BBC News, 4/30/2015
More than 200 people are reported to have been injured in clashes between police and teachers protesting in the Brazilian city of Curitiba.
Police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at demonstrators in the southern city on Wednesday. Officers said they had been forced to act when a group of protesters tried to break through police lines around the state legislative assembly.
The teachers were protesting against proposed changes to their pension. Curitiba city officials said 213 people had been injured. The emergency services reported that eight were in a serious condition in hospital.
Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 3/25/2015
Brazil’s economy has slowed sharply. The brakes were applied by the end of the commodity supercycle that occurred in the first decade of the 21st century combined with rapid credit growth.
The debate in Brazil has returned to the vexed question of how to make one of the world’s most inward-looking economies more competitive.
The answer lies in improving education, streamlining taxation, simplifying bureaucracy in general, and fixing infrastructure. But beneath these concepts are complex questions that run as deep as Brazilian politics and culture itself.
Sergio Fausto – The German Marshall Fund of the United States, 2/27/2015
Brazil’s future prospects, and ability to harness its advantages, will hinge on its own policy choices over the next few years. Yet the outlook for meaningful change is unclear. At present, Brazil is in a weaker position than four years ago, from both an economic and a foreign policy standpoint. Even in a scenario where Brazil’s economy gradually returns to the course it was on until 2008, no major strategic changes are likely to happen in Rousseff’s four-year term.
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.
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.
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.
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.