education

Education Gaps Limit Brazil's Reach

Tuesday, 07 Sep 2010 08:53 AM

When Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as Brazil’s president in early 2003, he emotionally declared that he had finally earned his “first diploma” by becoming president of the country, The New York Times reports.

One of Brazil’s least educated presidents — Mr. da Silva completed only the fourth grade — soon became one of its most beloved, lifting millions out of extreme poverty, stabilizing Brazil’s economy and earning near-legendary status both at home and abroad.

But while Mr. da Silva has overcome his humble beginnings, his country is still grappling with its own. Perhaps more than any other challenge facing Brazil today, education is a stumbling block in its bid to accelerate its economy and establish itself as one of the world’s most powerful nations, exposing a major weakness in its newfound armor.

“Unfortunately, in an era of global competition, the current state of education in Brazil means it is likely to fall behind other developing economies in the search for new investment and economic growth opportunities,” the World Bank concluded in a 2008 report.

Over the past decade, Brazil’s students have scored among the lowest of any country’s students taking international exams for basic skills like reading, mathematics and science, trailing fellow Latin American nations like Chile, Uruguay and Mexico.

Brazilian 15-year-olds tied for 49th out of 56 countries on the reading exam of the Program for International Student Assessment, with more than half scoring in the test’s bottom reading level in 2006, the most recent year available. In math and science, they fared even worse.

“We should be ashamed of ourselves,” said Ilona Becskeházy, executive director of the Lemann Foundation, an organization based in São Paulo devoted to improving Brazilian education. “This means that 15-year-olds in Brazil are mastering more or less the same skills as 9-year-olds or 10-year-olds in countries such as Denmark or Finland.”


Read the entire story at nytimes.com

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When Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as Brazil’s president in early 2003, he emotionally declared that he had finally earned his “first diploma” by becoming president of the country, The New York Times reports.
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2010-53-07
Tuesday, 07 Sep 2010 08:53 AM
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