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Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

Administration: The Brazilian Constitution (1988) stated that education is the duty of the state and that its principle aim would be the total development of the individual, including his or her preparation to exercise citizenship and to qualify for work. The administration of the educational system by the federal government, the states, the Federal District, and the municipalities would follow a number of constitutional principles. For example, it is the responsibility of the Brazilian government to conduct a census of elementary school students, to publicize the enrollment process, and to be responsible, jointly with the parents or guardians, for students attending school.

Private teaching enterprise is allowed by the Brazilian constitution, provided it complies with the general rules of Brazilian education. The state must authorize and guarantee the quality of education provided by any private institution.

The different parts of the federal government—including the Ministry of Education, the states, the Federal District, and the municipalities—cooperate in the organization of the Brazilian educational system. The federal government organizes and finances the federal educational system of the states and of the territories. It grants technical and financial assistance to the states, the Federal District, and the municipalities for the development of their educational systems and provides compulsory schooling on a priority basis. Municipalities act on a priority basis in elementary and preschool education. It is the responsibility of the federal government to manage federal universities, public higher learning institutions, federal centers for secondary technological education, and a number of agricultural and technical high schools. The states direct most of the day cares, kindergarten schools, some elementary and secondary schools, and the state universities. The municipalities act on a more basic level, controlling most of the primary schools, some day cares, and kindergarten schools.

Each educational system is managed by an executive body. In the federal sphere, the Conselho Nacional de Educação (Nacional Council of Education) establishes the working rules. The Ministry of Education handles political issues, such as planning and administrative decisions. On the state level and in the Federal District, regulatory functions belong to the Conselho Estadual de Educação (CEE). Administrative functions, as well as the control of private education at the primary and secondary levels, are managed by the Secretaria Estadual de Educação or SEE (State Secretariats of Education). In the municipalities, the Conselho Municipal de Educação or CME (Municipal Council of Education) and the local secretariats or departments of education are responsible for regulatory and administrative functions. Each system is autonomous and hires personnel by means of competitive public examinations, and each manages their resources within certain rules and principles. The federal government, the state, the Federal District, and the municipalities must organize a yearly national plan to integrate actions aimed at the coordination and development of education on various levels.

Finance: Each year the federal government is mandated to apply no less than 18 percent of public expenditures on education. In reality, about 5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) is applied. The Federal District, states, and municipalities must apply at least 25 percent of their tax revenues, including those resulting from transfers from the federal government. The federal government contributes 20 percent, the state contributes 50 percent, and the municipalities, 30 percent. Supplementary food and health assistance programs must be financed with funds derived from social contributions and other budgetary funds. An additional contribution called salário educação (education salary) is made by companies and constitutes another source of funds for public elementary education. Companies that maintain an in-house educational program for their own employees and dependents may deduct from this fund the amount of money invested in elementary education.

Public funds are allocated to public schools. They may also be allocated to community, religious, or philanthropic schools as long as they prove that they do not seek profit and that they invest their funds in education. These institutions must ensure that their equity is assigned to another community, philanthropic, or religious school, or to the government in case they cease their activities. Funds can also be allocated to elementary and secondary school scholarships for those who are needy, or for whenever a student must attend a private school because there are no vacancies or regular courses at the appropriate level in the public school system nearest to the student's residence. In such cases, the government is required to invest, on a priority basis, in the expansion of its network in that area.

Research & Technology: Brazilian universities are autonomous. They enjoy didactic, scientific, administrative, and financial autonomy, as well as fair management. However, they must follow the principles of coherent teaching, research, and advanced study, which makes them eligible to receive financial support from the government and/or private sponsors. In 2001, one of the problems that the federal universities faced—and which was in the process of being reformed—was the lack of freedom the administrators had to reassign resources. Changing this system would increase flexibility and provide greater autonomy to the universities. However, the matter required a constitutional change, so in the meantime, other legal instruments were being used to ease this problem.

Although educational research in Brazil is conducted by different institutions (universities, institutes, research centers, etc.), research activities are concentrated at public universities. In 1993, some 99 institutions were officially involved in all areas of research. That number more than doubled in 2000 to over 200, and 80 percent of the almost 12,000 groups involved in academic research belonged to public universities.

According to the results of a census organized by the Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa or CNPq (National Council of Research) that polled all of the groups involved with academic research in Brazil in the year 2000: 57.0 percent of those groups conducted their work in the southeast region of Brazil, 31.0 percent in São Paulo, and 16.0 percent in Rio de Janeiro; 11.5 percent were affiliated with the Universidade de São Paulo (University of São Paulo); 27 percent of the studies concentrated on the humanities; the most studied fields were health (31 percent) and education (30 percent); 79.5 percent of the groups started their research between 1995 and 2000.

In total, 10 percent of the research conducted by these groups resulted in high quality work, according to international standards. Considering the fact that most of these research groups (almost 60 percent) were still in the formative stages in 2001, the Brazilian government considered the results satisfactory. The most traditional research institutions in Brazil are the independent public agencies CAPES, CNPq, FINEP, FAPESP, and FAPERJ, and two private foundations—Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and Fundação Carlos Chagas (FCC) in São Paulo.

Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior or CAPES (Coordination of Improvement of Higher Learning Personnel) is a public entity linked to the Ministry of Education. It was created in 1951 as a program (campanha) and transformed into a foundation (fundação) in 1992. CAPES is responsible for the graduate policies and the coordination of education and research on this level by granting scholarships and aid. It is responsible for the formation of highly qualified human resources to teach at the university level, to perform research, and to fulfill professional demands and needs in public and private sectors. CAPES has a system of course evaluation that is highly respected by other national institutions.

The Instituto Nacional de Estudos Pedagógicos or INEP (National Institute for Pedagogical Studies), a national institute for educational studies and research, is an independent entity responsible for obtaining, evaluating, and storing the country's education information. It created the Sistema Nacional de Avaliação da Educação Básica or SAEB (Evaluation System for Basic Education) to evaluate the performance of elementary and secondary schools. Another innovation is the Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio or ENEM (National Secondary Education Examination), which is used to evaluate, give credentials, and promote further studies on entry into the labor market. The exam for higher education (ENC) includes 18 higher-level subjects and 2,700 courses. In 1992, the state of Minas Gerais, took the initiative and created a comprehensive system, testing every school in the state.

INEP's major policies are designed to implement a new funding model for basic education (FUNDEF), to transfer funds directly to public schools (the "Money at School" Program), to expand and decentralize the National School Meal Program, to implement the Minimum Income Program (an education grant), to develop the Integrated System of Educational Information (SIEd), and to expand the Nordeste (Northeast) Project through the Basic Education and School Empowerment Fund (FUNDESCOLA).

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Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferenceBrazil - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education