Training and Development

Edutech booms as Brazil rethinks educational system

Improving the vast state education system is one of the priorities of the Brazilian government, announced the president Ms Dilma Rousseff in her inaugural address at the beginning of the year. The motto for her second term will be: ‘Brazil, a country of education’, Rousseff highlighted in her speech, and in a country with an expanding online community, it is expected that technology will play its part in this quest.

The edutech industry in Brazil is booming with companies taking tools already tested in different countries and adapting them to Brazilian needs. Veduca, Descomplica and EvoBooks are examples of startups that are benefiting from Brazil’s fast-changing educational landscape.      

Veduca – a combination of the words “video” and “education” – provides online courses that it licensed from top universities, such as Stanford, MIT and Oxford. Launched in March 2012, its main differentiation is that most of its videos are subtitled in Portuguese. The startup is also working with Brazilian universities, such as USP (University of São Paulo), with the stated aim to “democratise access to high-quality education in Brazil and in emerging countries”, as stated on its website.  

That aim is also a priority for Marco Fishben, CEO of Descomplica, the largest online classroom in Brazil.

“The challenge is to make the students from state schools achieve the same level of proficiency as the students from the private schools during the ‘vestibular’ period,” explains Fishben, referring to a competitive examination system used by Brazilian universities to select students.

“This is something that starts in the most basic levels of the educational system and should have the unconditional attention of Brazilian society,” argues Fishben, who worked as a teacher for 15 years before launching the Descomplica project.

Descomplica’s initial market is Brazilian high-school students and to date the website has helped more than 8.8 million students with general curriculum and test preparation for university entrance exams.

According to Fishben, Descomplica’s success is due to the idea that “the student should learn while having fun”. The startup says it delivers “high-quality content produced by top teachers” at an affordable subscription plan.

“We can reproduce in the online environment the sensation of being in a class and this includes even the possibility of interaction with the teacher in the case of our live classes,” says Fishben. “At the same time, today, with smartphones, tablets and computers, the student can access the specific content he needs at the time and place that are most convenient for him.”        

Evolution of learning

“The evolution of educational content” is the slogan used by another edutech outfot in Brazil. EvoBooks, one of the companies selected by the federal government’s Start-Up Brasil programme in 2013, is a São Paulo-based publisher of digital educational content created to contribute to institutions, teachers and students by developing educational apps that optimise the use of technology. The material, suitable to school curricula, is enhanced by 3D images and the sort of animation to be found in the video games on which Brazilians teenagers are particularly keen. Founded in 2011, Evobooks is now used by more than 500,000 students in over 1,100 schools in Brazil.

“We believe that the use of technology will be one of the greatest allies of the teaching and learning process. Therefore, our mission is to help support this transformation, by amplifying the essence of teacher–student interactions,” the company says. 


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