The Politics of Access to Higher Education in Argentina and Brazil: A comparative analysis
Historically, higher education has played an important role in the development of societies. Indeed, this has been the case in both Argentina and Brazil. The overall goal of this dissertation is to examine the historical development and the current situation of higher education in Argentina and Brazil. In relation to history, it discusses the creation and the development of higher education institutions; the changes in educational policies; and the varying opportunities to access higher
education that were offered to the populations of these two countries. In relation to the current situation, the study discuss the main strengths and challenges of higher education in Argentina and Brazil; the diversification of institutions and courses; the process of granting access to higher education adopted by institutions in each country; and finally the main policies implemented by the federal governments of both countries to expand access to higher education and assure quality. The analysis of the history of higher education in Argentina and Brazil is based on relevant literature in the field, while the analysis of the current situation is based on interviews carried out with 19 key actors in the field of higher education in these countries. These key actors include government officials in charge of creating and implementing higher education policies in both countries, as well as academic specialists on the subject. Several different activities were conducted to achieve the goals of this dissertation. First, there is an attempt to clarify the theoretical foundations upon which the analysis of higher education in Argentina and Brazil is developed. There is a debate about the state and its role in relation to education, as well as the impact of globalization the state and on higher education. Then, higher education in Argentina and Brazil is put into the context of higher education in Latin America. The status of higher education in Argentina and in Brazil is first examined individually, with a subsequent comparative analysis of the main aspects. This dissertation discusses important aspects of the history of higher education in Argentina and Brazil, as well as some key features of these institutions in the present. It also helps to illuminate relevant trends and alternative paths for the future.