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The National Congress of Brazil passed the National Education Plan (Plan Nacional de Educação, PNE) on 3 June, around four years after the proposal was initially tabled by the Ministry for Education.
Brazil currently spends around 6.4 per cent of its GDP on education – including on schools and universities - a similar figure to that of the UK, where it is 6.3 per cent.
The PNE is composed of a set of defined goals that the ministry aims to have reached by around 2023.
There are proposals related to primary, secondary, and tertiary education. Among the latter, the ministry intends to raise the number of students aged 18-24 enrolling in higher education up to 50 per cent by 2023. As of 2012, the percentage stood at 30.2 per cent.
Postgraduate education is another of the PNE’s focuses, with the ministry intending to gradually increase the number of enrolments in postgraduate studies.
There were 42,878 master’s students in 2012, but the figure is expected to reach 60,000 by 2023. Similarly, the number of those with PhDs is intended to rise from 13,912 in 2012 to 25,000 in 2023.
In order to improve higher education, the PNE suggests increasing the number of master’s and doctorate students teaching in different university faculties, from 69.3 per cent in 2011 to 75 per cent in 2023.
Furthermore, teacher training will be strengthened across all sectors, as the ministry wants to ensure all teachers have specific training at tertiary level.
The lack of state investment in education has been one of the main criticisms against President Dilma Rousseff, especially in light of the huge expenditure in infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup, which starts on 12 June.