We spent the last two days learning about Brazilian culture and educational system. Today we went to the US Embassy and Ministry of Education. In spite of the fact that I am not able to transfer pictures from my camera to my iPad to post on the blog, I have been improvising by taking photos from my iPad. This seemed like a good idea, until it was almost confiscated at the US Embassy. Who would have thought no photographing allowed? They just made me delete them all, which was a relief. It seemed at first as if they were going to make me turn over the entire iPad!
Some interesting facts about Brazil and the educational system here in no particular order:
-1/2 of Brazilians report being descendants of slaves who were brought here to work on the sugar cane plantations.
-Brazil was the last country to abolish slavery in 1888.
-However, there was never any segregation laws imposed by the government.
-Sao Paulo(where I am headed in a couple days) has the largest Japanese population of anywhere outside of Japan.
-70% of Brazilians are Roman Catholic.
-In Brazil, it is spelled BRASIL.
-Brazil was under a military dictatorship from 1964-1984.
-The current president, Dilma Rousseff was tortured by the former dictator. She is Brazil’s first female president.
-Brazil has 27 political parties, four of them are major parties.
-Brazil bas a compulsory voting law that EVERYONE between the ages of 18 and 70 vote.
-Everyone in Brazil gets a thirty day vacation and an extra thirteenth month pay.
-Electronics are outrageously expensive. An iPhone 5G costs $1200.
-Children’s toys are also outrageously expensive. A Star Wars Lego set that would cost around $100 in the US costs $600.
-Many Brazilians fly to Miami to purchase electronics and other items.
-Brazilian schools have three sessions:7-12, 12-5, and 5-10. Students must attend one.
-The school year is February to December, with a month off in July.
-The teachers are grossly underpaid. They make $725 per month.Some work all three sessions to earn more money.
-Many teachers don’t have college degrees.
-Class sizes are usually 40-50 children, even in the lower grades.
-The children stay in one classroom, while the teachers float from room to room.
-Brazil has been making Herculean efforts to improve its educational system. It is one of the top priorities of the government. In the last five years, the education budget has more than quadrupled.
Tomorrow, we visit a couple of schools, so I’ll get to see it all first hand.
Brazil’s White House
A 1960s version of the future