Achieving World Class Education in Brazil

˙ PREAL Blog

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In a recently-released comprehensive analysis of Brazilian education (PDF), Barbara Bruns, David Evans, and Javier Luque of the World Bank argue that while the country has made great strides in improving education quantity and quality over the last two decades, policymakers must do much more to compete successfully with OECD systems by 2021.

Beginning in 1995, the federal government established a series of macro-policies that changed how the education system operated, including equalizing funding across regions, states and municipalities (FUNDEF); measuring the learning of all children via a nationwide achievement test (SAEB); and making sure that poor children could attend school (Bolsa Escola). As a result, the percentage of the Brazilian labor force with a secondary education rose from 30% in 1993 to 60% today, and Brazil’s scores on the OECD’s PISA exam grew faster than all but two of 49 countries.

Brazil has much more to do, however. The authors offer four recommendations: 1) raise teacher quality, 2) focus on the early development of poor children, 3) build a world-class secondary education system, and 4) key federal policy to lessons emerging from policies and programs being tested by the country’s state governments.

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