Levels of Education System in Brazil

As per the law passed in 1996, Education in Brazil is divided into two levels- Basic Education and Higher Education. Basic Education is further divided into Preschool, Primary and Secondary education. 

School Education System

The basic education in Brazil consists of:
  • Pre-School (early childhood education), 
  • Primary Education,
  • Secondary Education

Pre-school Education (Educacao Infantil)

This is the first stage of basic education in Brazil. Pre-School education is completely elective and is meant for kids below the age of 6 years. It aims to assist in the overall development of a child, including physical, cognitive, psychological, motor and social skills. It also provides fertile ground for further learning and education. Pre-School includes day care centres, nurseries, kindergarten, and playschools.

Primary Education (Ensino Fundamental)

This is the second stage of basic education and is compulsory for children ages 6-14 years. It lasts for 9 years and focuses on providing a core curriculum consisting Portuguese language, science, history, geography, arts, mathematics and physical education for years 2, 3, 4 and 5). And for years 6, 7, 8 and 9, one or two foreign languages are also compulsory (English and one optional). Primary Education develops students' ability by means of reading, writing and maths classes. 

Primary Education is split into two levels- 
  • Ensino Fundamental I (for years 1-5): In the course of Ensino Fundamental I, each group of students is assisted by a single teacher. 
  • Ensino Fundamental II(for years 6-9): In the course of Ensino Fundamental II, there are as many teachers as subjects.

Secondary Education (Ensino Medio)

This is the last and final stage of basic education in Brazil that lasts for 3 years. It aims to expand the knowledge acquired in the primary school, encourage intellectual independence, provide education on moral codes and principles, and enable pupils to understand the scientific and technological basics of the different fields, such as languages, history, geography, arts, mathematics, philosophy, and biology.  It essentially is designed to prepare students for higher education. 

Vocational Secondary Education (Educacao Profissional Tecnica de Nivel Medio)

Students can also go for vocational secondary education that lasts for 3-4 years after completing Ensino Fundamental. This is basically professional training and the course of study is general. Specialized vocational subjects are also part of the curriculum. 

Adult Education 

Brazil also provides adult education through special courses that can be taken in schools or via online mode. An adult education secondary school diploma is given to non-traditional students. Students with this qualification can go for higher education and can take up university entrance examinations. 

Higher Education (Educacao Superior)

Admission to universities in Brazil is based on the completion of secondary school plus the scores of entrance exams. The higher education in Brazil encompasses public and private universities, federation and colleges. It aims to provide education in different spheres of knowledge so that, upon graduation, they are fit to enter the work marketplace.

Programs and courses include undergraduate (graduacao) courses and graduate (pos-graduacao) courses. University credentials are given below:

  • Bachelor (Graduacao)

The Bachelor degree programmes last for 4 to 6 years. 
Certificate: Bacharel; Licenciado (teaching diploma)

  • Specialization Courses (Cursos de especializacao)

These are the vocational courses and the duration of each course vary from one another.
Certificate: Certificado de Especializacao

  • Master (Mestrado)

The Master degree programmes last for 18-24 months. A thesis is compulsory for graduation.
Certificate: Mestre

  • Doctor (Doutorado)

A doctorate programme lasts for 4 years. A thesis is mandatory for admission.
Certificate: Doutor 
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