Lessons to Brazil – Simplifying education

In Brazil there is an expression: Para que simplificar quando podemos complicar? Why simplify when we can make it more complicated?

This rule goes for just about everything from buying a drink at a nightclub to learning a trade.

My sister decided to be an interpreter because she is trilingual. She finished school in 3 months (after a simple admittance exam to determine level) and finished her first interpretation course in weeks based on competency and the capacity to understand the lessons taught. Simple right? That´s how education should be. If you are capable, if you know, you should be able to study or continue where you left off.

Not in Brazil. If you want to study in a decent public institution (they are usually the best for higher education and fundamental if you want to finish school) you have to go through the hell of the public bureaucratic system.

I did not finish secondary school because its not a requirement for O-levels in the UK. Then I had the bad idea of wanting to finish school so I could continue studying in Brazil. I went to the Adult Education Centre and they said I needed to prove I had gone to school. I asked my school back in the UK to send me proof of attendance. I took that paper back to the Centre and they said they would get back to me. I waited a month. They called saying I had to take it to the Conselho de Educação to see if it was valid in Brazil. What they did with my paper for a month beats me. Anyway, I called the Conselho and they said they followed a law to determine validity of my proof of education, but they said they were rarely there so I would have to call before going. But, they said, you have to prove you went to PRIMARY school, too.

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

The senselessness of their request forced me to give up.

Home-schooling is illegal in Brazil. EVERYONE has to study at a recognized educational institution or you run the risk of paying a heavy fine. Some rich families have paid but continue to be considered law-breakers. They refuse to enter the over-complex and ineffective educational system. You can, however, take the exam to get a diploma but I dread to ask what I need to present to take that exam.

Public education in Brazil is mostly very bad. It´s not the teachers or the students, it´s the actual system, the books they use and the methodology. It´s based on copying and memory rather than understanding and reasoning, so people should have the right to study wherever they please and take the same exam as everyone else without proving anything except their aptitude, and getting a diploma for their efforts.

If they can´t offer what they are paid to offer, they should allow people to find their own solutions to the same problem.


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