A student holds a sign reading "Dilma calls education, Neymar, and invests on it." A student holds a sign reading "Dilma calls education, Neymar, and invests on it." Image by Sebastian Friere via Flickr


Education in Brazil is financed by federal government, with all decisions concerning curricula falling under the Ministry of Education. The budgets and curricula are then applied by the governments of the localities. Education is mandatory from ages 6-14.

Current Issues 

In patterns similar to recent years, the Brazilian Federal Government announced in 2014, that public sectors will be facing 44 billion Reais (18.41 billion USD) in cuts; the Government did, however, state that the cuts would not extend to education financing. This looks slightly more promising than the 2012 Budget, wherein the Brazilian government executed an aggressive programme of budget cuts totalling Reais $55 billion for 2012, which resulted in a loss of Reais $1.9 billion from the education sector.

One of EI’s local affiliates in Brazil, CNTE, recently held its 2014 Congress, during which a new agenda was approved for national education strikes. In recent years, the CNTE have organised intense actions in favour of promoting quality education for all, such as camping out in front of the Senate in Brasilia for two months to call for the final approval of the National Education Plan (PNE), and the occupation of the chamber when the state governors proposed an adjustment of 8.32 per cent in the minimum wage (National Wage Floor) for teachers.

A new law for 'Educational Responsibility':

A new law concerning "educational responsibility" was passed and aims at regulating important issues such as introducing the universal seven-hour school day for basic education. “This shows we’re really starting to improve the quality of public education in Brazil,” stated Roberto de Leão, President of Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Educação (CNTE). “This is a victory for social activism: [SIC] by students, the national campaign for education, teachers, and all those who helped to make it a reality.” Fátima Da Silva, Vice-President of EI Regional Committee in Latin America and CNTE International Relations Secretary, said: “All of our countries need to devote more resources to education in order to consolidate the quality public education that States have a duty to provide."

 EI has followed the progress of the Brazilian teachers' struggle to secure 10 per cent of GDP for education as well as their lobbying strategies, with pressure being exerted on the streets, via social networks, in the media, etc. Teachers have work stability, freedom of association and relatively early retirement; however, their salaries are low, and many new qualified teachers leave the profession after three or four years. There is a law prescribing a minimum salary, however, there were at least 10 strikes in 2011 by teachers seeking to have the law applied.

Last modified on Friday, 13 June 2014



Tuesday, 17 January 2017

More than 2,500 teacher leaders gathered in Brasilia, Brazil, last week for the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE)’s congress, debating topics inspired by famous educator and philosopher Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy. 'Paulo Freire: Public Education, Democracy and Resistance' was the theme of the Congress. The main topics treated by Congress were the international and national political situation, educational and trade union policies, the political situation and policy direction of Brazil, and what a possible action plan for teachers could look like for the next years.

Friday, 29 July 2016

The Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE) has launched a "Manifesto against the proposals of the interim government of Brazil that cut public resources for health and education” calling on the entire educational community and activists for the right to education to vehemently oppose the PEC 241 proposal presented by the interim president of Brazil, Michel Temer, to the National Congress in June. The Proposed Amendment to the Federal Constitution (PEC, by its Portuguese acronym) determines a ceiling on public spending at different administration levels, arguing that it is necessary to create a new tax regime to deal with the current financial crisis.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A new civil society report addressed to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, expresses concern around the proliferation of privatisation of education in Brazil and its negative impacts on the right to education. It cites evidence that education privatisation inhibits equity of access and participation, reduces education to a commodity versus a public good, and infringes on education as a human right. The report complements a recent submission to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by the Brazilian National Association of Centers for the Defense of Child Rights (ANCED), and calls upon the Brazilian State to limit the role of the private sector in education, from preschool to higher education.

Monday, 19 August 2013

The Brazilian President Dilma Rousself signed a new law on Sept 9, effective immediately, that education will receive 75 per cent of all oil revenues, which will amount to about $33 billion in next 10 years.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

EI's affiliate Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Educação (CNTE) has expressed its sympathy with the protests staged in major cities across the country since 12 June, which began after the announcement of an increase in the price of public transportation in cities across the country. More than one million people have rallied as part of the protest movement over the quality of public services, including education. 

Read the statement by CNTE in Spanish and English here.


Wednesday, 05 September 2012

On 5 September, over 10,000 protesters took to the streets of Brasilia and other Brazilian states under the banner, Independence equals quality education and decent work. They demanded the strengthening of public education through the approval in 2012 of the National Plan for Education.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

On 26 June 2012, Brazil's National Congress made history by setting the percentage of the GDP to be spent on public education at 10 per cent. After months of struggle, EI’s affiliate, CNTE, has achieved one of its most important objectives of recent years. The proposal, approved by the Special Committee of the National Plan for Education, stipulates that up to the fifth year of the National Plan of Education (PNE) being in force, direct investment in public education must be seven per cent of GDP, and 10 per cent after 10 years.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

On 14 March 2012, public school teachers in Brazil joined a national strike from 14-16 March. CNTE coordinated the nationwide movement aiming at achieving two key demands:


  • The implementation of a national minimum wage for education workers. This was agreed in 2008 by Lula da Silva’s government through a federal law (Lei Nacional do Piso do Magistério). However, it has never been applied at state and municipal level. According to the CNTE, teachers from at least 17 states in Brazil are underpaid, sometimes receiving up to two-thirds of the agreed minimum wage
  • To increase investment in education to 10 per cent of GDP, as well as getting the approval of the new PNE. The plan was drafted in 2010, with trade unions’ involvement, to help enhance quality and equality of access to education



Further information

Facts and data

Union contact

  • Confederacao Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Educacao, CNTE
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  • Confederacao National dos Trabalhadores em Estabelecimentos de Ensino, CONTEE
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  • Sindicato dos professores do Ensino Superior Publico Federal, PROIFES
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