School system

The education system is overseen at federal government level by Brazil's Ministry of Education, which issues guidelines on the organisation of educational programmes. Local governments are responsible for establishing state education programmes and following the federal government guidelines issued. There are 9 years of compulsory education in Brazil.

The education system comprises three stages, which are divided into different tracks. Primary education (the first level of education) is free of charge and compulsory for all children between six and fourteen years of age. Secondary education is also free of charge, but is not compulsory. Although the state provides free education, private schools attempting to offer a higher standard of education are also available. Some of these do not charge fees. Higher education (including at undergraduate level) is only free of charge at the public (state-run) universities.

Swiss school

The Federal Office of Culture supports 17 Swiss international schools which provide a Swiss education to young Swiss nationals living abroad. There are Swiss international schools in São Paulo and Curitiba. The Swiss International Schools provide bilingual education that equips children with sound cultural knowledge and prepares them for the job market both within and outside Brazil. The schools provide education from kindergarten to secondary school level and follow the Brazilian calendar. 

International schools

There are international schools in Brazil's major cities. Some of these schools follow their national school holiday timetables, including the German international schools, which are recognised and supported by Germany. There is also a Lycée Français providing a French education and a number of British and American schools. 


As university admission requirements vary significantly, it is essential to obtain detailed information in advance from the relevant higher education institution. It is best to contact the admissions office of your chosen university well in advance. The Brazilian higher education system comprises both public universities, which do not charge for tuition, and private universities, which can be very expensive. The majority of Brazilians apply to study at a public university because they offer high academic standards and do not charge tuition fees. There is therefore fierce competition for places at public universities. 


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