Brazil Education Pé de Meia

Pé de Meia: Lula’s Initiative Paves the Way for Educational Equality

Pé de Meia: Lula’s Initiative Paves the Way for Educational Equality

In a transformative move to empower the underprivileged youth of Brazil, President Lula recently sanctioned the Pé de Meia program, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at supporting low-income high school students. This program is not just about financial assistance; it’s a beacon of hope designed to combat high school dropout rates and create opportunities for a brighter future.

The Pé de Meia program, tailored for individuals up to 24 years old from low-income families enrolled in public schools, establishes a financial incentive resembling a savings account.

With an investment of over R$6 billion from the Lula government last year, this initiative is projected to reach an impressive R$21 billion over the next three years.

The goal is clear: provide crucial aid to more than 2.5 million students, including those from indigenous areas, quilombolas, rural communities, settlements, and children of farmers.

To qualify for the Pé de Meia benefits, students must be regularly enrolled in secondary education within public networks, belonging to families with a monthly per capita income equal to or less than R$218.

The Youth and Adult Education (EJA) modality extends eligibility to students aged 19 to 24. However, the finer details, such as values, payment methods, and operationalization criteria, are yet to be defined by a joint act of the Ministers of Education and Finance.

One notable feature of Pé de Meia is its integration with the National High School Exam (Enem). The government aims to make the first payments in March, offering an additional incentive for students who take the Enem.

This extra amount aims to further boost participation rates, aligning with the Lula government’s commitment to increase young people’s engagement in the exam.

Despite a notable increase in Enem participants last year, the Minister of Education, Camilo Santana, emphasized the need for further awareness and participation.

With an ambitious goal to encourage equity and democratization in access to higher education, the Ministry of Education plans to launch a national campaign, enhance coordination with states, and conduct research to understand the barriers preventing young students from taking the exam.

Rubens Lacerda, the director of Basic Education Assessment at Inep, highlighted the significance of Enem as a gateway to quality higher education.

Over 1 million public school students qualified for a place in public universities, while more than 1.6 million became eligible for ProUni scholarships in the last exam.

In essence, Pé de Meia and the concerted efforts to promote Enem participation are intertwined initiatives that underscore Lula’s commitment to educational equality.

These programs not only provide financial support but also strive to empower young Brazilians to seize the opportunities available for higher education, regardless of their socio-economic background.


Soledad Quartucci | CEO/Founder, Latina Republic

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