• Categories
  • Archives

Brazilian Dream: College for All


Brazilian Dream: College for All

An alert from Brazil’s Minister of Education, Cristovam Buarque:
the current social remoteness of
the universities could lead
these institutions to lose their central position in the
production of
scientific and technological knowledge.
Buarque wants to see a new kind of university in the country.

by:
AB

 

Lack of social commitment is one of the chief problems of institutions of higher education in Brazil. The need for
greater investments, qualification of the teaching staff, and financial autonomy are also detrimental to the performance and
growth of these institutions. This assessment was made by the secretary of Higher Education of the Ministry of Education,
Carlos Roberto Antunes. In his view, the knowledge produced by Brazilian universities needs to be more oriented to the
country’s social reality. "The colors of the university should be the colors of society," Antunes observed.

This constitutes the main guideline of the University XXI project, proposed by the Minister of Education,
Cristovam Buarque. The Minister alerts that the current social remoteness of the universities could lead these institutions to lose
their central position in the production of scientific and technological knowledge. "Academic knowledge is fenced in. It
becomes out-of-date and loses touch with knowledge and the demands made by social reality outside its walls," the Minister argued.

With the aim of defining a new concept of the university and its role in society, the Ministry of Education is
sponsoring the seminar "The University: Why and How to Reform It?" this week. Representatives of social movements and
organizations were also invited to participate and present their ideas.

"Our university has a structure that is 30 years old. The last reform of the university took place at the beginning of
the `70’s, at a time when the level of scientific and technical development was very different," the secretary of Higher
Education explained.

For José Jorge de Carvalho, anthropologist at the University of Brasília (UnB), the lack of diversity in higher
education weakens academic debate. "A large part of the knowledge produced at this moment is very sclerotic, because the
university is very homogeneous, socially and ethnically. This also leads to a degree of loss of imagination, rigidity in
power-holding, and little theoretical questioning of the established networks," Carvalho commented.

On the last National Course Examination (Big Test), approximately 43 percent of the students declared a family
income of over R$ 2,000 (US$ 700). Of these, 14.3 percent belong to families with incomes between R$ 4,000 (US$ 1,300) and
R$ 10,000 (US$ 3.300). Only 13.9 percent of those who took the test have family incomes inferior to R$ 600. Only 3.1
percent identified themselves as blacks.

To reverse this picture, Antunes believes that it is necessary to increase the offer of night courses, expand
at-distance education, and encourage universities to establish quota policies for blacks and low-income people. Scholarship and
student loan programs will also be reinforced to make sure these students continue their studies.

Between 1991 and 2001, the number of institutions of higher education in Brazil increased 56 percent, according to
a survey conducted by the National Institute of Education Studies and Research (Inep-MEC). Despite this expansion, over
three million students are still unable to gain a place at a university.

The main problem is not the lack of openings. Last year, 370 thousand openings went unfilled throughout the
system. "The courses offered at Brazilian universities are inadequate, in general, since we have a very heterogeneous youth
population with precarious prior schooling," explained Eunice Durham, anthropologist at the University of São Paulo’s
(USP) Nucleus of Studies and Research on Higher Education.

Ex-secretary of Higher Education during the Administration of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Durham believes that
offering different types of university courses might be an alternative to meet the growing demand of a large segment of the
population, which needs to find places quickly on the job market.

 

This article was prepared by Agência Brasil (AB), the official press agency of the Brazilian government.
Comments are welcome at lucas@radiobras.gov.br

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

For a Week Curitiba Becomes Capital of Brazilian Fashion

For five days, from July 28 to August 1st, the city of Curitiba, the ...

US Ready to Lend Brazil US$ 10 Billion for Oil Exploration

Brazil's Planning Minister Paulo Bernardo da Silva revealed that the United States is prepared ...

Arabs Soon to Be Chief Importers of Brazil Beef. But US Is Still Closed.

Within the next two to three years the Arab countries will become the main ...

Despite Fears, Industrial Production Grows for the Fourth Month in a Row in Brazil

Industrial production in Brazil grew 1.6% in June, in comparison with May. This was ...

Earning a Living While Preserving in Brazil

The stance of defending growth for the sake of growth in Brazil has already ...

Brazil Congress Is in Recess While Lula Loosens Purse Strings

The Brazilian Congress officially went into recess. This recess is in the constitution where ...

For Brazil, G8 Is Over and G20 Represents New Reality

For Brazil's Foreign minister, Celso Amorim, "The G8 is over as a political decision ...

Lula Criticizes Obama Once Again But Hails Cop-15 as Step in Right Direction

The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, made an assessment this Monday ...

Brazil Getting from France Nuclear Submarine and Its Techonology

2021 is the year Brazil expects to have its first nuclear powered submarine. The ...

Brazilian soap opera America from Globo TV

Brazil’s Soap America, a Story About America the Ugly

Since the very beginning, I’ve been a big fan of the Brazilian telenovela, America. ...