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.



Assuring the quality of postgraduate education

This chapter focuses on the mechanisms used for the external quality assurance of academic postgraduate education in Brazil. Brazilian postgraduate education comprises “stricto sensu” programmes, with a strong academic and scientific focus, and vocationally oriented “lato sensu” programmes, such as Masters of Business Administration (MBA). “Stricto sensu” programmes are subject to a specific system of quality evaluation and regulation, implemented by the Foundation for the Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES). The chapter analyses these processes, examining the systems in place to evaluate new courses, to allow them to enter the National Postgraduate System, as well as the periodic programme reviews that are undertaken every four years. Based on the strengths and weaknesses identified, the chapter provides recommendations for fine-tuning the system and planning for the future.


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