STRUCTURE OF EDUCATION SYSTEM IN BRAZIL
Duration of compulsory education:
Age of entry: 7
Age of exit: 14
Structure of school system:
Type of school providing this education: Day-care centres/pre-elementary schools
Age level from: 2 to 6 years of age
Type of school providing this education: Ensiño Fundamental (Primary and lower secondary)
Length of program in years: 8
Age level from: 7 to 14 years of age
Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificado de Conclusão de Ensiño Fundamental
Type of school providing this education: Ensiño Médio
Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 15 to 17 years of age
Certificate/diploma awarded: Certificado de Ensiño Médio
Type of school providing this education: Educação Profissional
Certificate/diploma awarded: Diploma de Técnico de Nivel Médio; Diploma de Técnico de Segundo Grau; Certificado de Auxiliar Técnico
Primary education lasts for eight years, is compulsory, and leads to the Certificado de Conclusão de Ensiño Fundamental (a programme to extend primary education from 8 to nine years is at present underway in Brazil). Secondary education covers from grades 9 to 11. Pupils may also take a course ranging from three to five years in a variety of technical and vocational fields leading to the qualification of Certificado de Auxiliar Técnico (Assistant Technician), Diploma de Técnico de Nivel Médio (Technician) or Diploma de Técnico de Segundo Grau (second level Technician). Holders of these qualifications may take the university entrance examination. Training programmes have also been established in basic vocational training (Habilitação Básica) leading to a Certificado de Habilitação Básica.
Higher education is provided in public federal, state, municipal, or confessional and private universities and other higher education institutions, foundations, federations and independent establishments. It is organized at two levels: undergraduate programs which take usually from four to six years of study and graduate programmes lasting two to six years. The Ministry is conducting a consultation on a possible reform of the higher education system in Brazil.
As vestibular exams are still the major criteria for university entrance, high school marks are only considered important in passing from one grade to another, and in earning the certificate of completion.
Grades are based on a scale of zero to 10, with a passing grade of usually five but occasionally six or seven. There is little consistency from one school to another in terms of what a given mark represents. Students from private schools tend to do much better on vestibulares than those from public schools.
The grading system in Higher Education varies from 0 to 10. In some Institutions, the grades may appear in forms of letters:
- SS – Superior – Corresponds to grades from 9 to 10.
- MS – Médio Superior (Medium Superior) – Corresponds to grades from 7 to 8.9.
- MM – Médio (Medium) – Corresponds to grades from 5 to 6.9.
- MI – Médio Inferior (Medium Inferior) – Corresponds to grades from 3 to 4.9.
- II – Inferior – Corresponds to grades from 0 to 2.9.
Students are approved in case their grades vary from MM to SS. In case they obtain a MI or II, they fail in the discipline.
When the grades are granted in numbers, the average necessary for the student to pass varies from Institution to Institution. Normally, they are, 5, 6 or 7.