January 16, 2015
Asher Levine – Reuters, 1/16/2015
An unexpected regulatory change has taken the shine off Brazilian education companies in the new year, putting an end to a dizzying rally and raising questions about whether President Dilma Rousseff really has given up on interventionist policies.
The shares of education companies have skyrocketed over the past three years, despite a sharp slowdown in Brazil’s economy and a 12 percent drop in the benchmark Bovespa index. Investors saw the companies as a safe bet, given repressed demand for higher education among Brazil’s growing middle class and the government’s commitment to student loans and grants.
Two weeks ago, however, the government changed without warning the rules governing a college loan program known as Fies, which provides roughly half of the revenue of listed companies such as Kroton Educacional SA and Ser Educacional SA.
August 28, 2014
Matthew Malinowski and Anna Edgerton – Bloomberg News, 8/27/2014
Francisco Melo started working at age seven to help feed his 10 brothers and sisters on a Brazilian farm and went to school for only a few days. Jefferson, his 17-year-old son, never worked and attends technical school.
Their saga ties in with the story of 11 million Brazilians who gained access to higher education through state-funded initiatives in the past decade. It’s behind the longest contraction in Brazil’s labor force in at least 12 years, explaining how the unemployment rate is at a record low under President Dilma Rousseff even as job creation slows.
Programs that provide free work training, scholarships and subsidized student loans are buoying Rousseff’s campaign as she runs for re-election in October after delivering the slowest growth of any Brazilian president in more than two decades. The initiatives are creating a windfall for education providers and are shielding Rousseff from attacks that her economic stewardship has failed as rivals creep up in polls.
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.
August 7, 2014
Pablo Barros – The Guardian, 8/6/2014
There is an economic phenomenon transforming emerging economies around the world – the rise of a new middle class of consumers. And the need for business to manage their major impact on the existing global system of production and consumption.
Encouraging these new consumers to make sustainable buying choices is one of the greatest challenges facing responsible companies today. As traditional approaches fail, businesses in Brazil are now starting to explore the power of behaviour change techniques.
Over the last ten years, some 30 million Brazilians have joined the middle class. These new consumers are swelling the numbers of a market which is already stretching Brazil’s natural resources beyond their capacity. Nevertheless, it is impossible to deny to this segment of the population the access to consumption that is already enjoyed by other Brazilians.
August 7, 2014
Miranda France – The Spectator, 8/7/2014
When the American poet Elizabeth Bishop arrived in Brazil in 1951, she expected to spend two weeks there and ended up staying 15 years, a time of emotional turbulence and creative productivity. Bishop wrote poetry and prose and translated Latin American writers, including Octavio Paz, but this project, suggested by friends as a way to improve her Portuguese, is something completely different. It’s a teenager’s diary, written between 1893 and 1895 in the remote mining town of Diamantina, the highest town in Brazil. It’s a delightful, funny and revealing memoir, a little bit of Austen in the Americas.
Helena’s real name was Alice Dayrell, (the pseudonym came from her English relations). At the time she was writing, Diamantina was ten days’ journey from Rio de Janeiro, two by train, eight by mule. Set in a weird landscape of giant boulders and ant-hills, it’s a town where everyone knows everyone else’s business and, as Helena often reminds us, all of them are lunatics. ‘Just build a wall around the town. The place is a regular asylum.’
Helena’s father is mostly absent; he’s invested in a new diamond mine, so far with nothing to show for it. Many of the region’s inhabitants are after that elusive, fortune-making diamond that will change everything. Helena’s family live in hope of future riches and scrape by as best they can.
August 4, 2014
During the Brazil Institute’s event on July 29, 2014, Mauro Paulino and Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva provided their insight on the upcoming Presidential elections in Brazil. Paulino, through his work with the prominent Brazil-based research institute, Datafolha, revealed past as well as present statistics and predictions to shed light on the development of voter intention in the upcoming October elections.
The general electorate in Brazil is younger and more educated than it was in the past, leading to a higher distrust in political parties. The speakers note that because of this, the current candidates would do well in distancing themselves from the government and its reputation for corruption by offering a new and separate alternative, but it is unknown as to whether or not this will come to fruition.
Paulino points out a Brazilian anomaly in that although television time is generally thought to enhance candidates’ chances of getting elected, this notion is statistically not true in Brazil. This-coming election also holds the largest percentage of people who are currently unsure for whom they would vote or who would not select any of the candidates by submitting a blank vote. Read the rest of this entry »