Angela C. de Siqueira: Higher Education Reform in Brazil: Reinforcing Marketization

Angela C. de Siqueira: Higher Education Reform in Brazil: Reinforcing Marketization
Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, Volume 7, Number 1 (June 2009)

Higher education in Brazil began based on institutions organized as isolated establishments, and mostly privately owned. Nonetheless, public institutions created as universities and developing research activities and other services became the desired ideal for higher education.

The first educational institutions in Brazil were created in the sixteenth century, by a Catholic denomination, the Jesuits. Higher education in Brazil remained mostly privately owned and organized based on isolated institutes until the 1950s. With the re-establishment of democracy in Brazil, after Getúlio Vargas’s authoritarian government (1930-1945), and within the political environment of state intervention for development and reconstruction, there was a process of transforming private and state-owned institutions into federal institutions, and afterwards, during the 1960s, transforming them into federal universities. Thus, within the period 1954/64, 63% of the students were attending universities and not isolated establishments. And public institutions – most of them federal and a few state maintained – were encompassing 81% of the total higher education enrolments (CUNHA, p.97). The practice of free tuition within public institutions, a repeated demand of students and professors with a more democratic perspective, has become common since 1950.

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