Lack of documents and illness are the main reasons that 7 million Brazilian children and adolescents up to age 17 don’t attend school. Another 5.3 million don’t study because they don’t want to or because they believe they have attained the level they desire.
These data are from "Complementary Aspects of Education and Access to Income Transfers through Social Programs, 2004," a supplement released Wednesday, March 22, by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
The study provides an analysis of the access to and the utilization of the country’s public and private educational system by around 60 million children and adolescents between the ages of 0 and 17 in 2004.
Nearly 16 million did not attend school, and the reasons they presented also included the absence of a school or day-care center close to home, the lack of vacancies, and the need to work to help out at home.
For the coordinator of the National Right to Education Campaign, Denise Carreira, this diagnosis accurately portrays the situation of exclusion experienced by millions of poor children and youths in Brazilian society.
The educator argues that schools do not offer sufficient enticements to ensure the permanence of students, and the main reason is the lack of funds.
"For a child or youth to remain in school, other policies are needed that operate in conjunction with the educational system. Instead of viewing school as just a way to alleviate poverty, we must establish adequate conditions for students to develop their learning paths. In this respect, we defend the expansion of funds for education, associated with participatory school governance and the valorization of educational professionals."
The IBGE study shows that 809,000 children and adolescents between the ages of 7 and 14 remained out of school in 2004. This figure represents 2.9% of the nearly 28 million individuals in this age bracket at the time.
In 1993, 11.4% of the children and adolescents in the same age bracket did not attend school. The proportion decreased to 5.3% in 1998, 4.3% in 1999, and 2.8% in 2003.
The majority of those who didn’t attend school in this age bracket – 362,000 – claimed that they didn’t study for lack of documents, illness, or incapacity. The second most frequent reason – 261 thousand – was lack of desire.
Of the nearly two million in the 15-17 age bracket, the majority – 886,000 – said they didn’t study for lack of desire. 517,000 alleged illness or incapacity, and 390,000 said they had to work.