By Simon Schwartzman

 

From the Introduction

The modernization of Brazilian economy and society cannot be achieved without adequate educational policies. It will not be possible to build a modern, internationally competitive economy, capable of incorporating and developing new technologies, productive processes and organizational methods, with a semi-illiterate population, a deteriorated secondary education and a higher education sector in permanent state of crisis. The Brazilian government has a diagnosis about the country's economic problems -- inflation, low productivity and overprotection of the industrial sector, uncontrolled public expenditures -- and conviction about the policies needed to redress them. There is no consensus about the ways the government is tackling these problems, but there is a broad understanding that they point in the right direction. There is no similar consensus in the field of education, neither within the government nor among opposition parties and sectors.

This article deals with higher education, and discusses its perspectives in a time horizon of ten to twenty years. It assumes that a good higher education sector is indispensable for scientific and technological development, for increasing the quality of human capital and for the upgrading of general education in a country. Basic education, which all agree is the priority, cannot be improved at the expense of public support to higher education.