Education in Rio de Janeiro

School system in Rio de Janeiro

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The regular school year consists of a minimum of 180 days of effective work, excluding tests and exams. The new National Education Bases and Guidelines Law establishes 200 school days.

The literacy rate for the citizens of Rio aged 10 and older is nearly 95 percent. This is extremely high compared to the national average.

In Rio, there are about 1,033 primary schools with 25,594 teachers and 667,788 students.

  • Primary schools are largely under municipal administration, while the state plays a more significant role in the extensive network of secondary schools (with a small number of schools under federal administration).
  • There are 370 secondary schools with 9,699 teachers and 227,892 students.
  • There are 53 college preparatory schools with 14,864 teachers and 154,447 students.
  • The city has six major universities and 47 private schools of higher learning. In addition, Rio has an ample offering of private schools that provide education at all levels.

Portuguese, the official national language, is the primary language taught in schools. However, English and Spanish are also part of the official curriculum.

The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, which offer graduate courses, and the State University of Rio de Janeiro are located in the city The Rio de Janeiro State University (public), Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (public) and Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (private) are among the country's top institutions of higher education.

Brazil's education system is divided into three levels: fundamental, intermediate and higher education.

  1. Fundamental-compulsory to 7 to 14 year old, extends over eight grades, with an annual minimum of 800 hours of activities.
  2. Intermediate- finishing fundamental school or the equivalent supplementary schooling is a requirement for entering intermediate. This schooling takes up 2,200 hours of school work, spread over at least three annual grades. After the regular age limit has been reached (21 years of age), the student may take suppletory courses or examinations.
  3. Higher Education- Either lato sensu (updating, specializing and further studies courses) or stricto sensu (master and doctorate courses).

Some notable higher education institutions are:

  • Rio de Janeiro State University(UERJ)
  • Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)
  • Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro(PUC-Rio)
  • Getúlio Vargas Foundation(FGV)
  • Military Institute of Engineering (IME)
  • University of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO)
  • Universidade Estácio de Sa (UNESA)
  • Preschool is also available to provide assistance to children under 7 years of age. Higher education is further split into undergraduate and graduate.

    Worldwide Classroom contains information on over 10,000 schools in 95 countries, including Brazil.


    The National Library in Rio de Janeiro is the largest in Latin America and ranks as the eighth largest library in the world. Originally created by the King of Portugal, in 1810, this is now a cultural monument. When the library was opened, it was off-limits to the general public and housed around 60,000 items from the royal family. It now has over 9 million objects, many with important cultural and historical origins.

    Update 29/05/2010


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