Brazilian Companies Offer Education To Needy Kids Brazil's public education system handles 50 million students but, according to many, not very well. Private initiatives funded by thousands of Brazilian businesses have created a parallel education system.
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Brazilian Companies Offer Education To Needy Kids

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Brazilian Companies Offer Education To Needy Kids

Brazilian Companies Offer Education To Needy Kids

Brazilian Companies Offer Education To Needy Kids

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Brazil's public education system handles 50 million students but, according to many, not very well. Private initiatives funded by thousands of Brazilian businesses have created a parallel education system.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

NPR's Juan Forero has the story of one innovative program run by a Brazilian bank.

JUAN FORERO: Flavia Witzel's classroom is filled with new toys and books for her gaggle of 5-year-olds, all 28 of them decked out in new uniforms.

M: (Foreign language spoken)

FORERO: A decade ago, Witzel was a student at this same school, run in an industrial suburb of Sao Paulo by the Bradesco Foundation, part of the Bradesco Bank.

M: (Foreign language spoken)

FORERO: This school is big, with more than 1,600 students, and its tuition free for needy families from the neighborhood, says Denise Aguiar, director of the Bradesco Foundation.

M: We construct the schools, and we run the schools. Physically, it's like a private school because they are huge schools. They are constructed to be a school.

FORERO: Andres Souza is an economist who studies education, and he says the problem is a public school system that fails to properly educate children.

P: We are faring not well and actually dramatically below many other countries. Basically, our schools don't work.

FORERO: Terezinha Simoes(ph) agrees. She managed to get her grandson, Igor, into the Bradesco school, but not her granddaughter who remains in a public school.

M: (Foreign language spoken)

FORERO: Marcelo Amaral once taught in public schools.

M: (Foreign language spoken)

FORERO: Now, he's teaching math here at Bradesco, earning more and getting more time to do research and prepare for class.

FORERO: Keep working, creating your profile. OK?

FORERO: At Antonio Ghilard's science lab, students learn the difference between chemical and physical reactions. Explaining why, he helps his students light gas under beakers filled with water.

M: We can do whatever we want because we have so many resources.

FORERO: Among the students who are benefiting is Helen Confertino(ph). She's 14 and once went to a pubic school.

M: (Foreign language spoken)

FORERO: Juan Forero, NPR News.

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