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Graduate Education in Brazil. Simon Schwartzman Institute for Studies on Labour and Society, Rio de Janeiro. Students in Doctoral Programs. This is Brazil. Brazil: General Data. Area 8,511,965 sq km (slightly smaller than the US) Population 196,342,592 Ethnic composition:

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Graduate education in brazil l.jpg

Graduate Education in Brazil

Simon Schwartzman

Institute for Studies on Labour and Society, Rio de Janeiro

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Students in doctoral programs l.jpg

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Students in Doctoral Programs

This is brazil l.jpg

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This is Brazil

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Brazil: General Data

  • Area

    • 8,511,965 sq km (slightly smaller than the US)

  • Population

    • 196,342,592

  • Ethnic composition:

    • white 53.7%, mulatto (mixed white and black) 38.5%, black 6.2%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 0.9%, unspecified 0.7% (2000 census)

  • Organization:

    • Federal Government, 27 states, about 6000 municipalities

  • Per capita income:

    • about US$ 7,000. High rates of social inequality, richer population in the Southern states, poorer population in the Northeast

  • Urbanization:

    • 80% Urban, several mega cities (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro), Recife)

The context basic education l.jpg

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The context: basic education

  • Universal access was achieved in the 1990s, but there are serious problems:

    • Quality is low, many students never learn how to read and write properly

    • Large number of students drop out at age 15;

    • Most schools are public and free, but the best are private.

    • There is a high correlation between SES and education achievement

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The context: secondary education

  • Only 50% of the age cohort is enrolled;

  • Content is traditional and academic, based on the entrance exam requirements for higher education

  • Very little professional or vocational education, no alternative tracking

  • Many students who enter secondary schools never finish

  • Most schools are public and free, but only students in the best private schools are admitted to the more prestigious higher education institutions

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The context: higher education

  • Organized according to the European (French, Italian) tradition of professional schools; first universities are from the 1930s

  • Limited coverage: in spite of recent expansion, only about 11% of the age cohort is enrolled;

  • Public higher education is free, but enrolls only 25% of the students

  • Quality is very uneven both in public and private institutions

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Graduate Education

  • Introduced in the early 1970s, under the assumption that universities should evolve towards the German / American model of “research universities”

  • Supported by the National Research Council and CAPES, an agency within the Ministry of Education

  • Adoption of the American-type graduate programs for MA and Ph.D. education

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Some features of Brazilian graduate education

  • Most programs are in public universities and in a few government research institutes;

  • Support is provided directly to the programs by National (CNPq and CAPES) and state (FAPESP) agencies, bypassing the university’s administration;

  • Programs are evaluated by CAPES, and the best receive fellowships for their students and additional support;

  • CNPq and FAPESP also provide support for research projects;

  • Fellowships are also available for graduate education abroad

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Assessment of Graduate Education (CAPES)

  • Peer review: assessment committees designated by CAPES after nominations from universities and academic associations;

  • Quantitative indicators: academic publications, number of doctoral and MA degrees granted and other considerations (social relevance, solidarity)

  • 7 points ranking system: 7 should mean high international quality

  • Independent evaluations by CNPq and FAPESP, also based on peer review

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Achievements: graduate programs

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Students in MA programs

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Students in Doctoral Programs

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CAPES, types of fellowships abroad

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CAPES: doctoral studies abroad

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CNPq, fellowships abroad

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  • Achievements:

    • Brazil has today the best and largest graduate education sector in the LA region

    • Academic publications and research are growing steadily

  • But:

    • What is the impact on higher education in general?

    • Which are the benefits to society?

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Academic Publications, SCI-Search

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  • Good quality, graduate education remains limited to selected public universities, but today 75% of the students are in mostly teaching, private institutions;

  • The incentives associated with graduate education led to an inflation of graduate education degrees;

  • The emphasis on academic achievement in the assessments limits applied, technical and interdisciplinary work;

  • Generalized free, subsidized graduate education increases social inequity in Brazilian higher education

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The expansion of Brazilian Professoriate

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The distribution of high quality programs

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  • The assumption that all Brazilian higher education should evolve towards the research university model did not consider the needs and characteristics of mass higher education;

  • In spite of the quality control established by CAPES, there is a permanent problem of grade inflation, which is getting worse by globalization;

  • It may have been better to deal with advanced research and doctoral education as a sector policy, and deal with higher education taking into account its need for differentiation