According to the National Household Sample Survey (Pnad 2003), released
yesterday by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), in 1992
only 14.7% of women had over 11 years of schooling, while 39.7% of them had no
more than three years.
The study also reveals that Brazilian women stay in school longer. 26.4% of them have 11 years of schooling or more, while, among men, this percentage is only 23.1%.
In 2003, 26.3% of the population, including the 15.2 million illiterates over 10 years old, had either never set foot in school or not advanced beyond the third year.
The study also reveals that 75% of the Brazilian population has, at the most, 10 years of schooling.
One of the factors contributing to this phenomenon is that, while around 98% of children up to 14 years of age attended school in 2003, only 82.4% of those above the age of 14 continued studying.
Over the course of ten years, the educational level of children and adolescents in the 5-17 age group improved.
The percentage that didn’t attend school dropped from 42.3% to 21.3% in the 5-6 age bracket, from 11.4% to 2.3% in the 7-14 bracket, and from 38.1% to 17.6% in the 15-17 bracket.
There was also an improvement in the educational level of the working population.
In 1993, 19% had 11 years of schooling or more, which corresponds to a complete secondary education. In 2003 this percentage had grown to 32%.
The illiteracy rate declined from 15.6% in 1993 to 10.6% in 2003. In the 10-14 age group, in which children are already expected to be able to read and write, the rate fell from 11.3% in 1993 to 3.5% last year.
In the Northeast, the poorest region of the country, the reduction was substantial, from 26.7% in 1993 to 8.1% in 2003.
Nevertheless, the illiteracy rate in the Northeast is high in comparison with the South (0.8%) and the Southeast (1%).
Translator: David Silberstein