Brazil was expected to enter the twenty-first century with an illiteracy rate of 16 percent despite massive efforts to educate the population. About 25 percent of the poorest children do not attend school. In Rio, those numbers are better, with literacy rates at about 90 percent for people over ten years of age. Yet, many children in the favelas do not go to school, and thousands of homeless children lack any opportunity to better their lives.
In Rio, there are 1,033 primary schools with 25,594 teachers and 667,788 students (1995). There are 370 secondary schools with 9,699 teachers and 227,892 students. There are 53 college preparatory schools with 14,864 teachers and 154,447 students. The city has six major universities and 47 private schools of higher learning. The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, which offer graduate courses, and the State University of Rio de Janeiro are located in the city.