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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the evolution of education in Brazil over the long term. It is established that historical circumstances allied to successive policy failures help account for Brazil’s disappointing performance in the educational field in international comparative terms. In 1920, the system covered 9% of school-age children, 26% by 1950 and, more recently, 98% of 6–14-year-old children have been covered. The acceleration in growth, particularly since the 1950s, has been an impressive achievement. The latest records indicate that 71% of the relevant age cohort finishes basic education. Secondary education is completed by 51%. Compared to the past, this is quite an achievement. Compared to world or even Latin American standards, these results are mediocre at best. The available tests indicate weak performance. The chapter highlights the kinds of issues that will need to be addressed if this situation is to be tackled adequately.

Keywords: Brazil, public policy, education, human capital, economic development

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