Education and Schools in Brazil

Despite the country's positive economic development in recent years, the Brazilian public education system remains largely underfunded and plagued by social and structural problems. This, accompanied by the fact that classes at public schools are taught in Portuguese, means that most expats choose to send their children to private or international schools in Brazil, of which there are many to choose from. 

Public schools in Brazil

The standard of education at Brazilian public schools remains low and there are often reports of overcrowding and a lack of materials for teaching staff. 

Schooling is mandatory for children between the ages of six and 14. This compulsory nine years of education is known as ensino fundamental (elementary school). Public schooling is free during this periodFrom 15 to 18 years of age, children can continue on and attend ensino médio (secondary school).

Children attending public schools usually attend the school closest to their place of residence. Parents wishing to enrol their children in a public school need to visit the school in person to start the registration process.

Due to the demand for space, and in order to accommodate the high number of students, Brazilian schools often run three separate school sessions per day – in the morning, afternoon and evening. Children will attend one session per day. 

Private and international schools in Brazil

There are a number of private and international schools in Brazil, largely concentrated in the main cities of Brasília, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro

Most international schools in Brazil follow the British or American curricula, while some cater to other nationalities, including French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. Other international schools offer the International Baccalaureate diploma. 

Due to the higher standard of education offered at international schools in Brazil, many wealthy Brazilians choose to educate their children at these institutions. Many international schools have a multicultural student body with children from all over the world.

Brazilian private schools, on the other hand, generally follow the Brazilian local curriculum. Some private schools have a religious foundation or offer bilingual instruction. Some expats prefer to send their children to private schools due to the lower fees compared to international schools.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Aetna International

Aetna is an award-winning insurance business that provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. Their high quality health insurance plans are tailored to meet the individual needs of expats living and working abroad.

Get a quote from Aetna International


Cigna Global

With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.

Get a quote from Cigna Global