Brazil needs step up its game in math teaching at school. When students get to college for engineering, they end up dropping out

The traditional career, the promise of high demand in the market and – especially – high wages. Seen as “the profession of the future”, the Engineering area has attracted thousands of Brazilian students to classrooms. But attracts even those students who do not exactly have a vocation or taste for Exact science subjects, but seek the security of a financial stability.

Brazil needs to step up its game in math teaching

The result is a proliferation of engineering classes in private institutions, but at the same time, increased drop out rates in these courses. Without any affinity for the area and struggling to keep up with classes that depend on knowledge of physics and mathematics (disciplines that traditionally most brazilians have problems during the elementary teaching and high school) a lot of the students are dropping out.

Data from a 2013 survey done by the National Confederation of Industry (CNI – Conferência Nacional da Indústria) shows that 57.4 % dropped out of the engineering course half way. Most from private institutions.

It is the case of the University Anhembi Morumbi that sensing the increase in demand for the area (the number of enrollees increased over 200% since 2010) and also a change of the profile of the students, forced them to include in the curriculum dedicated disciplines “to consolidate the knowledge of fundamental and high school math teachings” as explained by them.

Survey data from the CNI show that a total of 105,101 people who entered into engineering courses at public and private institutions in the country in 2007. Five years later, however, only 42.6 % graduated.

Brazil right now, needs a huge amount of engineers to supply the demand of the oil industry, and the growth of the country. Compared to only other BRIC countries, Brazil is probably in a bad position, considering that Russia, India and China, and other emerging markets have a traditional math culture.

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Joe Conno
Dutch, American, Brazilian... lived there for 5 years and owns property in Brazil. Out of the country for a few years now and would like to go back, however current circumstances tell me it's not the right time.