Imprimir Republish


Youth on the agenda

Some people say that youth is defined as anyone 20 years younger than yourself. The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), however, has to work with more precise criteria than that, so it defines the category as all individuals aged 15 to 29 years old. Two years ago, there were 50 million young people in Brazil—just under a quarter of the population. Having a young workforce is great for the country’s development, but when the unemployment rate is high, as it was in 2021 (41.9% for people aged 14–17 and 26.8% for people aged 18–24), the situation is extremely problematic.

Roughly 28% of people aged 15–17 years old do not attend high school, according to the IBGE. This year, a new educational format was introduced for this age group with the declared objective of stimulating learning (one example is organizing secondary education by fields of knowledge, instead of subjects) and adapting the curriculum to the needs of the labor market, allowing students to simultaneously study technical or vocational disciplines. One of this issue’s two cover articles discusses the new format and its highly uneven implementation across the country.

The other offers some insight into the issues and policies related to the difficulties young people face in entering the job market. Initiatives designed to increase education and qualification levels and ease the transition between study and work are central to the social and economic integration of people in this age group, who are increasingly finding themselves working in unstable occupations.

Astrophysicist Lia Medeiros, 31, is a postdoctorate at Princeton University, USA, and is working with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a network of radio telescopes located all over the world and used by more than 300 collaborating scientists. Medeiros is one of the leaders of the group that wrote one of six articles describing what may have been the most talked about scientific image of recent times: the picture of the black hole known as Sagittarius A*, located at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. In an interview, she breaks down the research and how it confirms Einstein’s theory of general relativity, as well as why the public has only now seen the image, which is actually a compilation of cosmic pictures captured in 2017.

In 2015 and 2016, Pesquisa FAPESP extensively covered the Zika epidemic that was ravaging the country, especially the Northeast. Cases decreased over the following years, but researchers have continued to investigate the virus—which was considered harmless until the outbreak of the epidemic—and the harm it causes to human health. Special editor Ricardo Zorzetto returns to the topic to provide a broad overview of what is now known about this devastating disease and its victims, such as the unborn children who later developed Congenital Zika Syndrome after being infected in the womb. The damage to the central nervous system of surviving children, now aged 6–7, has compromised their development.