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Brazil: Mandatory Pre-School Enrollment for Four-Year-Old Children

(Apr. 18, 2013) A federal law approved on April 4, 2013 (Lei No. 12.796, de 4 de Abril de 2013, PLANALTO.GOV.BR) amends Law No. 9,394 of December 20, 1996, which establishes the guidelines for Brazil’s national education program (Lei de Diretrizes a Bases da Educação Nacional,Lei No. 9.934, de 20 de Dezembro de 1996, PLANATO.GOV.BR). According to the new law, now the enrollment of four-year-old children in pre-school is mandatory; in the past, school enrollment was only mandatory when a child reached six years of age.

With the change, basic education is now composed of pre-school, elementary school (ensino fundamental), and high school (ensino médio). Transportation, food, and educational materials will also be provided for children at all stages of basic education. (Pais terão que matricular filhos de 4 anos na pré-escola, O GLOBO (Apr. 5, 2013), Law No. 12,796 also establishes that the children’s education must be organized under the framework of a minimum 800 hours of schooling annually,spread overat least200 school days, including at least four hours a day for part-time students and seven hours a day for full-time students. (<?Id.)

A note released by the Ministry of Education explained that the municipal and state school networks will have until 2016 to adapt to the new requirements. (Id.)