The popular Brazilian news magazine Veja has a striking front cover this week featuring a business executive with steam bursting from his ears above the headline ‘Não dá mais’ – it no longer works.
The Veja story is focused on the combination of absurd laws and bureaucracy that plague business owners – and regular citizens – in Brazil. Veja blames this day-after-day misery squarely on the shoulders of the ‘stupid politicians and bureaucrats.’
IT Decisions has often commented on legal issues affecting IT in Brazil. Despite the creation of an outsourcing commission fairly recently, there appears to be little or no progress on moving beyond the announcement of a commission. Where are the proposals for improving the relationship between contractors, contracting companies, and clients? We have yet to see anything and we even offered our time and expertise to the government – at no cost.
And our recent focus on education tells a similar story. There are plenty of ideas and announcements while the cameras are focused on the politicians, but only glacial progress toward change once the news agenda has moved on.
Brazil is poised on the verge of becoming an information technology superpower. Every analyst and commentator sees a bright future ahead and technology is the foundation for much of this projected BRICs success. Yet the technology industry needs educated people, not just raw manpower.
The best that The Economist magazine can say for the education system in Brazil is that it has moved recently from disastrous to very bad. At least that’s a step in the right direction. The Economist Intelligence Unit recently singled out a lack of supply of skilled resource as the single biggest challenge to the IT industry in Brazil today, also commenting that Chile was a lot more competitive in general and both India and China are working harder to improve their education system.
IT Decisions featured a comment on Brazilian pedagogy only yesterday. Yet a piecemeal approach to improving the school system in Brazil won’t be good enough – at present the teachers are paid peanuts to educate the workforce of the future and they have had enough. Teachers are deserting the profession as fast as they can find private sector opportunities.
Vast areas of the world stand on the edge of an economic precipice just as Brazil stares at the enormous opportunity of becoming a global IT leader. Will the politicians choose to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory because they are too timid to reform the education system in favor of preparing for the knowledge-based industry of the near future?
Photo by Santi MB licensed under Creative Commons