School in Brazil
In Brazil, a country located in South America according to localtimezone, children start school when they are six. They then go to primary school together for nine years. Compulsory schooling ends at the age of 14. Those who want to continue to school attend secondary school for three years. It can either be general education, then you can study at the university, or vocational education – then the students are more prepared for the profession. If you want to go to university, you still have to pass an entrance exam there.
School uniforms cost money
All students wear a school uniform. The parents have to buy them, as well as school books and pens. This is a big problem for many poor families and some children are not even sent to school. Children from poor families also have to do child labor.
In primary school, of course, the children first learn to read, write and do arithmetic. Then there are Portuguese, history, geography and finally a foreign language as subjects. Mostly it’s English. Grades 1 to 5 form a level, just like grades 6 to 9.
Top grade 10
By the way, there are grades from 0 to 10. You need at least a 5 to pass, in some schools a 6. 10 is the best grade. The school year starts in February and ends in early December. There are two weeks of vacation in July. Many schools have been converted into all-day schools. At noon, students receive a free lunch.
The plaster is crumbling
State schools are often poorly equipped. The buildings are broken, materials such as books are missing. The teachers are poorly paid and often poorly trained. But private schools cost money and only wealthy families can afford to attend school there. But there are efforts to improve the state schools.
Poor children, working children
Although Brazil’s economy has been growing for years, there are also many poor people in the country. 5 percent of the population live below the international poverty line and have less than $ 1.90 to live on every day.
Much more, namely 26 percent, live below the national poverty line. They have a little more money, but are still poor. Most of the poor families live in the northeast. In addition, families in rural areas and an above-average number of Afro-Brazilian families, i.e. people with black skin, are often affected. Most of their ancestors come from Africa.
What is a favela?
The poverty in the country is particularly evident in the favelas. This is what people call the slums in Brazil. People move from poor rural areas to the cities because they hope to find work there. But there is no living space for them and so they settle on the outskirts. They build a makeshift huts.
So the favelas keep growing. There is no running water, sewage or electricity, but the residents often lay their own pipes. Drug sellers and other criminals hang around in the narrow alleys of the favelas. Mountains of rubbish are piling up along the way. But the view is often good, because the favelas usually stretch up the mountains that surround the cities. The residents should be less interested in that.
For some years now, there have been government efforts to improve these settlements. Lines were laid or cable cars built so that residents can get to the city center more quickly. A peace police was also sent to the neighborhoods to settle disputes between residents.
Children from poor families often go to work. Some do it before or after school, but many don’t even go to school. Overall, more boys than girls work. Some children look after their families all by themselves. Most of the children work in agriculture. They help with the harvest of coffee, sugar cane or citrus fruits.
Others work in brickworks, clothing factories or in mining, and girls often work in households. On the street you can see the children selling something, for example chewing gum, or cleaning their shoes. At traffic lights they clean the car windows or they juggle balls to get some money for the demonstration.
There are also children in Brazil who live on the streets. You sleep outdoors, under bridges or in doorways. They beg or earn money with small jobs. Many take drugs. Sniffing glue is widespread. This numbs the senses and so they forget their misery for a moment. But sniffing also makes you sick.