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Education and Schools

Brazil - Education and Schools


The Brazilian public education system has been plagued by socio-structural problems and has remained largely underfunded despite the country's positive economic development in recent years. In addition, classes in public schools are mainly taught in Portuguese, which is why many expats in Brazil send their children to private or international schools. Fortunately, private or international schools are found in nearly all regions in Brazil.

School structure

The education system in Brazil is structured as follows:

Other Brazilian towns and cities with international schools include Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Bahia and Recife.

• Educação Infantil is also known as optional preschool. It is divided into two: the Maternal, made up of students aged between 2 to 5 years old, focuses on social contact establishments, and Jardim, which consists of students aged between 3 to 6 years and focuses on developing academic skills.
• Primary school which is divided into Ensino Fundamental I comprising of school years 1 to 5, and Ensino Fundamental II comprising of school years 6 to 9.
• Secondary education, also known as Ensino Medio, consists of students aged between 15 and 18 years.
• University education is known as Ensino Superior.

Public schools

Standards of education in public schools in Brazil are low due to overcrowding, lack of academic materials and teaching staff, and reports of violence. Children are supposed to attend public schools close to their place of residence once they reach the age of six.

Due to inadequate space, students attend three separate school sessions per day. These sessions run in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Children are supposed to attend one session per day.

Private and international schools

Many expats in Brazil send their children to private schools because most of these are better equipped and perform better than public schools.

International schools follow American or British curricula and are accredited abroad, meaning students can choose to further their education anywhere in the world. International schools run by Brazilians prepare their students for an International Baccalaureate by offering bilingual education.

Some expats prefer to send their kids to ordinary Brazilian private schools that follow the Brazilian curriculum, mostly due to the lower fees charged as well as to help their kids get a feel for Brazilian culture. Arranging for private Portuguese classes is recommended if you want your child to be enrolled in one of these schools. This will ensure that the child becomes fully integrated into the schools and that they are able to keep up with the school curriculum and activities.

The city that offers most choice in terms of private schools is São Paulo, which is home to St Paul's School, one of the best schools in the country. Other reputable schools include the American School of Brasilia and the American School in Rio de Janeiro.

What to consider before enrolling your child in school

Parents who need to enroll their children should conduct research before they relocate to Brazil. It is imperative to know the cost of tuition, activities offered in the schools you are interested in, and where the schools are located.

Enrollment and admission procedures vary from one school to another. In Brazil, the tuition fees of international schools are very expensive and could cost thousands of reals per term. Preference may be given to students based on nationality since space is often limited. Although tuition fees for international schools are often high, they provide value for money because the schools perform much better than cheaper public schools. International schools have smaller class sizes, which allows tutors to provide personal attention to students. In addition, students in these schools are exposed to a wide range of extracurricular activities.

School hours and holidays

The dates for school holidays are set by the local governments. However, July is usually the holiday month and most school activities are usually halted during this period. Students also get a break at the end of the calendar year. In addition, primary schools are required to be on holiday for at least 200 days per year. A typical school term usually runs from February to June and from August to December.

Extra-curricular activities

International schools offer a variety of activities including music, sports, arts, cooking, drama, games, and writing. The schools liaise with various external groups to support students with tuition and training.

Some of the international schools in Brazil are listed below.

Amazon Valley Academy
An accredited American-style Christian school. It caters for pre-school students all the way to grade 12 students. Since the instruction is in English, there is an English course for non-native students.

American School of Brasília
This is an authorized IB World School and caters to both foreign and Brazilian students. It offers its services to preschool students all the way up to grade 12. In addition, it offers students the option of earning an International Baccalaureate Diploma once they complete their studies.

Brasilia International School
As a member of the Network of International Christian Schools (NICS), Brasilia International School provides North-American style education based on Christian principles. Wearing school uniforms is mandatory and instruction is usually in English.

Escola das Nações
The Brazilian Ministry of education and Culture (MEC), as well as SACS, AASA, and AASB have accredited this school. It offers bilingual instructions in English and Portuguese and hence educates its students to be world citizens. Its college-preparatory program caters for students from early childhood to Grade 12 education.

Swiss International School
This is a joint venture of the Klett Gruppe and the Kalaidos Bildungsgruppe Schweiz. It is a private day school for children from pre-school through high school. The diploma attained by the students is acceptable in both Brazilian and international universities because the school offers its classes in English and Portuguese.

Most educational institutions in Brazil, regardless of whether or not they are international, is that they offer discounts for multiple children. Some schools even reduce the fees if a current student’s sibling previously graduated from the same school.


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