This is a new contribution to the World Education Series, published as quick-reference guides to the educational systems of various countries. This book is focused on the development of the Brazilian educational system since 1964, when the military forces, supported by conservative civilian political groups, overthrew the elected leftist government of President João Goulart. The book describes the application of two fundamental laws which have shaped contemporary education at all levels in Brazil: the 1961 Law of Bases and Directives, and the 1971 Basic Education Law.
The first two chapters, in twenty pages, summarize the geography and history of Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world, and seventh most populous nation. Urbanization and economic growth came together after World War II in Brazil. The economically active population changed from sixty-eight percent rural to sixty percent urban between 1940 and 1970. The book then traces the growth of the educational system at three age levels—primary, secondary, and higher, with a chapter devoted to each level. Enrollment in primary schools grew from 12 to 23 million between 1964 and 1975. During the same period, undergraduate university enrollment grew from 143 to 942 thousand.
A very important educational development is described in a draper entitled “Nonformal Education,” which traces the development of training for young industrial and commercial workers, supported by a payroll tax contributed by employers. Another type of “nonformal education” is the mass literacy movement designated by the acronym MOBRAL which is reported to have taught eight million adult illiterates to read, between 1970 and 1975, at a cost per student of about nine U.S. dollars.
The authors have stated clearly in their concluding chapter that the military government denies academic freedom to students as well as to professors in the universities. The authors have taken a relatively nonideological position, which probably makes this book more accurate and comprehensive in its coverage of educational development since 1964 than other contemporary reports which deal with one or another politically controversial element. Fay Haussman is a student of development in Third World countries, and Jerry Haar of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare worked in Brazil on his doctoral thesis.