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Brazilian Jewish schools receive high marks

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (JTA) — Two Jewish schools were ranked among the best high schools in Brazil.

The Brazilian Israelite School received the highest average grade among all high schools in Porto Alegre, according to the newly released 2009 results of the High School National Exam, known by the acronym ENEM. Porto Alegre is the capital of Brazil’s southernmost state Rio Grande do Sul, which is home to Brazil’s third largest Jewish community with some 12,000 Jews.

Also, A. Liessin Scholem Aleichem was ranked second among high schools in Rio de Janeiro state, where other Jewish schools also attained good rankings. Rio has some 40,000 Jews, Brazil’s second Jewish community after Sao Paulo, with 60,000.

"With some 150,000 Jews, we are a minority in the Brazilian population of some 180 million, but we do stand out in education," said Osias Wurman, Israel’s honorary consul in Rio. Wurman, a Rio native, was appointed to the position in 2009.

"It is the first time that a Jewish school conquered such distinguished position in an exam with the credibility and the visibility that ENEM has," said Edith Napchan, A. Liessin’s director. "It makes our community proud to prove that it is possible to put together outstanding teaching and Jewish education."

The ENEM is a non-mandatory national exam that evaluates high school education in Brazil. Students’ grades are used to generate their schools’ scores, so that the Ministry of Education of Brazil can learn which are ranked the best and worst schools in the country.

Since 2009, the ENEM grade is used as an admission test for students to enroll in 23 federal universities and 26 educational institutes, including the most prestigious ones.

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