United States and Brazil Strengthen Education Partnership

January 10, 2001


January 8, 2001

Contact: Melinda Ulloa

(202) 205-8811

As part of a continuing effort to highlight and expand international educational opportunities, U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley is participating in a joint U.S.- Brazil education conference in Atlanta. The conference focuses on educational challenges and innovations in high schools, colleges and universities in the United States and Brazil.

“What we accomplish here will have a positive impact on the lives of young people and their families in both our countries,” Riley said. “Last year 114,000 U.S. students studied outside our country’s borders. I hope that through efforts like these we will re-energize international education and encourage many more young people to experience opportunities in higher education abroad.”

This is the sixth binational education meeting between the U.S. and Brazil, the two largest democracies in the hemisphere. Since forming the education partnership on October 14, 1997, the U.S. and Brazil have held discussions to address important issues in education for both nations. The partnership has been bolstered by the fact that Riley is the longest serving education secretary in U.S. history and Paulo Renato Souza is the longest serving education minister in the history of Brazil.

“In these meetings we have discovered new ways to help each other provide a brighter future for our nations’ young people,” Riley said. “We are focused on working together to create an education network that will successfully serve future generations.”

President Clinton issued an executive memorandum on international education policy on April 20, 2000. That directive outlined a coordinated international education strategy to help this country meet the twin challenges of preparing our citizens for a global environment while continuing to attract and educate future leaders from abroad. The partnership with Brazil predates this directive and was fortified by a memorandum of understanding between the two countries which details five priority areas of education policy that were discussed at earlier binational meetings. They are:

  • Technology in Education. February 1998. The two countries exchanged findings on the impact and effectiveness of technology on student learning. In April of that year the United States and Brazil launched the Learning Technologies Network (LTNet). Funded by USAID, this interactive, internet-based information clearinghouse links universities, government agencies, and private sector entities in both countries. The bilingual, joint world-wide-web site offers information on innovative uses for educational technology.

  • Educational Standards, Assessments, and Indicators. December 1998. This meeting focused on both countries working together to build world-class systems of education statistics and indicators. Also discussed were ways of sharing information on new trends in student assessment.

  • Strengthening Professional Development of Teachers and School Managers. April 1998. The two countries launched a new teacher-exchange program. Since then, more than 130 Brazilian educators have traveled to the United States and over 115 Americans have traveled to Brazil to attend workshops, seminars and consultations directly related to the program. The meeting focused on ways to prepare teachers and school administrators to face the challenges of today’s classrooms, including study visits to help school principals and policy makers improve community involvement in schools.

  • Diversifying Educational Exchanges. October 1999. The participants established a new postsecondary partnership to encourage US and Brazilian colleges to facilitate student exchange programs. The first grantees will be announced this year.

  • Enhancing Business, Community, and Family Involvement in Education. May 2000. Experts, practitioners, and educators from the two nations met to discuss various ways families and businesses can best contribute to children’s learning and to improve schools. USAID, in consultation with the Department of Education, is developing a project to encourage the creation of partnerships to improve the quality of schools in communities throughout Brazil.