Brazilian Education – Week 2 – Reading Notes

Pedrosa, R. H., Simões, T. P., Carneiro, A. M., Andrade, C. Y., Sampaio, H., & Knobel, M. (2014). Access to higher education in Brazil. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, 16(1), 5-33. Chicago

Article about access and equity in Higher Education in Brazil in the last 20 years.

  • Secondary education is the bottleneck in Brazil
    • “Research shows that affirmative action policies have had a positive impact on reducing inequalities in HE in Brazil, but secondary education is still the main bottleneck for further progress, both in terms of expanding higher education and of making access more equitable.”, Pedrosa, Simões, Carneiro, Andrade, Sampaio & Knobel, 2014, p.5
  • Private, for-profit higher education institutions are of poor quality
    • “Unfortunately, these private, for-profit higher education institutions (HEIs) are generally of quite poor quality by almost all measures. This phenomenon may be linked, preliminarily, to the findings of studies of fifteen countries’ HE expansions in Shavit, et. al. (2007), which show that, in most cases, the differentiation of a system helped to maintain inequalities since disadvantaged groups would, in various ways, end up enrolled in “second tier” HEIs.”, Pedrosa, Simões, Carneiro, Andrade, Sampaio & Knobel, 2014, p.6
  • Expansion of HEI may not have an effect in reducing inequality since second-tier institutions are created with lower entry barriers and thereby maintaining a differentiation amongst the privileged and the not.
    • “Arum et al (2007) argue that, at least in the case of economically developed countries, ‘… expansion has been accompanied by differentiation. Systems that had consisted almost exclusively of research universities developed second-tier and less selective colleges and much of the growth in enrollment was absorbed by these second-tier institutions. Thus, at the same time that members of the working class found new opportunities to enroll in higher education, the system was being hierarchically differentiated so that these new opportunities may have had diminished value.’”, Pedrosa, Simões, Carneiro, Andrade, Sampaio & Knobel, 2014, p.8
  • Half of Brazil has not finished high-school
    • “Given that only about 50% of the Brazilian adult population has finished high school, one has to wonder about the total absence of policies dedicated to that educational sector from all levels of government (secondary education is the responsibility of states).”, Pedrosa, Simões, Carneiro, Andrade, Sampaio & Knobel, 2014, p.11
  • To get into the ‘good’ HEI in Brazil one must have attended a ‘good’ private high-school
    • “Elites and the middle class send their children to private schools and often enroll them in costly test-preparation programs as well. This leads to higher acceptance rates for private-school students at the free, elite public universities.”, Pedrosa, Simões, Carneiro, Andrade, Sampaio & Knobel, 2014, p.14
  • Federal government is funding private, for-profit HEI – even though they are consistently of low quality
    • “Thus, it remains an important issue, regarding opportunity of access to HE, and a matter for concern, the low quality of education provided by the private system. In addition, it raises serious doubts if that is the best policy, to have government support for-profit HEIs, and by large amounts of funds, a point already made by McCowan (2007).”, Pedrosa, Simões, Carneiro, Andrade, Sampaio & Knobel, 2014, p.21
    • “With that in mind, we finish this review on access to HE in Brazil with the following question: should federal funds continue to be used to support the private system the way it has been done recently, when those funds could be used to help make the recent federal expansion work better, to support disadvantaged students admitted via affirmative action programs in the public HEIs, and also to help develop secondary education, a huge and urgent task for Brazilian policymakers?”, Pedrosa, Simões, Carneiro, Andrade, Sampaio & Knobel, 2014, p.29


Colby, A., Ehrlich, T., Sullivan, W. M., & Dolle, J. R. (2011). Rethinking undergraduate business education: Liberal learning for the profession (Vol. 20). John Wiley & Sons.

  • Students of liberal arts and sciences view a college degree as something they must get out of the way even though the work-force values a broader set of education
    • “A number of reports have pointed out that upper-level managers often endorse the value of a broad, liberal education (Hart Research Associates, 2010). They seem to appreciate that a larger perspective will be a valuable resource for business success as well as for life more generally”, Colby, Ehrlich, Sullivan, & Dolle, 2011, p.52
  • Yet – middle-level managers want specific skills due to a more short-term vision of the company’s needs
    • “But middle-level hiring officers tend to choose candidates for skills that will be of immediate use to the company”, Colby, Ehrlich, Sullivan, & Dolle, 2011, p.52
  • Higher education must prepare students for real life.
    • “In this chapter, we suggest that liberal education’s purpose is to enable students to make sense of the world and their place in it, preparing them to use knowledge and skills as means toward responsible engagement with the life of their times.”, Colby, Ehrlich, Sullivan, & Dolle, 2011, p.53
  • Liberal Learning
    • Analytical Thinking
    • Multiple Framing
    • Reflective Exploration of Meaning
    • Practical Reasoning