There's a storage room just off a veterinary lab at a Brazilian university that gives students more experience than many can handle: Skinned pigs and cats, disembodied cow livers, intestines, brains and the other detritus of years' of dissections.

With the department's incinerator long on the fritz, the formaldehyde-drenched mass of animal carcasses and organs grows by the day.

The situation at the Rural Federal University in Seopedica is not an anomaly. As a new middle class rises in Brazil with aspirations for better education, it is finding lamentable conditions and low standards of education at many colleges and universities across Brazil. That has experts warning that the country's strained education system could stymie development, even as Brazil emerges as an economic powerhouse.