What should you know about Veduca and the education system in Brazil
Recently Estado, a major newspaper reported the ascention of Veduca, a SME in Brazil that is rocking the education market and bothering very large and traditional private education universities in Brazil, due to their value proposition: “Democratize quality education in Brazil, by allowing anyone to have it for free”.
Veduca is a 16 people company located in Pinheiros, a very cool neighborhood in São Paulo. Veduca’s website already gathers videos with classes and courses from the 13 best Brazilian universities and several classes from other major universities around the globe, like Harvard,Stanford,Columbia,etc.
According to Carlos ( and he is quite right about it) what Brazil needs is education. In fact, Brazil is one of the countries with serious gaps in its education system and needs to find ways to improve it as soon as possible. The startup was created in 2012, and last year received an investment from Mcmillan, an English publisher and editor.
Understanding the Education system in Brazil
Below I’m attaching an image that I took from a study about the Education “market” in Brazil. The image is used just so you can have an idea how the education works in Brazil
Source:Estudo Oportunidades de Negócios em Educacao por vir
I. Stands for Children Education
II. Stands for Basic Education or elementary
III.High School or Middle School
IV. Technical or Higher Education
As you can see, a child has to go through 4 phases within the Brazilian education. I assume, that is pretty much the same in other countries. The question to pose here is, how many people in Brazil have access to education? Other question even more interesting is, how many have access to quality education?.
Companies are often going to the media to say. “We have jobs, but we do not have people with enough skills to fulfill these positions”… So several companies based in Brazil started to “import” foreing labour (with the crisis in Europe, several Portuguese,Spaniards and Italian) traveled to Brazil to find specific types of job. Firms are also investing in very basic tools, such as portuguese lessons and other courses for instance,as they claim that many employees arrive to the labour market without basic skills.
What are the causes for these issues?
Well, Brazil is known for being one of the countries with the most unequal income distributions when compared to many other countries. This picture has improved, but the reality is still screaming. There are in Brazil, some 13 million iliterate people according to the latest census. So despite the slight improvement Brazil has seen in its education over the past few years, there is still a lot work to be done.
In a country where income distribution is so different it is only natural to see and live with many inequalities.
So,how the system works…?
In order to go to study at university a Brazilian student has to go pass through all the 4 phases I described at the very start of this article. But in order to be eligible to study in an university students must pass on a test called Vestibular, that yearly happens in Brazil. Each and every university has a different date for their own Vestibular tests.
The best universities, or at least the ones with most candidates per position, release their Vestibular tests in November/December/January of each year. Some private universities, make 2 Vestibular tests per year, the so called “Winter Vestibular and Vestibular de fim de ano ( end of year)”.
This test will assess how much knowledge a student aquired during high school, and of course the years before. It is a general knowledge test, and it can last from 3 to 5 hours. The major problem of this system is that often, the students standing out, are those who studied in private schools,of course there are exceptions, but the “rule” is a vast majority that succeds in this test comes from private schools.
What types of schools are there in São Paulo?
In São Paulo, for instance, you can find all sorts of private schools. German, Spanish,Hebrew,American,English, and many other private schools offering different learning methodologies, such as Montessori,Steiner,Constructivist,etc. Parents, always seeking the best education – and some, even consider the “best network”-for their kids, pay for it.
Some international schools charge up to 6.000 BRL ( nearly 18.000 DKK) to have one (1) child studying. These schools offer activities such as music, sports, knitting,cooking,swiming and of course the regular subjects of other traditional schools in Brazil, like maths, portuguese, english,and the like. Needless to say that only a very small percentage of the Brazilian population is part of this privileged group.
International schools are usually the choice of foreign executives expatriated to Brazil, where companies offer this perk as one of the benefits to the foreign executive.
Private Non International
The other type of school most common for “mortals”, are private, but non international schools. There are several really good private non-international schools, and the price per child can vary from R$1500 to R$ 3.000 BRL. In a simplistic view, what mainly differs international private schools from non-international private schools is the fact that at international private schools children will be studying in an international environment, this means that they are going to be in touch with an international culture every day.
Lastly there are the public schools. It’s at public schools are where the majority of the deficiencies in the Brazilian educational system happens. Some years ago a governor in São Paulo had forbidden children to repeat grades. This was happening until very recently. The result was, several young adults leaving schools with a lot of learning deficiencies,and lack of skills, many of them would leave school not being able to read.
- Income distribution in Brazil is still very unequal.
- The educational system in Brazil benefits in its majority those who were fortunate to study in private scools
- The Brazilian educational system needs a model that works (In my opinion, of course)
If you ask me if there are opportunities for Danish companies in Brazil, within the educational sector, I would nod positively back to you. What I think Brazil needs is a model. We need to have a model that works. Brazil needs to learn how to think and how to develop a critical sense of thinking. This would be probably where I would some see many very interesting opportunities for Danish institutions,companies and professionals willing to bring their contribution to the Brazilian education market
What Veduca is doing is fantastic. Democratizing the education in Brazil is something that challenges the statuos quo, it changes paradigms and pre established models.
Veduca is challenging and changing the course of the education industry in Brazil and probably Worldwide.
hope you enjoyed and let me know if I missed out on something.
Would appreciate very much to have your feedback as well.