‘Teachers not footballers’ needed by Brazil

October 1, 2014

Martin Hall – BBC News, 09/30/2014

In the run up to this year’s World Cup in Brazil there were protest banners reading: “Teachers are more important than footballers.” For Brazil, this is saying something. And when Brazilians go to the polls for the first round of the presidential elections this week, one of the main issues will be education.

There is a shortage of some 300,000 primary school teachers. At the other end of the education journey there is space for less than 20% of all students in Brazil’s highly regarded public universities – the rest pay fees for qualifications of variable quality.

In the protests that have swept through Brazilian cities, education is a recurrent theme on placards and in social media. Brazil’s demand for education is driven by both the country’s size and by the sustained economic growth through the presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

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As graduate numbers fall, Brazil looks to raise quality

September 25, 2014

Donna Bowater – Times Higher Education, 09/25/2014

The number of students completing higher education in Brazil has fallen for the first time in a decade, figures show.

There was a 5.7 per cent drop in the number of graduates last year compared with 2012 – the first decline in the number of university leavers since 2003.

Some 991,000 students graduated in 2013, a drop of almost 60,000 on 2012, despite the number of students enrolled on courses across the country increasing to 7.3 million. Across the federal system (as distinct from state and for-profit private universities), the number of graduates increased by 3.8 per cent.

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Brazil: Schoolboys wear skirts in protest after trans girl fined for wearing female uniform

September 22, 2014

Nick Duffy – Pink News, 9/21/2014

A group of boys at a Brazil school have donned skirts, after a transgender girl was fined by teachers for wearing the “incorrect” uniform.

17-year-old Maria Muniz, who recently came out as trans at São Cristóvão do Colégio Pedro II, was disciplined by teachers and handed a fine after she wore a skirt to school, instead of the regulation boys’ trousers.

The school claimed that their Code of Ethics did not permit “male” students to wear female uniforms – but was forced to backtrack on the decision when the girl’s classmates decided to protest by all wearing skirts to school too.

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Coursera launches in Brazil, becomes first online education provider to partner with its public universities

September 18, 2014

Emil Protalinski – TNW, 09/17/2014

Coursera today announced it is officially launching in Brazil. The company is teaming up with the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), its first university partners in Latin America to offer Portuguese courses.

That’s not the only first. Coursera is the first open online education provider to partner with Brazil’s top universities. Furthermore, the move today also means it is offering its first native Portuguese courses for learners not just in Brazil, but across the globe.

The two universities will develop courses targeted at Brazilian learners in high-demand topics from entrepreneurship to finance, slated for early next year. Coursera has also struck a deal with R7, one of Brazil’s largest web portals, to increase awareness of these new educational opportunities by featuring its courses.

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Rio de Janeiro named host city for the 2018 International Congress of Mathematicians

September 10, 2014

Secretariat for Social Communication of the Presidency of Brazil (SECOM), 09/10/2014

Also announced at this year’s Congress, in 2018 Brazil will become the first Latin American nation to host the Congress, which will bring some 4,500 researchers from around the world to Rio de Janeiro, again highlighting Brazil’s commitment to investing in global human capital.

In addition to Mr. Artur Ávila (a 35-year old Brazilian mathematician who was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians (the Congress) in Seoul, South Korea), four Brazilians were invited to lecture at this year’s Congress in Seoul, also all from the IMPA:  Fernando Codá, Carlos Gustavo Moreira, Mikhail Belolipetsky and Vladas Sidoravicius.

The IMPA has built a global reputation for supporting ground-breaking research, often in partnerships with other leading institutions around the world, as well as for educational activities to assist the development of young Brazilians across the country.  For example, the IMPA supports Brazil’s Olympic Mathematics Program – a national competition involving 190,000 students, as well as teachers from 5,300 schools and 155 graduate courses across Brazil. Mr. Ávila is just one example of a former Mathematics Olympian who has gone on to achieve global breakthroughs in his field.


Girls From Brazil’s Slums Find Escape In Ballet

August 25, 2014

AP – Fox News Latino, 8/25/2014

Past the graffiti-covered overpass and subway tracks, in a slum penned in by high-rises, 8-year-old Gabriela Aparecida fixes her curly hair into a bun as she waits for a ride to her new favorite activity: ballet. Peeling back the tarp over the doorway, the skinny girl reaches out into the dirt alleyway to hug the church volunteer arriving to take her to dance class.

Growing up amid drug dealers and addicts, Gabriela has yet to learn how to read. Yet she and other girls from a rough neighborhood known as a “cracolandia,” or crackland, are learning the graceful art courtesy of a local church group that also offers them food, counseling and Bible studies. The class is among several groups where young dancers hope to catch the eye of a respected Brazilian ballerina who recruits dozens of disadvantaged girls for an annual workshop.

Twice a week, more than 20 girls, ages 5 through 12, board a Volkswagen van for a 10-minute ride to class, where they put on pink or black tights and ballet shoes donated by a dancewear store.

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Fury at Brazil job seeker pap smears, virginity tests

August 11, 2014

AP – The Sydney Morning Herald, 8/9/2014

Women seeking education jobs in Brazil’s most populous state should not be required to submit to gynaecological exams or prove their virginity, according to women’s rights advocates.

The education department of Sao Paulo state requires female prospective teachers to undergo a pap smear to prove they are free of a variety of cancers, or to present a doctor’s statement verifying they have not been sexually active.

Until recently, it also required women to have a colposcopy, a type of visual examination used to detect disease.

Read more…


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