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USA, higher education as a development policy: the role of the community colleges

Grant number: 11/17367-9
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: December 01, 2011 - November 30, 2013
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - Public Policies
Principal researcher:Reginaldo Carmello Corrêa de Moraes
Grantee:Reginaldo Carmello Corrêa de Moraes
Home Institution: Centro de Estudos de Cultura Contemporânea (CEDEC). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

This project aims to study a very peculiar educational institution - the American community colleges - and the role they have in the US pattern of development. It is part of a topic I have studied for a long time: the development theories, processes, and policies. It is also part of activities I carry out as a researcher of the National Institute of Science and Technology for Studies about United States (Fapesp process n. 2008/57710-1). In the 20th century, the American nation took international leadership in several dimensions -scientific, technological, economic, political, military, and cultural. It seems clear that the country's development policy - no matter whether it was declared or how it was named - demanded two additional initiatives: (a) improving scientific and technical knowledge, an activity in which a hundred of "research universities" had a decisive role, and (b) stimulating the familiarization and routine character of the results of that knowledge (products and processes) in the mass of inhabitants, in order to transform millions of natives and immigrants into citizens framed in an industrial society continuously opened to changing. The community colleges have been fulfilling this second function, sided by many large public universities mostly focused on teaching. Relevant traits of this system deserve studying: a) the multiple structures and missions of the community colleges; b) the network design of its deployment; c) the peculiar content (between high schools and university colleges) of its curricula, its teaching materials and methods. The research aims to result in a largely descriptive and exploratory work, displaying these three broad features. At a preliminary stage, we intend to draw up a summary table of the US Higher education system on the basis of secondary literature. After that, the study of the community colleges would be more detailed, including technical visits and interviews with American researchers. We believe that this could help to understand various aspects of the "American development experience" and, also, to illuminate alternatives, possibilities and risks of experiments by other countries, large and emerging, like Brazil. (AU)

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