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Despite the country's largely positive economic development in recent years, the Brazilian public education system remains underfunded and mired in social and structural problems. This, accompanied by the fact that classes at public schools are taught in Portuguese, means that most expats choose to send their children to private or international schools in Brazil, of which there are many to choose from.
Public schools in Brazil
The standard of education at Brazilian public schools remains low. There are often reports of overcrowding and a lack of materials.
Schooling is mandatory for children between the ages of six and 15. This stage of education is known as ensino básico. After this, students may optionally attend ensino médio (secondary school) from age 15 to 18.
Children attending public schools usually attend the school closest to their place of residence. Parents wishing to enrol their children in a public school need to visit the school in person to start the registration process.
Due to the demand for space, and in order to accommodate the high number of students, some Brazilian schools run two or three separate school sessions per day, with children attending one session per day.
Private and international schools in Brazil
Most international schools in Brazil follow the British or American curricula, though there are some that cater to other nationalities, including French, German, Italian and Spanish. Other international schools offer the International Baccalaureate programme.
Due to the higher standard of education offered at international schools in Brazil, wealthy Brazilians often choose to educate their children at these institutions. Many international schools have a multicultural student body with children from all over the world.
Brazilian private schools, on the other hand, generally follow the Brazilian local curriculum. Some private schools have a religious foundation or offer bilingual instruction. Some expats prefer to send their children to private schools due to the lower fees compared to international schools.
Special-needs education in Brazil
There are limited state-supplied resources for children with special needs in Brazil, and those that do exist are offered in Portuguese. Private and international schools may have more support available, though this does vary from school to school. Parents are advised to research options thoroughly to ensure their children will be well catered for.
Tutors in Brazil
There are countless tutors and tutor companies to choose from in Brazil. Expats and locals alike can benefit in many ways from hiring a tutor. For example, even those who have some knowledge of European Portuguese may not find it as easy to pick up Brazilian Portuguese as they expected. In these cases, a tutor is an ideal way to bridge the gap.
For students, tutors can help prepare for big exams, adjust to their new curriculum, tackle a problem subject, learn Portuguese, or maintain fluency in their mother tongue.
Are you an expat living in Brazil?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Brazil. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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