World Cup 2018: School report card on Group E countries Brazil, Costa Rica, Serbia and Switzerland

Neymar Foundation World Cup
Brazil star Neymar - seen here with the Barcelona Foundation when he played in Spain - helps poor children in Sao Paulo (Barca Foundation)

Celebrities, Early childhood development, Right to education

Every day during the opening week of the World Cup in Russia, we're looking at the education situation in each of the countries taking part. Today it's Group E.

Every four years, the eyes of the world are focused for a month on the football World Cup. 

It’s a chance for people to see games featuring countries they may not know much about. Group E kicked off yesterday and we look at some of the education facts and stats from the four countries. 


Education system: compulsory for 14 years from age 4-17.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 4-5): 92%.

Student-teacher ratio: 21 in primary, 16 in secondary.

Literacy rate for 15-24-year-olds: 99%.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: The World Bank caused a stir last year when it said that, although the skills of Brazilian 15-year-olds have improved, at their current rate of improvement they will not reach the rich-country average score in reading for 263 years.

STAR FACT: Striker Neymar, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, has a charity foundation that helps poor children in Sao Paulo, where he grew up. The Neymar Jr. Project Institute is an education complex for kids between seven and 14 in Praia Grande – with classrooms and playing fields.


Education system: compulsory for 13 years from age 4-16.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 4-5): 77%.

Primary school completion: 94%.

Student-teacher ratio: 12 in primary, 13 in secondary.

Literacy rate for 15-24-year-olds: 99%.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: Costa Rica has become a world leader when it comes to early childhood development – by making it compulsory for all young children to attend pre-primary education

STAR FACT: Real Madrid keeper Keylor Navas and his wife Andrea Salas have set up a charitable foundation whose first mission is in Guinea-Bissau, where he hopes to work with an orphanage. He tweeted these pictures below during a visit to the West African country.


Education system: compulsory for 8 years from age 7-14.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 3-6): 59%.

Primary school completion: 98%.

Student-teacher ratio: 15 in primary, 8 in secondary.

Literacy rate for 15-24-year-olds: 100%.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: Backed by EU funding, Serbia is trying to improve the quality of teaching and education for the most vulnerable minority communities. 

STAR FACT: Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic donated money for repairs to the elementary school which he attended in the village of Vrelo. He also paid for a new playground and sport equipment.


Education system: compulsory for 12 years from age 4-15.

Pre-primary enrolment (age 5-6): 100%.

Primary school completion: 99%.

Student-teacher ratio: 10 in primary, 9 in secondary.

ISSUES AND REFORMS: The Swiss vocational education system trains students in the practical and theoretical skills they will need for future employment – such as apprenticeships and technical schools and internships. 

STAR FACT: The Swiss manager is Vladimir Petkovic, the son of teachers who was born and brought up in Sarajevo. For five years he worked in a charity shop for Caritas, the Catholic relief and development organisation. 

More news

See all news