You are here:

Brazil’s Social Justice Policies for Higher Education: What can we learn from Asia?

, Department of Psychology, Business and Education, UNINASSAU, Brazil

Asian Journal of Distance Education Volume 13, Number 1 ISSN 1347-9008


Brazil tertiary education has evolved substantially in the last 20 years. The policies set up by the Brazilian government aimed at different targets. There were actions to expand the enrollments in the country’s public universities, mainly through a program called Reestruturação e Expansão das Universidades Federais (REUNI). The government also invested in increasing the enrollments in private universities and colleges through the government students’ loans program, called Programa de Financiamento Estudantil (FIES), and through a grant program, called Programa Universidade para Todos (PROUNI). And finally, the policymakers also encouraged the development of online distance learning programs as a way to compensate for the lack of higher education opportunities in the areas located far away from Brazil’s most developed cities. The FIES and PROUNI were implemented as social justice policies to create opportunities for students from lower-income families to pursue a higher education degree. However, There are claims that the social justice subsidy model adopted by the Brazilian government isn’t sustainable. On the other side of the world, countries from Asia-Pacific are exploring different strategies to increase both enrollments and quality in tertiary education based on Confucian principles. This Confucian Model led scholars to believe that the Asia-Pacific countries were ready to compete against the tertiary education offered in the western hemisphere. Therefore, firstly, the author’s analysis focuses on the pivotal decisions that shaped Brazil’s higher education system. In sequence, the author examines some key learning points from the Asia-Pacific countries that adopted a tertiary education strategy based on the Confucian Model. The author proposes that to ensure the Brazilian social jus tice policies efficacy the country’s policymakers should consider developing a more comprehensive rationality involving a long-term thinking strategy for its primary, secondary and tertiary education, mixing government funds and social engagement, in a course of action that can boost academic quality and enrollments. In summary, the author presents recommendations to policymakers, scholars, and HEI administrators regarding the development of Brazilian social justice policies for tertiary education.


Nery, M.B.M. Brazil’s Social Justice Policies for Higher Education: What can we learn from Asia?. Asian Journal of Distance Education, 13(1), 88-108. Retrieved November 19, 2018 from .