Vocational Education and Training in Brazil: Knowledge Sharing Forum on Development Experiences: Comparative Experiences of Korea and Latin America and the Caribbean

Portela Souza, André;
Lima, Lycia;
Arabage, Amanda;
De Lucena, Thiago;
Jun 2015
The past decade has witnessed an unprecedented surge in the emphasis given to the role of vocational education and training in Brazil. This has been characterized by an increasing flow of resources from the government to vocational education and training and a substantial increase in the number of enrollments. Particularly from 2011 onwards, with the launch of the PRONATEC program as one of the main flagship initiatives of President Dilma Roussef's government, VET has gained even more visibility.The coverage of vocational education and training in Brazil is low, but it has an increasing trend. When compared to general education courses over time, the path is clear: VET education is gaining momentum, attracting more students that would otherwise follow a purely general track. Enrollment in VET courses still represents a small portion of total secondary education in Brazil but it has notably increased over the past years. The Federal government's spending on vocational education has risen from 0.04% of GDP in 2007 to around 0.2% of GDP in 2013. As a result, in 2007, 9% of total students enrolled in general secondary education were also enrolled in a VET program whereas in 2013, this number reached 17%.
Regarding VET provision, although private institutions still enroll less students than public ones, their importance is far from negligible. Such institutions play an important role in VET in Brazil, with special attention to the so-called S System, which is privately managed but receive public funds through taxes over firms' payrolls. The S System is responsible for the provision of approximately 43% of professional and technical education in Brazil.
Alongside of undeniable advancements pertaining to the recent surge of VET in Brazil, there are also several challenges. The challenges related to VET students and providers in Brazil are multidimensional and stretch over the entire student experience from a student's entry in a VET program, passing through school retention until the transition of students to the labor market. Among the main challenges pertaining VET in Brazil are the mismatch between supply and demand of professional skills, school evasion and lack of transparency by the government and VET providers.