The democratization of higher education in Brazil: A road towards a politics of excellence?

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Ana María Freitas Teixeira


This article aims to present the changes in higher education in Brazil especially since the beginning of the 21st century. We present the recent modification in the process of selection for entering into the public network, especially into the federal network, the most sought after among families and young Brazilians, with the establishment of the National Examination of Intermediate Teaching (ENEM). To better understand the stakes of those transformations, we also present the main government programs set up to establish what has been called equality of opportunity and democratization of access to this level of training. These actions are discussed as a possible way of constructing an educational excellence, beyond the elitist principle that characterizes Brazilian higher education, without forgetting the danger that democratization might only be standardization.

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Part I: Network for Excellence in Higher Education (NEHE): The case for a new type of "excellence"