Judging by the country’s current GDP, Brazil nowadays is one of the world’s half-dozen most important economies. In fact, currently the country and the United Kingdom are competing for sixth place. During the last two years or so, sometimes one is slightly ahead and sometimes the other. Of course, given that Brazil has over three times the population of the UK, the actual GDP ‘per head’ is nowhere near as equal as the national raw totals might suggest. Despite Brazil’s big strides during this new century, the people and government admit there is much still to do. For one thing, a simple GDP measure at any time doesn’t present a whole picture of the country, its population, welfare, security and so on.

An important feature of any society is its Education system. This isn’t just linked to the economy of course but a whole host of other social aspects are relevant. Located on the a Minha Casa Minha Vida developement in North Brazil called Bosque is the Escola Elilde Armstrong, or Elilde Armstrong School, is a project that was set up by property developer EcoHouse Group in July 2013 to support company construction workers who missed out on the opportunity to receive a basic education.

In Brazil, Education is pretty highly developed as a series of connected structures and facilities. In the public system there are three basic levels of schooling. In many places voluntary pre-school education is also provided by local government. The first ‘main’ educational level though is the so-called ‘Fundamental’ stage, free and compulsory for everyone aged from 6 to 14. The fist part is ‘F 1 (Fundamental 1) and the second F2. The curriculum is balanced at this stage and includes Portuguese (Brazilian version of course), Maths, Science, Geography, History Arts and PE. English and Spanish (and sometimes French and German) are increasingly taught.

The next stage of public education, the Middle Schools (‘Ensino Medio’), are also free but are voluntary and so are the public Universities that follow them. At most places at each level, wearing of uniforms (in these or indeed the private schools that run in parallel) is widely expected.

Along with any other middle-economy country, education is developing but still has a number of deficiencies. This is particularly true when it comes to regional disparities. Improvements are currently steady but the complex interaction between the various levels of government can often slow things down.

As an absolute fundamental, basic numeracy and literacy for every adult is the social goal. Obviously much more than that is also required for many in the country, particularly in high-tech, engineering or financial areas. School and college curriculum development is constantly being refined to meet the needs of the economy for qualified young people. However, at all levels the Brazilian governing strata acknowledge that broader education is also vital, to match the aesthetic and cultural requirements of booth the individual and wider society.

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