What follows is yet to be organized and cited. It will be soon.

The Federal Council of Education (Conselho Federal de Educação) established a core curriculum that includes:
Primary: Geography is compulsory for all students in grades 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Secondary: Geography is compulsory for all three years of secondary education. It is part of the core curriculum.

History of Geography Education in Brazil
Historians of education generally establish the beginning of formal education in Brazil in the year 1549 when the first Jesuit priests arrived in the country and created the first elementary schools (Manacora, 1989). The monks followed the guidelines for pedagogical methods established by the Ratio Studiorum, the main reference text for Jesuit education. It was only in 1827 when the first official general law concerning basic education was passed. This first model for an educational plan prescribed education as the task of the state and defined much of what should become the future relations between schoo, geography teaching, and the Nation-State...The impreiral decree-law remained the only general legislation for elementary education until 1946 when the first law on guidelines and principles for national education was passed...In 1996, new guidelines were passed that included a book package for teachers including manuals in "an introductory document, parameters for the six key areas of knowledge (Portuguese, math, natural sciences, history, geography, art, and physical education), and three volumes that discussed "transversal themes" such as ethics, cultural pluralism, sexual education, environment, and health.


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  • Brazil has undergone significant political, social, and economic changes during the twentieth century that had decisive impacts on the consolidation and development of geographic education in the country.
  • There is a wide range of different perspectives and voices in present-day geography education that reflect the tensions between teachers and students at the grassroots level, academics and professionals at universitties, and the planners and administrators at state and federal government institutions that define educational plans, policies, and guidelines.
  • For many Brazilian geographers, the year of 1978 is considered a milestone in the history of geography in Brazil. In that year, the third national geography conference took place in the city of Fortaleza in the Northeast. The event turned into the principal stage for the emergence of new challenging views for the geographic community that led to a rupture from the dominant paradigms in research and education. Since its official consolidation as an academic discipline in the 1930's, the discipline had remained under the influence of French geographers in the LaBlanchian tradition that came under attack with the proliferation of social and political movements. Present-day geographers criticize the lack of social concern within the French apporach that considered human agency and genres de vie, but left out the human beings themselves. Labeled as "traditional geographers", these scholars focused on the stable elements in the landscape. For them, the house was more important than its inhabitants.
  • Geography textbooks used in schools translated the scientific ideas of geography ineffectively. Frequently, they restricted the contents to encyclopedic knowledge with lengthy and "objective" descriptions...This image of geography as a memorizing discipline is still alive in present-day Brazil. Carvalho presents a well-humored example of this vision when she relates the fictitious case of an elderly gentleman who was mugged on the street in broad daylight: The attacker pointed a gun to the old man's head and unexpectedly gave an unusual order: "Tell me all the right-hand-side tributaries of the Amazon River in their correct sequence or you will die!" The victim started to sweat and tremble, but was able to control his own memory: "Javari, Jurua, Purus, Madeira, Tapajos, and Xingu." The assailant lowered his weapon and walked away as if nothing had happened. Left alone and alive, the old man took a deep breath and exclaimed: "I knew that this knowledge would be useful one day! (Carvalho, 1998, p.25)
  • 1960's: In academia, the discussion of Marxism represented an alternative to the trditional descriptive approaches in geography and the recently embraced quantitative paradigms of the New Geography. In Brazil, the rupture in academic geography was guided by several different influences.
1. There was a growing concern with the applied aspects of Marxist theory and class struggle and a deeper reflection on how to use geography as a tool to understand and transform the world. Transformation turned into the key term for the Brazilian geographers who were apparently inspired by the eleventh of Karl Marx's theses on Feuerbach: "The philosophers have only interepreted the world, in various ways; the poing however is to change it. Geography had to be changed first before the geographers and geography teachers could transform society.
2. Another influence came directly from debates on geography at universities throughout Europe and North America. The radical academic journals Antipode (1969) and Herodate (1976) stimulated and provoked a political discussion within academia. Being the editor of the latter journal, the French geographer Yves Lacoste became a kind of cult figure in Brazilian geography. As a political geographer and specialist in geopolitics, Lacoste was moved by the American air raids in Vietnam and the fact that geographic knowledge could be a powerful tool for destruction. His book Geography is used above all for war-making published in 1976 was a decisive step toward a frontal attack on French geography...His charge for teachers is : by teaching the superficial geography of countries, rivers, and mountains, the school teachers do not reveal, but rather mask, the strategic importance of the "geography of the general staff" so that their students would consider the discipline as "fatuous and boring" without any practical use or utility. Stripped bare of its political and strategic contents and limited to the memorization of capitals, rivers, the geography of teachers remains "space-less"; Maps are mere sheets of paper that are used to indicate locations and not relations. Thus this form of geography at its best would education conformist patriots and not responsible or critical citizens...His book became a kind of manifesto for the budding radical movement in Brazilian geography.
3. Oliveira (1989) summarized the crisis of geography education in the 1980's in the following manner: "What really happens is that all teachers--obviously including the teachers in geography--are involved in a dialectical process of domination, i.e. the teacher has been trained to educate without questioning the contents of the textbooks, without having the final product of his teaching as tools with which they (the teachers) and their students will transform the education they exercise and, certainly, the society in which they live." According to this vision, teachers and students at school do not produce, but rather reproduce what is taught and do not participate in the process of creating knowledge (Oliveira, 1989, p. 28).
  • The uncertainties and doubts expressed above have not been dissipated in recent decades. The concern with geography education as social practice and the autonomy of those who teach and learn still permeate the debates in Brazil.
  • Teacher training: course offerings in geography education have not increased at the same pace as course offerings in other subjects. In 2007, geography only ranked fifth among the teacher training programs and lagged behind more prestigious fields such as literature and language, history, mathematics, and biology.
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  • The total number of prgrams in geography education and geography has remained below the average rate. The demand for geography teachers is far higher than the number of qualified professionals on the market. The low salaries and the precarious working conditions at public schools do not attract the necessary contingent of candidates. The situation has been aggravated after the educational reforms of 1996. Until the mid-90's, school teachers did not need a higher education diploma.
A View from the Bottom: Teachers and their Voices
  • Little has been published about what geography teachers think about their classes. Qualitative research with teachers is still a neglected topic in Brazil. Geography education isnot taken as an important field of study in geography.
  • Government initiatives are countered with mistrust since it is not the State who should give sense to school geography, but the teachers. Within this perspective, the national guidelines for the geography curriculum are nothing but "idealogical dictates, elaborated by planners who still think that geography is that old memory game of places, rivers, capitals.
  • The Brazilian educator and geographer Nidia Pontuschka describes the state of art of the geography teachers at school as a process of "proletarization" related to the loss of status/prestige in the last 40 years, especially the last decade of the 20th century which left school teachers with little autonomy in the educational process, low salaries, and lack of financial support to guarantee education with quality.
  • The key issues in geography education in Brazil are less about content, but rather about the "transposition" of knowledge from one level to another, the participation and emancipation of teachers, and the "autonomy" of education.
  • The present-day situation in Brazilian geography education can be compared to Harold Benjamin's (1939) famous allegory of the saber-tooth curriculum. In order to describe the timnelessness and inflexibility of education "that endures through changing conditions like a solid rock squarely and firmly in the middle of a ragin torrent (p. 44)", Benjamin invents an example for the dilemma of education in early Paleolithic times. "New-First-Hammer-Maker," an educational thinker and theorist discovers the usefulness of education and elaborates a curriculum to teach children how to club wooly horses, grab fish with their hands, and scare away the saber-tooth tiger with fire. The success of this new "curriculum" leads to the imitation of its contents in the entire community. However, the rise of a new ice age completely changes the environment: the water turns muddy and the horses migrate to warmer places and are replaced by fast-running antelopes. Due to the wet and cool climate, the saber-tooth tigers die of pneumonia, and "ferocious glacial bears which were not afraid of fire fill in their space. Soon a new generation of thinkers invent survival strategies (fishnet snares and bear pits) that are adapted to the changing environmental conditions. This should be a strong argument to update the curriculum and eliminate obsolete subjects. Yet, the "wise old men," the keepers of the educational principles, reject this proposal for the following reasons: (1) mere training and practical activities are not education, (2) school must teach students how to develop virtues such as "generalized agility," "generalized strength," and "noble courage". There is no space for practical experience and applied training since the school curriculum is already "too crowded" to add these "fads and frills".
  • The problems in geography are the same bottlenecks in other disciplines. Changes is the environments do not necessarily leads to changes in the curriculum so that obsolete and useless contents pervade through time. The dialectics in education do not only allude to the differences and contradictions in society (the way many Marxists have understood the term), but also entail the antagonism of the different scales: large-scale planning, medium scale academic training, and small-scale reality in the classroom.
  • Geography education in Brazil has a unique background and setting that has turned the educational landscape into a field of tensions and dynamics. At the same time, this configuration helped to stimulate a more intense dialogue between the different groups in education and to create a transdisciplinary diversity.