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Brazil's New Education Initiative: A Ray of Hope for Low-Income High School Students

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Saboor Bayat
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Brazil's New Education Initiative: A Ray of Hope for Low-Income High School Students

The Brazilian Ministry of Education under Camilo Santana's leadership embarks on a revolutionary journey of elevating low-income high school students. A new program is in the works, concentrating on offering these students monthly scholarships and a savings plan. The initiative primarily targets students hailing from families enlisted in the Bolsa Família program, proposing an annual scholarship of R$ 2,000 per student and a savings component of R$ 3,000, accessible upon completing high school.

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Provisional Measure to Support Education

The Lula government has issued a provisional measure (MP) to establish a fund to finance this policy from 2024 onwards. This program houses a priority status under the current administration, hoping to curb the unsettling high school dropout rates that currently stand at 8.8% in the first year. It estimates to benefit approximately 2.47 million young individuals, accounting for a substantial 31% of total high school enrollments.

Program Cost and Funding

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The program's projected cost for 2024 is R$ 7 billion, aligning with the R$ 1 billion already budgeted and an additional R$ 6 billion, approved by the Senate for this policy. The MP prioritizes students registered in the Cadúnico social programs database and weaves in conditions for students to maintain their place in the program, including regular attendance, passing grades, and participation in federal exams.

Legislative Support and Impact

To transform into law, the MP must pass through Congress, and the government has already concurred with Congress to authorize a bill for an additional R$ 6 billion in funding for 2023. Studies suggest that financial incentives can yield positive effects but shouldn't be regarded as the singular solution for high school education challenges. The commitment to the program's finances stands as the largest among the educational policies introduced by the Lula government, poised to significantly impact the population, particularly black and poor youth, who face a disproportionately high rate of not completing high school.

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