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Anexos / Arquivos

Higher Education in Brazil: A Historical Tour

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PINTO, Ana Cristina Cruz [1]

MATOS, Maria Almerinda de Souza [2]

PINTO, Ana Cristina Cruz; MATOS,  Maria Almerinda de Souza. Higher Education in Brazil: A Historical Tour. Multidisciplinary Scientific Journal. Edition 06. Year 02, Vol. 01. pp. 387-402, September 2017. ISSN:2448-0959


It is a historical reflection on the trajectory of Brazilian higher education and, in this way, of the university in Brazil. This trajectory is necessary for the understanding of the perspectives that underpinned its contradictory organization. The history, highlighting the constitution of the Brazilian university; condensing the various configurations that this level of education assumed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

Keywords: Knowledge, State, University.


Analyzing higher education in Brazil is a contradiction; we can recognize significant advances, on the other hand we still see problems to be faced and overcome for development. Re-adaptation of the world view on the real in its determinations by the Market, resulting professional updates and, mainly, the behavior of the main involved: government, labor market and corporations.

The concept of Education has been galvanized in a way that aims to explain everything without defining anything through a teaching project that takes away the popular classes of access to scientific knowledge. Almost all want to implement development, and especially those that do the counter-development, or non-development (see Brazil today). Higher Education is the one with the most challenges. There is a more marked inversion of values ​​resulting in the rise of populism to the detriment of meritocracy and, as serious as this, in the trivialization of education by the so-called “one-dimensional massifiers”; disregard the importance of quality education and recognition of the individual efforts of academics to expand the number of graduates. The result is a job market unsatisfied with the young professionals and, consequently, a production (intellectual, of products or services) without quality. It is not necessary to reflect on the chain of other effects caused by this irresponsible perception of the Brazilian State that education should be standardized and massified.

The trajectory of the Brazilian Higher Education

According to Cunha (2007: 53-60) in Brazil, the first step towards the implementation of higher education was directed and very limited, where the first establishment was founded by the Jesuits in Bahia, seat of the Central Government, in 1550. It was they who set up colleges for the purpose of internal and external students, whose pupils were the children of civil servants, planters, cattle ranchers, artisans and later miners, with the advent of the exploitation of iron and of other minerals. In these colleges the teaching of the first letters and the secondary education were offered as disciplines. In some cases higher education was added in art and theology.

The course of Art, whose nomenclature was also given as Natural Sciences and / or Philosophy, lasted for three years, where it was added the teaching of Logic, Physics, Mathematics, Ethics and Metaphysics. The Theology course lasted four years and conferred the doctor’s degree. In the eighteenth century, the College of Bahia developed its first studies aimed at teaching mathematics where a specific Faculty was created for its teaching.

Several higher courses were offered in the states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Pernambuco, Maranhão and Pará. Portugal forbade the creation of colony-oriented universities, as it sought to prevent university studies from stretching revolutionary and independent movements against the crown, especially from the century entitled “the lights”, that is, the revolutionary movement of the Enlightenment which required both social, economic and political changes for the new human movement.

With the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Society of Jesus of Brazil in 1759, it caused the Jesuit colleges to be closed, and the higher schools took other forms and took place elsewhere, but no university was created. The arrival of the royal family in Brazil in 1808 drove the creation of the first higher education schools. Formerly the formation was directed to the priesthood of the Catholic Church, to attend the interests of the church in the early nineteenth century, the government is forced to create courses that would train more specialized professionals to attend the interests of the Portuguese court. Even though higher education has expanded during this period, it should be noted that this change did not result in the concrete creation of any university.

According to Cunha (2007: 65-71), with the independence of Brazil in 1822, the organization of higher education courses remained unchanged, maintaining the structure of higher schools. Among the most evident changes in this period, it is possible to indicate the installation of the course of law, “of the Polytechnic School in 1874 in Rio de Janeiro and the Ouro Preto School of Mines one year later.” During the nineteenth century, Brazil, in the cultural field, followed the French ideas that were brought by the students who studied outside the colony. With its modern and post-reform scientific studies, Coimbra was the university most sought by these students, and could be considered as a true matrix of a whole generation of intellectuals and scientists who began the cultivation of the natural and exact sciences. This strong cultural presence that influenced the students who studied there meant that, at the time of implementation in higher education in Brazil, the ideas present in France in relation to this teaching were incorporated in Brazil. In addition to this French cultural influence, Brazil had a central objective, as it was epigrafado, to train professionals to serve the interests of the government; Seen, such factors contributed to the Napoleonic university model gaining strength and structures of our higher education. Napoleon in creating the University of France, uses the university space for the maintenance of power:

The French Revolution for a short time held Comte’s hope of reconciling the dictatorship of government with freedom of thought. However, Napoleon Bonaparte, in restoring the Empire, signed a concordat with the Pope and created the University of France for the control of education. From this movement, the university became reactionary, composed of sages who, maintained by the governments, were united to them for the “exploitation of the masses” (CUNHA, 2007: 90)

The higher courses, even when transformed into Colleges, remained as isolated institutes, without any interest in the formation of universities. In any case, the special attention given to higher education reinforced the elitist and aristocratic character of Brazilian education, which privileged access to the nobles, landowners and an intermediary layer, arising from the expansion of administrative and bureaucratic frameworks.

During the initial period of the republic, with the expansion of higher education, greater access to this level of education was possible. According to Cunha (2007), in this period there was a multiplication of educational establishments, which were not subordinated to the state. In this context, some universities have emerged, whose stocks have been fleeting. Which of them were, the University of Manaus, that worked from the year of 1909 to 1926; the University of São Paulo, beginning its activities in the year of 1912; the University of Paraná, with the installation in 1912, dissolved in the year 1915. This was not the case with the Universities of Rio de Janeiro, created in 1920 and the University of Minas Gerais, created in 1927, where both had a longer duration in relation to the others mentioned.

Martins (2002) affirms that the first schools of superior education were founded in Brazil in 1808 with the arrival of the Portuguese royal family to the country. During this period, the schools of Surgery and Anatomy were created in Salvador (today the Faculty of Medicine of the Federal University of Bahia), the Anatomy and Surgery School in Rio de Janeiro (current Faculty of Medicine of UFRJ) and the Marine Guard Academy, in the river. Two years later, the Royal Military Academy (current National School of Engineering of UFRJ) was founded. They followed the course of Agriculture in 1814 and the Real Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Until the proclamation of the republic in 1889, higher education developed very slowly, followed the model of training of liberal professionals in isolated colleges, and aimed at securing a professional diploma with the right to occupy privileged positions in a restricted labor market, social prestige. It should be stressed that the non-university character of teaching was not a demerit for higher education since the level of teachers should be equal to that of the University of Coimbra, and the courses were of a long duration.

With political independence in 1822 there was no change in the format of the education system, nor its expansion or diversification. The power elite had no perceived advantages in setting up universities. There are 24 projects proposed for the creation of universities in the period 1808-1882, none of which have been approved. After 1850 there was a slight expansion of the number of educational institutions with consolidation of some scientific centers such as the National Museum, the Imperial Geological Commission and the National Observatory.

The expansion of higher education, limited to the liberal professions in few public institutions, was contained by the central government’s investment capacity and depended on its political will. Until the end of the 19th century there were only 24 higher education institutions in Brazil with about 10,000 students. The private initiative created its own establishments of superior education, thanks to the legal possibility disciplined by the Constitution of the Republic (1891).    Private institutions have emerged from the initiative of Catholic local and confessional elites. The educational system of São Paulo emerged at this time and represented the first major break with the model of schools under the control of the central government. Among the courses created in São Paulo in this period, are those of Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (1896), of the current Mackenzie University, which is a Presbyterian confessional. Over the next 30 years, the educational system expanded considerably, from 24 isolated schools to 133, 86 of which were established in the 1920s. The idea of ​​a university mobilized generations of proponents and critics of this form of teaching.

The project elaborated by the secular intellectual elite defended the public university in opposition to the model of isolated institutions and proposed the institutionalization of the research in its interior. Some countries of Hispanic America had universities in the colonial period, the first of which was created in Mexico in 1553, thanks to the imperial conception of Spain different from that of Portugal. In contrast, Portuguese pragmatism did not allow Brazil to have universities in the colonial period, and the formation of the higher education nucleus only began with the arrival of the Portuguese royal family. Its development was focused on professional training under state control. The model adopted combined the pragmatism of the Pombaline reform in Portugal (to liberate the teaching of the conservative obstacles considered responsible for the delay of the country in relation to the other Europeans), and the Napoleonic model that contemplated the divorce between teaching and scientific research.

In the 1920s, the debate about the creation of universities was no longer restricted to strictly political issues (degree of state control) as in the past, but to the concept of university and its functions in society. The functions defined were to house science, scientists and promote research. Universities would not only be mere institutions of learning but centers of disinterested knowledge. At the time, the country had about 150 isolated schools and the two existing universities, Paraná and Rio de Janeiro, were no more than clusters of isolated schools. It was on the basis of these debates that the provisional government of Getúlio Vargas promoted (in 1931) a broad educational reform, known as the Francisco Campos Reform (the country’s first Minister of Education), authorizing and regulating the functioning of universities, including the collection of annuities , since public education was not free. The university should organize itself around a nucleus constituted by a school of Philosophy, Science and Letters. Although the reform represented a breakthrough, it did not meet the main banner of the 1920s movement for not giving public exclusivity to higher education and allowing the operation of isolated institutions.

The period from 1931 to 1945 was characterized by an intense dispute between lay and Catholic leaders for the control of education. In exchange for support for the new regime, the government offered the Church the introduction of optional religious teaching in the basic cycle, which occurred in 1931. The ambitions of the Catholic Church were greater and culminated with the initiative to create their own universities in the following decade. In 1933, when the first statistics on education were available, the private sector accounted for 64.4% of establishments and 43.7% of enrollments in higher education, proportions that did not change substantively until the decade because the expansion of private education was counterbalanced by the creation of state universities and federalization with the annexation of private institutions (REGINALDO, 2013).

The internalization of higher education, which began in the 1950s, has been accentuated with one of the basic reasons being the creation of facilities or the search for clientele. Another response to the stability of demand was the sharp increase in the number of courses and the fragmentation of careers by the private sector to bring new offers to the market and thereby attract clientele. The fragmentation of careers (in various areas of knowledge) makes courses less expensive and converges to what happens in some areas in other countries. In the period from 1945 to 1964, according to Cunha (2007), there is a representative expansion of higher education in Brazil, especially in universities. In the military and civilian dictatorship there was a greater interest of the State in controlling universities . The period from 1945 to 1968 witnessed the struggle of the student movement and of young teachers in the defense of public education, of the university model as opposed to isolated schools and in the demand for the elimination of the private sector by public absorption. The discussion on the reform of the whole system of education, but especially that of the university, was on the agenda. The main criticisms of the university model were: the institution of the chair, the compartmentalization due to the commitment to the professional schools of the 1931 reform (which resisted appropriateness and maintained autonomy), and the elitist character of the university.

The professor for life, with powers of appointment or dismissal of auxiliaries, was considered as an obstacle to the organization of a university career and came to symbolize rigidity and anachronism. Elitism was reflected in the attendance of a small portion of the population, especially the most privileged strata. What was intended was the extinction of the chair, with departmental organization dependent on democratic decisions. This debate permeated the discussion of the Law on Guidelines and Foundations of Education, approved by Congress in 1961, which, unlike the 1931 reform, did not insist that higher education should be organized preferentially in universities. For the “reformers,” the 1961 Guidelines and Foundations Act represented a defeat and was considered a victory for the advocates of private enterprise, waving the banner of teaching freedom.

The military regime initiated in 1964 dismantled the student movement and kept under surveillance the public universities, seen as centers of subversion, resulting in the purge of important leaders of higher education and the expansion of the private sector, especially since 1970. The 1968 reform, despite its deteriorating civil rights, was inspired by many of the ideas of the student movement and the intelligentsia of previous decades: (i) instituted the department as a minimum unit of education; (ii) created the basic institutes (iii) organized the curriculum in basic and vocational cycles; (iv) altered the vestibular exam; (v) abolished the chair; (vi) made the decisions more democratic; (vii) institutionalized the research; (viii) centralized decisions in federal agencies. From 1970, the government policy for the area was to stimulate post-graduation and teacher training. In the period 1940-1960 the country’s population rose from 41.2 million to 70 million (70% growth), while enrollments in higher education tripled. In 1960, there were 226,218 university students (of which 93,202 were from the private sector) and 28,728 surplus (approved in the entrance examination for public universities, but not admitted for lack of vacancies) (MARTINS, 2002).

In the year 1969 surpluses totaled 161,527. Although the legal requirement of the 1968 reform established the unique model of higher education with the indissociability of teaching and research, in practice the system expanded through the proliferation of isolated establishments and few universities were able to institute scientific production. On the other hand, the lack of recognition of the convenience or necessity of heterogeneity, which condition the regulatory body’s performance, can stimulate falsity or formal compliance with norms, inhibiting the recognition of what may be positive or innovative in the alternative model. However, the insistence on the single model stimulates the adequacy of everything from the private sector, generating additional demand in the post-graduation period, mainly from the public sector (better equipped for this type of education) and fostering research (MARTINS, 2002).

Teixeira (1989: 86-93) argued that the ephemeral character of higher education was due to the fact that he had been orphaned by a true university project for more than a century. And that even after a brief “rebirth” of the university project in the 1930s, this level of education had undergone a process of indiscriminate expansion in the years 1940 to 1950, in the perverse ways of the old professional schools. It was only in the 1960s that the idea of ​​a university would be resumed, with the University of Brasilia project. Higher education was relegated to the formation of a real university project. And even though it had come out of this abandonment in the 1930s, such teaching had undergone a process of indiscriminate expansion in the years 1940 to 1950, still tied to models of the old professional schools. The idea of ​​a real university would come with the project of the University of Brasilia.

The 1950s and 1960s constitute very rich periods in the history of Brazil, of great political and cultural effervescences, of great formulations and proposals for the Brazilian university and, in general, for higher education. There was an intense debate about the course of the university, supported by different perspectives and different historical experiences, from which university projects were also born. From the critical university ‘, which reproduced the French model and was inspired by the May 1968 revolution, the model that came from the work of Darcy Ribeiro and Anízio Teixeira, which resulted in the University of Brasilia, inspired by the North American experience (REGINALDO, 2002).

The second military dictatorship would suffocate the so-called democratic aspirations, preventing the establishment of a university in Brazil, and imposing reform or paraphrasing its counter-reform: ‘The irony was for the dictatorship to have called for itself the idea of ​​a reform, which was a process of direct colonization, absorbed by the associated nation. The historical regression has become possible, according to this author, because the political poverty of our elites and the history we inherited would keep alive the “Frankenstein” of the isolated schools, minimally necessary, of which constituted, through aggregation, our university in the year 1930 (REGINALDO, 2002).

The consolidation of the dictatorial regime after the 1964 Coup is certainly an important milestone for a change of thought in educational policy, as it provokes an understanding of changes in higher education in the last decades of the twentieth century. On the trail of the so-called “modernization of higher education”, Minto apud Cunha (2006: 90), it is possible to find some fundamental elements that supported the reforms or against reforms undergone by higher education in Brazil. According to Minto apud Cunha (2006: 90), the historical meaning of the reforms of the Military Dictatorship for higher education should not be understood in a unique way, as a homogeneous block of transformations. Such policies can be learned from the complex relations between education and the historical political, economic and social context experienced by the country in these harrowing years, in which the relations between a military state whose power will continue unpublished in the Republican period, more than two decades in the hands of the military education, important dimension of the regime, either by its mediate function and legitimation and ideological inculcation, or by the immediate technical-vocational training, thus supplying the demand demanded by the new industrial scenario for the formation a hand qualified to meet the market.      Demand pressure led to an extraordinary expansion in higher education in the period 1960-1980, with enrollment numbers jumping from approximately 200,000 to 1.4 million, ¾ parts of the increase served by private enterprise. At the end of the 1970s the private sector accounted for 62.3% of enrollments, and in 1994 for 69%. It should be noted that the choice of the public sector by universities that combine teaching and research has raised the costs of public education, restricting its capacity for expansion, and opened the space for the private sector to meet the demand not absorbed by the State. Nevertheless, the dynamism of the growth of the private sector in search of profit may have occurred at the expense of quality (MINTO apud CUNHA (2006).

According to Martins (2002) from 1980 onwards, there was a progressive reduction in the demand for higher education due to the retention and evasion of high school students, inadequate universities to new market demands and frustration of potential customers’ expectations. In the 1990s, the ratio of high school graduates and places offered in higher education is 1/1 in the South and Southeast, 1 / 1.3 in the Midwest, and 1 / 2.5 in the North and Northeast. While in 1980 about 11% of the vacancies offered in higher education courses were not met, in 1990 the proportion passed to 19%. Between 1985 and 1993 the number of vacancies offered in higher education remained relatively stable, around 1,500,000, with relative decline in private sector participation.

Assevera, still, Martins (2002) one of the main transformations of higher education in the twentieth century consisted in the fact that they were also destined for mass service and not exclusively for the bourgeoisie. In one of the studies of the 1990s, it was observed that in higher education, students from families with incomes of up to 6 minimum wages represented approximately 12% of those enrolled in private institutions and 11% in public institutions. In both the private and public sectors, the proportion of students from families with incomes above ten minimum wages exceeds 60%, which demystifies the belief that the less privileged are attending the private institution. There is an expressive contingent of upper-level students coming from middle-income layers; highlighting the disadvantaged who do not enjoy the equal opportunity of access to higher education, be it public or private, not for lack of vacancies or reform of this, but for social problems and deficiencies of elementary education. In the 1990s, the proportion of young people between 20 and 24 years old who entered higher education corresponded to 11.4%, giving Brazil the 17th place among Latin American countries, surpassing only Nicaragua and Honduras. It is not an honorable position that, as mentioned, is not conditioned by lack of places in higher education, but by the number of secondary school graduates (MARTINS, 2002).

Martins (2002) also notes that the deficiencies of fundamental public education have been partially overcome by the excellent quality of teaching in private institutions. But this market solution discriminates against the large number of the less favored population, which will remain so long as there is no increase in income distribution, fundamental public education and the broader labor market. Some decisions of the Federal Government seeking to increase the supply of vacancies in elementary education and the offer of school scholarship seem to be appropriate, though by themselves insufficient, measures. The government’s own restrictions on failure in elementary school (as adopted in the State of São Paulo), if well understood by the teachers of the respective levels and perceived as increasing their responsibilities in the recovery of the students to which they are subject, represent another attempt to implement the population and to increase the number of secondary school graduates.

The misconduct of Brazilian higher education: the external models

The neoliberal view of Talcott Edger Parson and Walt Whitman Rostow still predominates. Economic growth is accompanied by prerequisites (increased productivity, industrialization supported by two or more strategic sectors and external investments), which are essential for moving from traditional to more advanced modalities. And every economy needs these prerequisites for economic growth to be awakened to enable it to transition to the modern industrial economy. Rostow points out (1961) as an outlet for the backward economies of sectoral development.

The take-off thesis focuses on investments in strategic sectors of the economy, capable of promoting a “belt” of transmission of the progress of these sectors to other sectors of the economy. Of the three theorists analyzed so far in this dissertation, Rostow (1961) is the closest that remained stuck in neoclassical theory. His thesis has remained far removed from the economic and social reality of underdeveloped countries, in particular those of Latin America. As justification for the abovementioned paragraph; there is no concept of economic development. In its conception, conditions are established for a country to leave the state of economic lethargy to pursue economic growth (GUMIEIRO, 2011: 71).

The analysis of Brazilian higher education scenarios may, firstly, be based on the assumption or premise that the evolution of the macro-environment context, both global and national, will hardly allow some kind of reversal in the current framework of constant increase in schooling; great commodity has become knowledge. On the contrary, a dynamic, in a productive model prioritizing the domain of information and the generation of knowledge, and in a political context valuing the participation and the exercise of a type of full and non-bestowed citizenship. Dynamics in the sense of implementing transformations to facilitate the process of control over the production of scientific knowledge.

The different scenarios considered maintain the same rhythm and intensity of the implementation of educational reforms or the redefinition of the working environment of higher education institutions in Latin America. The “concern” with universal access, the quality of courses and programs and the instruments of regulation and control of the sector varied in orientation, rhythm and intensity, corresponding to the capacities and priorities of each nation and the development of international regulatory bodies. Access to education, at its various levels, is not only an economic imperative corresponding to the knowledge society or the information society. It is also an indicator of development. And with the advancement of capitalism, higher education has become a cultural variable acting in the composition of the identities of individuals.

According to Porto & Régnier (2003), higher education gains more and more centrality when analyzing some elements of the totality. When it comes to the transition from the industrial development model to the informational development model, which is accompanied by an intense transformation in the economic, political, social and cultural dimensions of societies, it is perceived that the capacity to produce, interpret , articulating and disseminating knowledge and information occupies a privileged place in the strategic agenda of the productive sectors and the States. The competitive advantage of one country over another begins to depend on the qualification of its citizens, the quality of the knowledge they are able to produce and transfer to the productive systems, and the capacity of application and generation of science and technology in the production of goods and services.

For Porto & Régnier (2003) the analysis of the possibilities of development of higher education in an international scale can consider the dynamics of evolution of the other spheres (social, political, economic and cultural) assuming and providing a comprehensive picture of the current context and the surrounding environment . According to Porto & Régnier (2003), although the field of higher education has a certain autonomy in relation to the others, with its idiosyncrasies, its specific assets in dispute and its own power relations, which makes it possible to observe certain factors of the external context , withdrawing autonomy.

Indeed, what is observed at the international level is that the structural transformations under way in the last two decades seem to provoke a broad restructuring and reorganization of the world’s economy and political relations. The transformations seem to coexist and cause important conjunctural conflicts and tensions, whose outcome may be different paths. In this process, social and political contradictions increase, creating new points of conflict and tension, including the persistence of great inequalities.

The dominant is the accelerated and contradictory process of globalization with economic integration, bloc formation and technological innovation, which elevate material progress but at the same time disorganises trade regulation systems and accentuates social inequalities. Economic integration, accelerated by technological innovations, especially telematics, has created an intense and rapid movement of capital and information at the international level. The international context is dominated by a set of conjunctural trends and events that can define alternative futures, depending on the nature and intensity of the changes. The capitalist system goes through political impacts and developments that tend to provoke a broad reorganization of the international context in the short term. Although apparently disconnected from the specific environment of higher education institutions, their development in the medium and long term will be felt in this field, particularly in the greater or lesser openness to free flows of knowledge and information and to the process of internationalization of the consolidated or those anchored in information and communication technologies.

The common experience of many countries is that higher education is no longer a small specialized or esoteric part of a country’s life. It is at the very heart of society’s activities, an essential element of the economic well-being of a country or region, a strategic partner in the commerce and industry sector, public authorities as well as international organizations (UNESCO, 1998:246).

In the so-called “first world” countries, and especially in the United States, the changes in higher education in the last fifty years have been very significant in both quantitative and qualitative terms. The main feature is the transformation of traditional education, based on four-year courses and provided by public and private institutions (universities) that predominated throughout the years 1940/1950 for mass higher education, with short courses and heavily concentrated in private institutions; to be consolidated over the 1990s, giving rise to post-secondary education. This transition, too, is perceived by other nations, since several of the external forces exerting pressure on educational institutions are similar, especially after the intensification of globalization in its multiple dimensions. Therefore, although there is no certainty about the new university paradigm that will be established and consolidated throughout the twenty-first century, studies and research carried out and available have indicated, worldwide, a broad set of trends and forces of change in progress (UNESCO , 1998).

A change in the characteristics of the Higher Education sector is important, through the introduction of new elements such as: the breakdown of the geographical, regional or local monopoly, with the emergence of new competitive forces; the shift from the organizational model of higher education, which moves from a loose, federated system of colleges and universities serving only local communities to a knowledge industry operating in a highly competitive and increasingly deregulated global market; in the transformation of large, strong and vertically integrated universities into more specialized and student-centered institutions (not the teacher); the significant restructuring of higher education, implying the disappearance and fusion of universities, as well as the strengthening of interactions between them, aiming at the exchange of activity and the development and operation of common projects.

According to Unesco (1998), the transformations that occur within the Higher Education sector also imply the emergence of new protagonists, who not only compete with traditional universities, but also serve as complements and partners: Corporate universities, sponsored or administered by large companies, aiming at the continuous and specialized learning of their staff.

Instructional companies are outsourced institutions that provide services to universities in the field of higher education in specialized niches of knowledge, pedagogical processes or clientele, through contracts defining indicators and goals of results and the desired teaching-learning conditions; Intermediation Entities, whose function is to bridge the gap between higher education providers and “consumers”, in order to support future students financially, provide guidance and relevant information and certify the knowledge acquired by them. They can also act in the defense of students’ interests, mobilizing students and negotiating specific courses and discounts with educational institutions, as well as promoting the search for employment and work for the students; Non-Traditional Organizations. Entry into the sector of new types of players from other segments of the economy, such as telecommunication, information and entertainment companies, as well as governmental and “third sector” organizations engaged in education, training and professional development. Although these institutions have traditionally been viewed primarily as providers or customers of the higher education system, they can now be seen as part of it and therefore as potential contributors and / or competitors.

The university, in addition to the classical roles of teaching, research and extension, have played other functions of society’s interest (health and welfare services, economic development, entertainment), the barriers that protected it from the invasions of political and economic agents are being overthrown . Thus, universities as an institution are becoming increasingly visible and vulnerable and less protected before the agents of society, thus requiring new forms of interaction and insertion with the external environment. The provision of higher education services tends increasingly to take on the following characteristics: continuous learning, implying the need for educational institutions to provide citizens with conditions and lifelong learning throughout their working life, meeting the requirements of a society in permanent change; rigid boundaries between services, meaning that different academic activities not only become more interrelated but interact.


The evaluation of higher education established as a process of supervision of the expansion and maintenance of the federal system of higher education is conservative; and in order to promote the expansion of the private sector offer space without qualifying it as a strategic sector for the country. The benefits in general were and are obviously necessary, but the action has not reached the inherent realities, in a diffuse way to society and the economy, to sufficiency as a development policy of the country. It is considered, therefore, the historical limitation of the Brazilian university as a limiting factor of higher education policies to the federal system (public and private) that can stimulate dynamic sectors of the economy, improve social policies and form human capital. The evaluation of higher education aims to rethink the trajectory of higher education and the formation of an evaluation routine, especially as a strategic instrument of public policies.

Higher education can not obey the principle of capitalist decoupling that subjects education to economic performance and processes of bureaucratic institutional performance, base and identity in current patrimonial, not compromising with the absolute protection of institutional autonomy and all of its academic community. By bowing to procedures of effectiveness, efficiency, productivity or unproductiveness, just as in the history of Brazilian dependence, a period in which people were only recognized for their supposed use and utility value. The commitment to decentralize the higher education system to universities and institutions of higher education, replacing the centralization of the Federal Government and its populist “statist” vice, with the objective of dehumanizing subjective processes and actions, confusing and alienating .

A contemporary, civilizing and humanizing system of higher education must ensure that, politically, it will point to the full independence and autonomy of educational institutions and will organize itself by transferring to each State of the Republic subdivided into its municipalities and its administrative regions or territorial macro-regions, the leadership of the regulatory management of higher education in each locality, exercised from the centrality of fully autonomous public universities. They should act as regulatory regents where, as satellites, they will orbit private higher education institutions that do not classify themselves as universities (REGINALDO, 2013: 260).

It is very difficult in capitalism to reconcile values ​​supported by exploitation with those emanating from popular culture. Capitalism has contributed to the violation of economic and social rights. There is no capacity for specific analysis in the sense of understanding that the present society has dispensed with the spirit of community.


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[1] PhD student at the Graduate School of Education at the Federal University of Amazonas.

[2] Doctor

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Ana Cristina Cruz Pinto

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