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Title: Higher education reform in Brazil : some voices of the academia
Author: Christofoletti, Jose Fernando
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis examines the rationale underlying the recent changes concerned with the expansion, organisation, social commitment and public sponsorship of non-research-intensive Brazilian universities, which represent the biggest (though not much investigated) segment of the Brazilian higher education system. Unlike the approach adopted by a significant part of the Brazilian research conducted in this area — which is based on the assumption that the changes are largely the outcome of the national educational policies of the mid 1990s — this study focuses on the role played by the academics themselves. A qualitative research strategy was employed that drew on the findings of semi-structured interviews with 40 lecturers from different departments of a non-research-intensive Brazilian university. The findings revealed that the complex situation partially resulting from the new educational policies had led to two distinct reactions within the university. The first was characterized by a movement of resistance against such policies, which were regarded as harmful to the university's practices and the academic work. The other attitude was characterised by a willingness to engage in commercial practices and establish closer links with private companies, mainly through the provision of services in outreach programmes. The significance of this entrepreneurial involvement was shown in its effect on the concept of outreach — traditionally a form of social service provided by the universities. The research also obtained evidence that the financial resources derived from these commercial practices have allowed the university to improve its facilities and the quality of its activities. This contradicts the assertions of several Brazilian authors who claim that these practices have had an adverse effect on the university's autonomy and social role. However, further research is needed to understand the full implications of the benefits and drawbacks of these commercial practices.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available