More Brazilian Indians Looking for Basic Schooling

    Registration of indigenous students for elementary school has increased in the last three years, according to the 2005 School Census.

    This week, the Ministry of Education (MEC) released an evaluation that indicates a 40% growth in relation to 2002 and 2003 data. The expansion of the school system had a 35% increase.

    The Coordinator of MEC’s Indigenous School Education, Kleber Gesteira, said that this increase was due to the investments made by the government in the construction of new schools and in teachers training programs.

    He added that one other reason is that indigenous population growth rate is high, which increases the need for schools.

    "Indigenous communities consider the school a strategic tool for their development and for the improvement of life quality. This makes them fight for quality public education."

    The 2005 School Census also indicates progress in the middle school system at indigenous lands. The number of schools jumped from 18, in 2002, to 72, this year, a 300% increase.

    Only 1% of all the schools in the country are specific for the indigenous population, that is, 2,324 units, located in 24 states.

    Next year, the government will invest US$ 4.99 million (11 million reais) to train teachers and technicians of the school system, as well as to build new schools.

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