Rethinking Quality Assurance for Higher Education in Brazil

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This review examines the external systems in place to assure the quality of higher education in Brazil. It highlights the relative success of the Brazilian quality assurance model in regulating market entry for private operators in Brazil, which cater to over 70% of students. But it also calls into question the effectiveness of existing systems to monitor the quality of undergraduate programmes and institutions and the ability of public authorities to act decisively to protect students from bad quality education.

The report analyses the systems that regulate the launch of new higher education institutions and programmes and evaluates quality assessment mechanisms for existing programmes and institutions. It also looks at the structures allowing public authorities to intervene to end or improve poor quality provision.

The review offers policy recommendations. It proposes a more differentiated system of quality assurance. It also recommends significant modifications to the design and purpose of the National Examination of Student Performance (ENADE).

This work was requested by the National Commission for Evaluation of Higher Education (CONAES) and CAPES, the federal body responsible for quality assurance and funding of postgraduate education.



Assessment and recommendations

This chapter presents on overview of the main findings and recommendations resulting from the OECD review of the external quality assurance system in the federal higher education system in Brazil. The analysis has assessed the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of the external quality assurance procedures applicable to undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and higher education institutions (HEIs) in the federal higher education system. The chapter summarises findings and recommendations in relation to the different components of the external quality assurance systems: a) procedures to regulate the “market entry” of new HEIs and new undergraduate programmes; b) procedures for the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of existing undergraduate programmes and related feedback and corrective measures; c) external quality procedures governing academic postgraduate programmes; d) ongoing monitoring and evaluation of higher education institutions (institutional evaluation) and; e) governance and administrative bodies and arrangements that have been created to implement and oversee the processes above.


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