Sources

Why Brazilian Students Are Getting Worse At Math

It's simple economics: people with math skills have higher-paying job offers than teaching.

Brazil has a deficit of 65,000 math teachers
Brazil has a deficit of 65,000 math teachers
Fabio Takahashi

SÃO PAULO – The percentage of students with a sufficient knowledge of math decreases in Brazilian public schools over the course of junior high school, according to a new study.

The NGO Todos pela Educacao (All For Education) compared students’ achievements in public school from 2007 to 2011. They used the results of the Prova Brasil (Test of Brazil) exam, an assessment carried out by the Ministry of Education on students in 5th and 9th gradex in urban public schools, as well as a sample from rural and private school students. The test assesses Portuguese language and math skills.

The study found that students with an adequate knowledge of math fell from 22% when they were in 5th grade in 2007 to 12% when they were in 9th grade, in 2011.

Around 88% of them were not able to calculate percentage, a plane figure's area or read information in a column graph. In Portuguese language, the decline was not as pronounced – from 26% to 23%.

One of the main reasons cited by experts was the shortage of math teachers from grades 6 to 9.

“A young person with math skills will get higher wages working as an engineer or in a bank. Few want to teach,” explains Professor Rogerio Osvaldo Chaparin, from the University of Sao Paulo. According to the Ministry of Education, there is a deficit of 65,000 math teachers in Brazil.

In 2010, Igor Willian, 17, spent an entire year at his school in Sao Paulo without a math teacher. “I still have problems with math today,” he says. “I'd like to study civil engineering, but I'm afraid of flunking in calculus.”

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

Colombian Gen Z Wins Battle For The Right To Have Blue Hair At Graduation

A determined student's victory for freedom of hair in conservative Colombia.

Expressing herself

Alidad Vassigh

BUCARAMANGA — It may not be remembered alongside same-sex marriage or racial justice, but count it as another small (and shiny) victory in the battle for civil rights: an 18-year-old Colombian student whose hair is dyed a neon shade of blue has secured the right to participate in her high school graduation, despite the school's attempt to ban her from the ceremony because of the color of her hair.

Leidy Cacua, an aspiring model in the northeastern town of Bucaramanga, launched a public battle for her right to graduate with her classmates after the school said her hair violated its social and communal norms, the Bogota-based daily El Espectador reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS
MOST READ