The ODL Systems for Sustainable Growth in Brazil: UAB System (2006-2016)

The ODL Systems for Sustainable Growth in Brazil: UAB System (2006-2016)

Maria Renata da Cruz Duran (Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Brazil), Bruna Carolina Marino Rodrigues (Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Brazil) and Celso José da Costa (Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2624-7.ch007


The Open University System of Brazil (UAB System) was created in 2006 to provide higher education, especially for teachers in regions not served by traditional institutions, through an articulation between Public Institutions of Higher Education (IHES), state and municipal delegates and federal government in favor of distance learning modality. In order to present a few of these results, we are going to start from an overview of Brazilian education, situating distance learning education on that. Within this chapter, we are going to draw the main lines of UAB System that was accompanied with the trajectory of an interinstitutional research group that have been working since 2011, typifying the university offices and the municipality centers, and showing the potential of some of these combinations in terms of quality evaluation and economic impact.
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The Brazilian population, in 2015, totaled 204.860 million people, with greater concentration in the Southeast and Northeast regions (142,557,000). About 27% of this population is situated between 0 and 25 years old (IBGE, 2016). At school, this period is divided into 4 levels, named as initial (0-5 years), fundamental (6-14 years), middle (14-17 years) and above1. Obligatory, basic education (that brings together the three instances) has the highest number of enrollments in the public system at about 85%. Each year, 1.8 million students complete middle school in public schools (SEMESP, 2016)2.

In higher education, the curve has risen since the beginning of the 2000s, when 2.695.927 students were enrolled (MEC / EFA, 2014, 6) until 2014, when 7.8 million students were divided between 6.5 million in conventional stream (83%) and 1.3 million in ODL courses (17%). Of which 75% in the private network (5.9 million) and the rest in the public network, composed of federal, state and municipal institutions (SEMESP, 2016), concentrated in the following areas of knowledge.

Figure 1.

Population with higher education, by age and field

Source: Schwartzman, 2015, p. 4

According to Simon Schwartzman (2014), the public sector achieved the highest absolute growth rate in higher education. Only between 2007 and 2012, the increase in the number of new entrants was 93.93%. This increase was accompanied by new staff resources in universities: 67% in the number of administration workers and 51% in the number of teachers. The percentage of graduates that was not included in the calculation is 24.54%.


Emergence Of Odl System And Its Impact

In the distance education modality, this growth was linked to the creation of the Open University System of Brazil. Overall, between 2009 and 2014, the growth rate of the modality was 60%, with an increase of 80% in the private network and a decrease of 19% in the public sector (SEMESP, 2014). In 2015, the total number of students enrolled in ODL courses was 5,048,912, the majority concentrated in the southeast and northeast regions, in LatoSensu specialization courses, many of them not accredited by the official regulatory agencies, attending students between 21 and 40 years, with a slight increase in the number of semi-presential courses compared to fully virtual courses (ABED, 2016, 10). The areas of study of the ODL differ from the general framework of the specialties attended by the Brazilian higher education, although they maintain a certain concentration in the educational field, but expand it to Social Science, Business and Law.

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