Brazil: Boosting their economy with vocational education

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Brazil is investing in vocational education – a great example of a country focused on skill growth, not educational arrogance.

BrazilThey’ve embraced vocational education as their growing oil and gas industries have required more skilled professionals, including welders, electricians, builders and IT specialists.  The infrastructure projects boom, in preparation for the 2016 Olympics, has also led to a skills demand.

The Brazilian Government has boosted vocational education funding from $385 million to $3.8 billion.  That’s huge growth and, what’s even more interesting, the Government now refers to vocational education as “professional” education, with schools now called technical institutes.

Institutes have tripled, over the last 8 years

“There has been a radical change,” says Eliezer Pacheco, the Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Technological Education in Brazil’s Education Ministry.

“Now these institutes offer everything from basic education to graduate courses and doctorates in professional areas.”

This means, for example, someone who wants to be math teachers can attend a technical institute, right alongside people studying to be plumbers.  Furthermore, someone starting out taking technical courses, can easily switch to a degree program.

Brazil’s vocational institutes develop their programs around the demands of surrounding industries and local job markets.  This is the country’s strength.

High-school students can study subjects like information technology and industrial automation at the institute while pursuing their diplomas.  Graduate students can learn systems analysis and development.  And high-school graduates can take courses to become math teachers, a particular demand in the region.

However, with professional education now firmly on the national agenda, Brazil still has a way to go.

Unlike most parts of Colombia and Chile, Brazil’s vocational credits do not transfer to four-year universities, preventing students from continuing their education there.

Brazil’s public universities are still considered the country’s best for their prestige and quality of research and tuition is free at public universities.

A new age of education in Brazil

With the latest (and by many measures, best) higher education system in Latin America, Brazil is experiencing explosive growth from the last two decades.

And they’ve chosen to embrace their vocational system, to meet the demands of a booming economy.  Other countries should look for ways to utilise vocational education to address the need for skilled workers.

Interested in talking about how we might be able to assist you with uncovering VET market opportunities, then contact Wendy Perry, via

April 2016


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