In the last few years, Brazil increased its investment in education aimed at children aged up to five, and ranked higher than other Latin American countries, according to Education at a Glance 2018, a report published today (Sep. 11) by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Brazil is reported to have gone from an investment equivalent to 0.4 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 to 0.7 percent in 2015 in nurseries and pre-schools (children of up to five years of age).
The amount is lower than the 0.8 percent average for the 35 OECD nations, but is still higher than that of Latin American nations such as Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
Brazil, however, invests a mere $3.8 thousand per child a year in public nurseries (up to three years old), one of the lower percentages—both among OECD countries, most of which rich countries, and among partner economies.
“There is an increasing awareness of the key role that early childhood education and care plays for children’s development, learning and well-being,” the report reads, adding that studies found that the development of major areas, like emotional control, social skills, language, and counting reaches its peak in the first three years of a child’s life.
As for inclusion, Brazil also performed better than other Latin American countries. According to the study, 22 percent of children aged up to three are in school. More recent data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) show that this percentage reached 30.4 percent in 2015.
The Brazilian rate is higher than that of other countries, like Argentina (5 percent); Chile (20); Costa Rica (2), and Mexico (2), and is only surpassed by Colombia, which manage to have a 49 percent coverage. In pre-schools, the report shows, access is higher in Brazil—90 percent at the age of four, 97 at five, 100 at six.
As determined by Brazil’s National Education Plan (PNE), the country must expand the coverage to 50 percent for children aged up to three by 2024, and 2.4 million children are estimated to be included. As for pre-schools (four- and five-year-olds), the country is yet to meet the target of full coverage previously set for 2017.