by Eusebio dos Santos Gervasio and Manoelly dos Santos Cerqueira

Edited and Translated by Matheus Lucas Hebling

Editor’s Note: This is an edited version of the text. For the full version in Portuguese, please reach the authors.

Education and the formation of what is understood as formal education was constituted during the period of colonization in Brazil and Mozambique. but it was only a strategy to make indigenous people assimilate the last of the colonizers. education was essential to build the model of standard society that was needed at that time, in which mentalities were dominated and society was built in America and Africa. in the Brazilian context, Universities were created that were discussed after the dovecote reform to create a university elite that would study law, philosophy, and medicine and higher education became a place to feed abstract reflections of knowledge, of the life provided by the bourgeoisie that the elite I found it fascinating, sometimes because of the activities that met the demands of the elites, such as the defense of rights when building the nation that d. peter will become emperor. Faced with the challenges of education in Mozambique, the colonizing culture was also introduced to public universities. With the great revolutions and the 1988 constitution, education in Brazil was a guarantee for all people, and public policies were implemented so that black and poor people could have access, but this was in the governments after the constitution, because the university was a place for elites and it was a complex process to insert the student who leaves the public school for the university that was years ago a white and privileged environment. The questions about education that were discussed as something political have already become a university experience because educating is a political act. the universities came after a long process of democratization and efforts of social equality by the governments that inserted the underprivileged classes in the universities and colleges of the country.

Higher education in Mozambique and Brazil

The emergence of higher education in Mozambique is demarcated in 1962, when by decree n. 44,530, of 21 August, the General University Studies of Mozambique – Egum – were created in response to criticism from nationalist movements in the Portuguese colonies (Mozambique, 2014, p. 4). Through decree-law no. 43,779, of December 1968, the University of Lourenço Marques – ULM – was created, and later with the National Independence, the ULM was transformed into Eduardo Mondlane University – UEM -, with a student population at that time of 2,400 students distributed in different courses. It was supposed that the Egum was intended for a black elite to continue to administer the colonial system in Africa, but that did not happen, because this institution did not absorb the black elite, in such a way that with the fall of the colonial regime in the middle of the 1970s, it was not found in universities, but in the woods fighting colonialism or in exile (Rosário, 2013). Throughout the period that preceded national independence, higher education maintained a discriminatory and excluding access, because, contrary to what dictated its emergence, it was mainly intended for the children of settlers (Mechisso, 2017, p. 9). After the Proclamation of National Independence, a socialist state was installed and reforms were carried out to guarantee access to higher education for all. The first decade of independence (1975-1985) was marked by a single university created during the colonial period, a process that was reversed only in 1985 and 1986 when two HEIs were created. We refer to the Instituto Superior Pedagógico, which in 1995 became the Pedagogical University, today the Pedagogical University of Maputo, and the Higher Institute of International Relations, today the Joaquim Chissano University (Silva, 2018; Mechisso, 2017; Noa, 2011).
The expansion of access to higher education and the challenges imposed on its quality Data on higher education in Mozambique, expressed in the 2012 statistical yearbook, indicate that “higher education has increased rapidly from around 12,000 students in 2000 to more than 101 thousand in 2010. This numerical growth poses challenges to the quality of teaching and the functioning of educational institutions at different levels” (Mozambique, 2012b, p. 2). It is important to highlight that it is impossible to have a precise definition of what quality is, because as stated by Sguissardi (2006) “quality is those polysemic or chameleonic terms that mimic meanings and colors of the context that produces them or that conditions its existence” (p. 71). However, it is worth noting, from the perspective of the same author, that “the current trend is to associate it with evaluation and/or accreditation, which necessarily involves the State, that is, the so-called Evaluating State. But it is also ostensibly associated with competitiveness and employability” (Sguissardi, 2006, p. 70). It should be noted that quality assessment in Mozambique has been, above all, quantitative and less qualitative, as HEIs contribute little to solving social problems or to discovery and innovation. Given this situation, Terenciano and Natha (2016) clarify that “the excessive use of quantitative information as a basis for evaluating higher education, in addition to pressuring individuals to achieve certain quantitative indicators, is not capable of guaranteeing that quality is evaluated”. ” (p. 81). Therefore, the combination of quantitative and qualitative indicators is essential when assessing the quality of education. However, the quality of education, in the understanding of Dourado, Oliveira, and Santos (2007).
The University emerged in Brazil at the beginning of the 19th century, as a result of the
formation of elites who sought education mainly in European institutions during the period from 1500 to 1800 and who returned to the country with their qualifications. They arise in troubled moments and are the result of the gathering of isolated institutes or specific faculties, a fact that gave them a very fragmented and fragile characteristic. Brazilian universities have enormous historical differences when compared to institutions in other Latin American countries. They are much younger than higher education institutions in other Latin American countries. They result from market demand that signals the need to train professionals with qualifications fundamentally in areas of engineering, medicine, and law. Initially, they were located in the most economically important metropolises for Brazil at the time. The first Brazilian university, Universidade do Rio de Janeiro, was founded in 1920, in Rio de Janeiro, and set the course for higher education in Brazil, signaling the establishment of a new era.
Higher education in Brazil cannot be discussed without taking into account the scenario and context in which it arises, that is, one must bear in mind the time and space in which it is inserted, analyzing it from the moment of its emergence. to the current reality of education, both in the local, regional and global panorama. Brazil is located in Latin America, a continent seen by many as suffering from extreme poverty. It is, without a doubt, a continent of many inequalities, both in the social sphere and in the territorial sphere. According to the results of the World Bank study, Latin America is the continent with the highest number of unequal indices in several aspects, including, among them: income distribution, expenditure on consumer goods, and services, access to health, and, above all, access to education. Even so, the university in Latin America, since its inception, has assumed a role much greater than its formative responsibility. It brings to itself the decision to form citizens committed to social commitment, to the struggle to reduce inequalities, to create opportunities for all, to commit to economic and social development, and to build and maintain cultural identities. The great challenge for Latin American countries is to offer learning, research, and work opportunities to their individuals, in an equitable and balanced way, to ensure advanced knowledge that will provide opportunities
for the development of their economies, since these same countries are becoming protagonists of the global market. Latin American countries have taken important steps toward creating more and more opportunities to train their citizens and increase their reserves of intellectual capital and highly qualified professionals, in addition to giving them access to the labor market to generate income and improve living conditions. Enrollments for access to Higher Education have practically doubled in the last decades and continue to expand, as well as the increase in the diversification of opportunities to enter different areas of knowledge in the Higher Education system. Even so, all these efforts are still insufficient to meet the demand of individuals able to take advantage of opportunities for higher education and to meet the needs of placing professionals in the job market, making it not yet a reality in Latin America. . There are still few higher education institutions and the existing ones face a variety of problems, especially about quality, regional inequalities and the imbalance in the number of qualified professionals in specific areas that are out of step with the demands of the labor market. . This scenario refers to the constant need for permanent observatories that accompany the evolution of civilizations, their new contours, their new requirements, their needs, that make adequate readings of how, through education, one can solve the problems that unbalance social well-being. of the populations


Although there has been an accelerated growth of HEIs and the number of students in recent years, the quality of these institutions continues to be debated. Although access and expansion have improved in recent years, it remains evident that, in Mozambique, higher education is not accessible to the majority of students who finish secondary education for several reasons: the first is the very limited absorption capacity of candidates for this level of education, and the second is the charging of fees that make attending higher education less accessible to most low-income families. In this text, it was not accompanied by the construction of student assistance infrastructure, as is the case of student homes and university restaurants, which could provide support for students displaced from their housing areas. Although there has been an accelerated growth of HEIs and the number of students in recent years, the quality of these institutions continues to be debated. As much as access and expansion have improved in recent years, it remains evident that, in Mozambique, higher education is not accessible to the majority of students who complete secondary education for several reasons: the first is the very limited ability to absorption of candidates for this level of education, and the second is the charging of fees that make attending higher education less accessible to most lower-income families. Public HEIs are increasingly concerned about the privatized interest of the vacancies they offer, which cements the exclusionary trend. Furthermore, despite this expansion, we noticed that in terms of the geographical distribution of the courses offered by the HEIs, Maputo, Beira, and Nampula are the cities that offer the greatest diversity of training offers, preventing possibilities of choice for those who are outside these. Financing has to be perceived as a key element for quality improvement. Funding is not only to respond to infrastructure issues but also aimed at the three pillars of higher education. There is a tendency for the State to refuse to provide higher education when it assumes that the diversification of funding sources must have the participation of families when most families are not able to pay. This becomes an exclusion criterion for most Mozambicans. Provincial scholarship programs were implemented, which may have been a failure, as throughout their implementation periods they ended up not absorbing individuals from rural regions. The entities receiving the documents for the competition are in the provincial capitals and the dissemination system made access to information difficult. The Mozambique Scholarship Institute website was recently opened, which can help more Mozambicans outside Maputo and provincial capitals to have the opportunity to participate in the scholarship application process. We understand, on the other hand, that what could contribute to the quality of Mozambican higher education, subject to institutional circumstances, are the new requirements and terms of qualification and work regime of teachers, which would require them to dedicate themselves to the performance academic activities in the educational institution where they are linked. This necessarily involves the Mozambican State training more teachers and improving salary and working conditions.


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Eusebio dos Santos Gervasio and Manoelly dos Santos Cerqueira is a  Master in Public and Municipal Management from UBS-Mozambique and  Postgraduate in Public and Municipal Management E-mail:
Manoelly dos Santos Cerqueira is a  Post-graduate in Neuropsychopedagogy by INTERVE and a Master’s Student in Psychological Intervention in Development and Education at FUNNIBER. E-mail:

Eusebio dos Santos Gervásio (2022) "Higher Education Public Policy: A Comparison between Mozambique and Brazil". Brazilian Research and Studies Blog. ISSN 2701-4924. ISSN 2701-4924nameVol. 3 Num. 1. available at:, accessed on: November 29, 2023.