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The education ministry will urge prefectural governments to ease criteria for licensing private schools to help unlicensed schools for Brazilians that are facing financial difficulties amid the economic downturn, government sources said Sunday.

The move is intended to extend licenses to the schools so they can receive official grants from local governments, the sources said.

The education ministry will also urge local governments to ease criteria for authorizing corporations that set up schools, they said.

According to the ministry, there were 88 schools for Brazilian students in 12 of the 47 prefectures, including four licensed schools, as of the 2007 school year. Including three schools for Peruvian students, one of which was licensed, around 10,000 students were attending schools for Brazilian and Peruvian students.

Unlicensed schools depend on tuitions, but many students have quit school after their parents lost their jobs due to the recession. Some schools have closed.

Local governments have their own rules for licensing schools on the basis of ministry ordinances, but most impose stricter criteria than the central government.

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