Higher Education in Brazil: Evolution and Challenges Said Najati Sidki University of Brasilia Brazil. University of Birmingham March 26, 2014
A snap shot of Brazil Brazil is now the sixth largest economy in the world. Population size more than doubled since 1970 to nearly 200 million. Expected to stabilize at 220 million by 2035. About 40% of the population is less than 25 years old. Minimum salary, about 300 USD. Goverment yearly spending on public education, around 100 billion USD and is projected to double by 2022, covered in part by expeccted pre-Sal royalties.
A snap shot of Brazil Looking Back European discovery of the new country is attributed to the Portuguese navigator Pedro Cabral in April 22, 1500. A Portuguese colony during the next 300 years until D. JoãoIII of Portugal together with his court escaped to Brazil from Napoleon in 1808, under the protection of the British navy.
Brazil became independent under a constitutional monarchy on September 7, 1822. A military coup in 1889 established a republican regime. The country suffered dictatorships during 1930–1934, 1937–1945 and military rule during 1964–1985. Democratic constitution in 1988.
Ethnically, the population is formed by descendants of European immigrants, African slaves, indigenous people and later Libanese, Syrian, Japanese immigrants. Inspite of great miscegenation, inequalities have presisted along its history. Economic development and social welfare reveal extremes, both locally and globally within the country. Important recent assention of 40 million people from poverty into lower middle class.
Inaugurated in 1960, in savannah land, not carved out of the jungle. Distance 1.200 km from Rio de Janeiro. Urban plan by Lucio Costa and arquitecture by Oscar Niemeyer, both from the Le Corbusie school. Socialist oriented intentions. Population at present about 2.5 million. Number of cars 1.3 million.
Early History of Education • The Jesuit religious order introduced formal • education in Brazil, at first with the purpose of • evangilizing the natives. By 1570 they had • established a number of elementary schools in • different parts of Brazil. Secular public education • was established in 1772. • EvoE
European culture came with the Royal Library of approximately 60,000 books, transfered from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro in 1811. In 1867, 10% of school age population attended school. The proportion nowadays is over 90%, yet only 10% have university degrees.
Brazilian Higher Education • First universities: University of Rio de Janeiro • in 1920, University of São Paulo in 1934. • Modernization of universities started with the • creation of University of Brasilia in 1962, right • along with the new capital. • Next, University of Campinas in São Paulo in 1966. • In 1951, giventhe important role of science in WW2, two councils (CNPq, Capes) were established for research and posgraduate study. • In 1920 the University of Rio de Janeiro, was the first to be created, grouping together the Faculties of Law and Medicine and the Polytechnical School. This was followed by the Federal University of Minas Gerais in 1927, the University of São Paulo in 1934. • University of Brasilia was inaugurated in 1962. • EvoE
Brazilian Higher Education in numbers - 2011 • Undergratuate programs: 30,420 • 29,376 face-to-face courses • 1,044 long-distance learning courses • Total number of admissions: 6,739,689 • 1,773,315 (26.3%) public • 4,966,374 (73.7%) private • Number of freshmen students: 2,346,695 • Number of senior students: 1,016,713 • Growth from 2002 to 2011 • Number of admissions: from 3.5 million to 6.7 million • Number of graduating students: doubled from 0.5 to 1 million.
Geographic Distribution of Higher Education Institutions • : 2,365 • 284 public (12%) • 2,081 private (88%) 6.4% in the North 18.3% in the Northeast 48.9% in the Southeast 9.9% in the Midwest 16.5% in the South
Difficulties and Challenges • General agreement on the necessity for change. • Conflict on priorities: • elementary versus higher education • Federal and state universities are treated as government • agencies, therefore have little autonomy and suffer from • government bureaucracy.
Inspite of 110% increase in basic education during 2001- • 2010, • increase in higher education has been slow. • The percentage of students 18 to 24 students years • of age registered at universities: • 12% in 2001, • then 14,4% in 2010, • then 17% in 2011. • The last increment is due to new admissions rules. • According to the National Educational Plan for 2001-2010, the federal government´s goal had been 30%.
Research and graduate studies are carried out for the most part in public universities and research institutes, with the exception of traditional Catholic universities. Research foundations have been created in different states to promote and facilitate research activities. The most successful has been FAPESP in the state of Sao Paulo; it is guaranteed a fixed percentage of the state budget.
Since CAPES and CNPq are external to the university system, they have been able to maintain coherent scientific policies during a prolonged period. This is one of the main reasons for the growth of scientific research in the country. Large-scale assessment systems of elementary education have been instituted in recent years by the Ministry of Education. Regular evaluation of university programs is administerd by CAPES. Some attain the highest score of 7 which indicates quality of international level.
Internationalization • Higher Education has experienced great growth around the world. The communication revolution has intensified both competition and collaboration in all human endeavors. A process of globalization of education is under way. • Brazil has intensified its international engagements. The response has been extraordinary. Note the multi-faceted exchange program with the Consortium of Universities including Birmingham and Nottingham and also the Brazil Visiting Fellows programme.
Structural Differences. • Brazilian undergraduate courses are frequently given as 6 hours in-class per week, leaving little time for homework or independent study. • Transfer of foreign undergraduate diplomas is difficult as it entails making up for the large difference in number of credits . • Transfer of Masters and Doctoral degrees are easier and depend mainly upon the opinion of expert committees. Additional flexibility in hiring procedures at the doctoral level have been extremely beneficial. • .
University teachers carry course loads which vary between 10 to 16 classroom hours per week and are also responsible for nontechnical administration of the university. • Salaries are uniform within Federal and State university systems. Frequent salary negotiations with governments have been disruptive and settled only after lengthy strikes.
2. New Technologies. • Brazilian universities have been able to incorporate computer technology successfully in teaching, such as in long-distance programs. • Will they be able to compete with on-line courses offered by leading institutions abroad, without governmental protection? Of course, it is a problem which transcends Brazil.
3. The language barrier. • Students are required to understand written though not spoken English. This constitutes a barrier for studying abroad. • The program Science without Borders was created to provide international experience to Brazilian students specially at the undergraduate level. • As all teaching in universities is conducted in Portuguese, the language is a barrier in the other direction. Thus, most of our foreign students come from Latin America and Portuguese Africa. • Google Voice Translator. End of the barrier?
University of Brasilia • 2445 teachers, 35000 students • My Brazilian Experience • I arrived from Chicago in Brasilia in 1971, a city in construction. Immediately, I became involved in mathematical organization in Brazil. • Adilson Gonçalvesand I initiated in 1972 the biannual School of Algebra which is now in its 23rd edition. This modality of scientific activity became successful and has been adopted by the Brazilian scientific community.
Our department has been multinational from the very beginning. Even in the toughest times, we found means to attract talented mathematicians from abroad. • The department has maintained its level of excellence and is now ranked by CAPES at level 7. • Our team of algebraists is one of the strongest in the country and is quite active internationally. • During my active years and still now, I have had the fortune of gaining support from our scientific agencies and from my colleagues in Brazil and abroad. • WITH THANKS