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são paulo - a tale of two cities

São Paulo, as a state and as a metropolitan region, has always benefited from its heritage and its unfailing strength as a leader of industry, culture and progress. As part of the prosperous southeast, São Paulo has enjoyed better performance on educational indicators than other regions, but it still faces major challenges to educating all of its citizens equitably. The influx of poor migrants from the north and northeast and the favelisation of the city throughout the 20th century increased the pressure on the state to provide adequate universal education. The state now has over five million students, 250,000 teachers, 5,350 state schools and six unions representing the interests of those working in education.107 The 2006 SEADE/UN-HABITAT Living Conditions Survey data shows that despite some solid improvements, considerable inequalities in educational outcomes persist, particularly in secondary schools. In 1998, a total of 94.7 per cent of 7- to 14-year-olds attended school. In 2006, the total was 98 per cent, with a breakdown of 98.6 per cent from non-vulnerable households and 97.4 from vulnerable households. Considering the significant income and consumption disparities in São Paulo, the virtual parity in attendance among students from vulnerable and non-vulnerable households indicates that the government is close to achieving universal coverage of primary education in the municipality. Students undoubtedly experience varying degrees of quality in school facilities and instruction, however. Inequalities in secondary school attendance and completion among students from dif-

ferent socioeconomic backgrounds are more persistent. While the proportion of 15- to17year-olds in school in São Paulo increased from 54 per cent in 1998 to 66.5 per cent in 2006, only 57.9 per cent of vulnerable household youths attended secondary school, with 38.6 per cent abandoning their studies before completion. By contrast, of the non-vulnerable household students, 71.9 per cent enrolled and 22.2 per cent abandoned secondary school or never attended. When dropouts

Inequalities in secondary school attendance and completion among students from different socioeconomic backgrounds are more persistent. are subtracted from the total, just 49.7 per cent of 15- to 17-year-olds from non-vulnerable households stayed in secondary school in 2006. Excluding dropouts, only 19.3 per cent of youth from vulnerable households stayed in school, suggesting massive inequality in education at this level. According to the SEADE/UN-HABITAT data, the inequalities start early in São Paulo: only 42.7 per cent of children from vulnerable households attended nursery school or kindergarten between birth and age 6, while 54.6 per cent of children from non-vulnerable households were enrolled. When parents were asked why they did not, or could not, place their children in kindergarten, the most common reason among parents from vulnerable households

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Guarapiranga. Making favelas accessible to rubbish collection and other sanitation services is critical to upgrading. Image: Christopher Horwood

Profile for UN-Habitat

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Profile for unhabitat
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