Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ratified a law today requiring public and private secondary schools in Brazil to offer Spanish classes, even if they are optional for students.
The proposal, authored by Federal Deputy ítila Lira (PSDB-Piauí), was passed by the National Congress in July.
According to the proposal, public schools should offer the classes in foreign language centers during school hours, the Ministry of Education (MEC, Ministério da Educação) informed.
In private schools the classes can be given in school classrooms during school hours or in foreign language centers. Schools will have five years to implant Spanish-language instruction. Norms for the teaching of the subject will be defined by state education councils.
An advance survey conducted by the MEC’s Secretariat of Basic Education shows that 1,411 teachers will be needed to give Spanish classes in the 1,354 secondary schools in the 11 Brazilian states that border on Spanish-speaking countries.
The states are Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Rondônia, Acre, Amazonas, Roraima, Amapá, and Pará.
The secretariat is examining the preparation of books to give a boost to the public schools, as well as teacher training.
9.1 million students attend secondary schools in Brazil, according to preliminary data from the 2004 School Census. Of this total, 8 million are enrolled in public schools (federal, state, and municipal) and 1.1 million, in private institutions.