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.
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.