Secondary Education in Brazil

In Brazil, since 1996 high school is officially called Ensino Médio (formerly Segundo Grau). Until 1971, ensino médio had three different names: curso científico, curso normal and curso clássico ("classic"). As a result, the course was changed after and called colegial, also divided, with the first three years were the same for everyone and anyone who would subsequently make the old normal and clássico, had to do another year.

Historically, in Brazil, is called secondary what is now the second part of primary school (from the sixth year to the ninth year), plus high school.

It is the last phase to basic education. Brazilian high school lasts three years, attempting to deepen what students have learned in the Ensino Fundamental. Brazilian high school students are referenced by their year - 1st, 2nd and 3rd years.

Unlike other countries, Brazilian students don't have a final test to conclude studies. Their approval depends only on their final grade on each subject. Each university elaborates its own test to select new students - this test, the vestibular, generally happens once a year. Enem, a non-mandatory national exam, evaluates high school students in Brazil and is used to rank both private and public schools.

Best scores are usually achieved by students on public universities. Despite lack of funds and historical and social problems contribute to poor attendance from the students, especially those in public schools, those Universities usually are recognized as academically excellent.

Private establishments, on the other hand, may be recognized as academically excellent or merely as investments in social networking. Schedules vary from school to school. The subjects taught, however, are conceived by the Ministério da Educação (Ministry of Education) which emphasises the hard sciences.

The educational year begins in February and finishes in December, often having July as a break; institutions are permitted to define their own actual start and end dates. They must, however, provide at least 200 days of classes per year.

Universities are also divided into public and private. At this level, public ones are considered excellent and their vestibular exam is highly competitive (the exam for med school in UNICAMP may hit 300 candidates per place). For better preparation, therefore, many students take a curso pré-vestibular (university preparation course), which is offered by large private high schools.