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Innovating the Internationalization of Higher Education and fostering International Cooperation through PEC-G

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The Exchange Program for Undergraduate Students (PEC-G) has been innovating the internationalization of Higher Education in Brazil and contributing to the development of partner countries since 1965. The program was redesigned in 2013 and provides students from developing countries with which Brazil maintains educational, cultural or scientific and technological agreements the opportunity to pursue their undergraduate studies in Brazilian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). In this new design, PEC-G reassures its commitment to providing high profile capacity building to foreign students from developing countries without charging them any tuition. Students must cover their own expenses for living costs and transportation, but they are allowed and encouraged to seek funding provided by the educational network in Brazil. Currently, PEC-G has partnerships with over 55 countries from all continents, and students may choose between more than 3,000 undergraduate opportunities among 115 HEIs spread all over Brazilian states. From 2000 to 2015 more than 4000 students completed their studies, which represents a graduation rate of 82%, while the dropout rate remained stable at 10%. In 2017 nearly 350 PEC-G students are expected to begin their studies in Brazil, joining other 2100 who are halfway towards graduation.The success of the program is achieved due to the joint efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE), through the Division of Educational Themes (DCE), and the Ministry of Education (MEC), in partnership with HEIs throughout the country. In addition to being a means for cooperation with developing countries, the PEC-G Program also fosters the internationalization and diversification of the Brazilian academic setting. Owing to the strengthening of both political and cultural interest on international education, research and development, HEIs are beginning to perceive PEC-G as an important tool for creating a sustainable environment to receive foreign students, given the diversity of the public attending the program. Moreover, MEC and MRE are striving to harmonize the understanding of the program’s new rules, as well as to enable HEIs to improve their capacity of providing even better student services for international students.

Author(s):

Juliana Kumbartzki Ferreira    
UFSC
Brazil

Rafael Duarte    
MEC/UNESCO
Brazil

Elisa Mendes    
MRE
Brazil

 

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