Saber é poder ! Why do most young people do not stay or come to secondary schools in Brazil?
The Law of National Education Guidelines, governing Brazil’s educational system states that ‘it is the responsibility of the federal government to act in higher education and provide technical and financial assistance to state and municipal levels. It is duty for the Federal District states the provision of primary and secondary education, the municipalities to offer elementary school and preschool.’ Why is secondary education not compulsory for young people in Brazil?
The importance of education beginning in early childhood (between ages 0 and 5 years) has been an emphasis on models developed by education experts. In Brazil, until the year 2009 primary education was compulsory from 6 to 14 years, grantindo that 97.6% of Brazilian children were enrolled in school.
In the same year is created Constitutional Amendment (EC) 59, which extends free education from 4-17 years, the country will have a period until the year 2016 for its progressive implementation in networks. But many 15 year olds have not completed primary school.
The high school enrollment for adolescents 15 years to 17 years in Brazil in 2009 reached 50.9%. In the Southeast, in Rio de Janeiro, 60.5% of youth were enrolled in secondary schools.
The National Survey per household sample from 1999 to 2009 points out the influence of social inequality as an early chance for the young poor not to get to school or to evade it, especially in the final school years. In this study 32.0% of adolescents between 15 and 17 years of age who were in high school are poor and 78% of these students are rich. Of the total number of students, 13.1% fail their year and 10% leave school.
Why do the vast majority of poor youth never get to high school? What attracts them outside the school environment? What can be changed?
Few are the favela communities that have a high school within their community. Distance is a factor that may serve as an obstacle for the young to stay at school. In addition, the youth sometimes takes care of younger siblings so that parents can leave for work.
Besides, the informal labor market uses the youth as labour force. They only prepare the youth to remain in informality and this does not encourage the youth to go on with formal studies.
There are not enough schools to absorb the demand from favela communities. Because of this, many students are directed to locations far from their homes, disrupting the family.
The City of God is an eloquent example of all these challenges. For 21 years, the community has been fighting for the construction of a secondary school.
On January 27, 2012 meeting with local leaders and several residents, the State Department of Education agreed to build a school unit, which will be called Pedro Aleixo Educational Centre.
With the construction of the school, the City of God will have 580 adolescents enrolled in high school. 6 groups in the morning and 6 in the evening will be created to respond to the community’s demand.
But still we do not have any guarantee that this will ensure wider school attendance and reduction in desertion. Thus, we must invest in a school with more quality, where the family is seen as a partner. A school with interdisciplinary staff, that is able to provide support for the student and his or her family, at the first sign of the possibility of school desertion. The school should be interesting for the student.
It would also be interesting if the high schools would carry on surveys about the students’ professional interests. So, for example, if they are interested in going straight to the labor market, the high school would find a way to give them support or orient them to look for a technical training.
And where does that leave us? We all must pursue this right until the school is built in City of God – as well as keep fighting for the betterment of the school system in Brazil as a whole.
This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous
new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse
lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the