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Education Woes Could Delay Brazil's Rise

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011

Brazil's recent achievements in developing a sound economy, harnessing natural resources, lifting tens of thousands out of poverty and even landing the 2016 Olympic games has many convinced that its emergence as a world power is inevitable. But ongoing internal challenges, especially poor educational performance, may delay its rise. Outgoing President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva's obsession with immediate poverty alleviation and school attendance led him to overlook the underlying institutional and policy challenges facing Brazil's education system. And though President Dilma Rousseff's new administration has made strengthening that system a priority, it faces myriad bureaucratic, financial and policy obstacles along the way.

There is no question about Rousseff's commitment to education as a key to Brazil's success. During the presidential campaign, she often promised not only to maintain Lula's anti-poverty programs, but also to strengthen the country's critical, but lagging, elementary and secondary education systems. ...

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