After successful efforts in the FAUBAI convention 2017, the main internationalization event for tertiary education in Brazil, the Chilean delegation hopes to increase the number of foreign students in the country, and promote academic cooperation on a South American level.
Porto Alegre, Brazil. – Eight Chilean universities displayed their academic offers for foreign students in the FAUBAI convention 2017, event organized by the Brazilian Association for International Education, and this year 600 representatives of higher education institutions, both local and from around the world, gathered in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Supported by ProChile and working with the higher education institutions network Learn Chile, the national delegation held dozens of work meetings with representatives from the different universities who attended the event. This was the first step in promoting alliances which will foster, from new partnership for student exchange to the creation of international university networks for academic collaboration, as well as joint research projects between Chilean and Brazilian institutions.
In total, Brazil has over 2.300 universities, federal institutions and other higher education institutions, which offer programs at different levels, catering to 7.8 million students. However only 0, 5% of those students are foreign, the lowest percentage of all the countries associated with the OCDE.
The Brazilian government has already made arrangements to correct this tendency. This year it will start the program Mais Ciência, Mais Desenvolvimento (More Science, More Development), a project which will replace the current system of federal allocation of funds for students of science and technology, giving more autonomy to Brazilian universities regarding scholarships, financing and funds for research. The institutions that are joining the program must have strategies of internationalization and alliances with foreign partners, thus providing a good opportunity for Chile.
According to figures from Mineduc, Chile attracts 20.000 foreign students annually; a million of them come from Brazil. Marcos Avilez, director of Learn Chile, stated that “Brazil is positioning itself as a reference in higher education within the region and is an important ally for Chile in the international education scene. In this sense, both countries have a lot to offer each other”.
Uniting forces for university internationalization
The participation of the Chilean delegation in Brazil is part of a strategy for the internationalization of Chilean education in the South Cone. The initiative enjoys the support of the government through ProChile and is co-financed by 21 Chilean higher learning institutions, which since the year 2013 work collaboratively to attract students from all over the world to the Chilean classrooms and to generate new networks with foreign higher education facilities.
During the occasion, the entourage included representatives from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Universidad de Playa Ancha, Universidad de Los Lagos, Universidad del Desarrollo, Universidad del Bío-Bío, Universidad Santo Tomás, Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación and Universidad Viña del Mar, which have already reported advancements regarding international cooperation. For example, UBB projects a 10% increase in the number of foreign exchange students for this year, while UDD is on its way to signing new joint PhD program partnership agreements.
Avilez highlighted the importance of opening up academic borders, pointing out that “Relationships with foreign counterparts allows for the introduction of multicultural and global elements to the education of professionals, research and teaching, which has a direct impact in the indicators of development in Chilean universities”.