Education International
Education International

Brazil set to spend 10% of GDP on public education

published 9 July 2012 updated 10 July 2012

On 26 June, Brazil's National Congress made history by setting the percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to be spent on public education at 10 per cent. After months of struggle, EI’s affiliate, Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Educação (CNTE), has achieved one of its most important objectives of recent years.

The proposal, approved by the Special Committee of the National Plan for Education (PNE), stipulates that up to the fifth year of the PNE being in force, direct investment in public education must be seven per cent of GDP, and 10 per cent after 10 years.

Educational responsibilityThe way has also been paved for approval of the Law on Educational Responsibility. This law is aimed at regulating important issues on education quality such as introducing the universal seven-hour school day for basic education.

“This shows we’re really starting to improve the quality of public education in Brazil,” stated CNTE President Roberto de Leão. “This is a victory for social activism: by students, the national campaign for education, teachers, and all those who helped to make it a reality.”

In the words of the Vice-President of EI Regional Committee in Latin America and CNTE International Relations Secretary, Fátima Da Silva, “all of our countries need to devote more resources to education in order to consolidate the quality public education that States have a duty to provide".

EI support

EI has followed the progress of the Brazilian teachers' struggle to secure 10 per cent of GDP for education and their lobbying strategies, with pressure exerted on the streets, social networks, in the media, and at all levels of society.

The same fight for adequate economic resources to be allocated to public education is also ongoing in other Latin American countries such as the Dominican Republic,  where less than four per cent of GDP is spent on education and the unions are waging a tireless struggle.

On this note, the EI Policy Paper approved during the 2011 Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, states that democratically elected Governments must become the guarantors and main providers of education systems.

The document adds: “By raising funds through progressive taxation, Governments can and must invest a substantial proportion of the state budget in education, with a target of at least six per cent of GDP."

To learn more about the successful National Campaign for the right to education in Brazil, please click here