Rethinking Quality Assurance for Higher Education in Brazil

image of Rethinking Quality Assurance for Higher Education in Brazil

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.



Market entry: New institutions and undergraduate programmes

This chapter focuses on the processes in place in Brazil to regulate the establishment of new private higher education institutions and of new undergraduate programmes in new and existing institutions in the federal higher education system. The establishment of new private institutions and the creation of new undergraduate programmes in all types of institution require higher education providers to seek regulatory approval from the Ministry of Education (MEC). This approval depends on compliance with administrative procedures and a positive outcome from external peer reviews designed to assess the quality of proposed new institutions and new and recently established programmes. The chapter analyses these regulatory and evaluation processes, highlighting strengths and weaknesses, and provides recommendations for their improvement


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