Censo da Educação Superior (Higher Education Census) 2011 shows great progress in enrollment of young blacks and browns between 1997 and 2011
BRASILIA – On the eve of the implementation of the Law on Quotas next entrance exam, the Ministry of Education (MEC) released figures from the Higher Education Census 2011 that show an increase in the number of young blacks who have completed this stage of education. The data also show that enrollment in public institutions, especially in federal, had jumped higher than recorded in private universities.
From 1997 to 2011, the proportion of pretos (blacks) and pardos (browns) in college almost quadrupled. Only 1.8% of self-identified pretos (blacks) aged 18 to 24 years were attending or had completed higher education in 1997. The proportion increased in 2004 and reached 8.8% in the Census 2011. The numbers for pardos (browns), also improved: in 2011, 11% of young pardos had attended or completed a college education, compared to 2.2% in 1997.
The data was released by the government a day after the publication of the ordinance that made adjustments to the Quotas Act. The law determines that, in the next entrance exam, 12.5% of vacancies in federal institutions are reserved for students from public schools, reaching 50% within four years.
The vacancies will be filled according to the census of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) – pretos (blacks), pardos (browns) and Indian are considered as a single set, but the law opens loopholes for vacancies reserved for Indians. In São Paulo, for example, blacks, browns and Indians are 34.73% of the population.
“This (the growth) was very important, but they (blacks and browns) are still far below the weight they have in the population. Many public universities had quotas. Our goal now is that the participation of blacks in higher education is the same as the Census (of the IBGE),” said Education Minister Aloizio Mercadante. Pretos, pardos and Indians represent 51.17% of Brazilians, according to IBGE.
“Our expectation is to reduce, social, racial and regional inequality in Brazil. So the poorest regions must grow faster, blacks have to increase their presence in higher education and, especially, the poor have to grow much faster than they have grown historically.”
Young whites have agreater presence in higher education: 25.6% of them were attending or had completed this level of education in 2011, a rate higher than the 18.7% in 2004 and 11.4% in 1997. The MEC has not released figures of the indigenous population.
Among the poorest (MEC group classified as “20% of the low income population”), 4.2% of young people were attending or had completed higher education in 2011 and in 2004, the rate was 0.6% and in 1997, 0.5%. Among the wealthiest (the “20% highest income”), the percentage of young people gaining access to higher education jumped from 22.9% in 1997 to 47.1% in 2011.
Mercadante emphasized the increase in vacancies in the federal education system, the ProUni (scholarship program at private institutions) and Fundo de Financiamento Estudantil (Student Financing Fund or FIES) as policies for expanding access to higher education.
Data from Higher Education Census 2011 showed a higher demand for technology courses, such as engineering; enrollment in these courses increased by 11.4% between 2010 and 2011. In the same period, enrollment in bachelor’s degree programs rose 6.4%. The bad news is thatenrollments stagnated (up 0.1%). The training of teachers, especially in areas such as physics and chemistry, is a challenge for the country.
In 2011, there were 6,739,689 students enrolled in higher education, of which 1,773,315 were in public institutions. A private network, in turn, had 4,966,374 students.