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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

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graduate education in brazil

Graduate Education in Brazil

Simon Schwartzman

Institute for Studies on Labour and Society, Rio de Janeiro

brazil general data 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 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
the context secondary education 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
the context higher education 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
graduate education 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
some features of brazilian graduate education 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
assessment of graduate education capes 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
  • 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?
  • 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
  • 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