I have read before about schools such as Harvard and MIT opening free online course platforms for students in Brazil. It’s clear that traditional American universities are looking for new “clients” and opportunities, and Brazil with its 200 million population and fast-growing middle class eager for more, is a great target.
Lets face it though, that online education is great, but it cannot yet substitute real quality classroom education. Brazil has a huge gap in education, which will not be filled in anytime soon. I was happy to read this week that Columbia University is launching a new research center down here in Rio. I hope that they are actually able to set this up at a reasonable time frame.
Very key from this article, is that the research will focus on urban sustainability, education, and the competitiveness of the Brazilian economy. Which, aside from security issues, are the most commonly discussed topics here in terms of serious problems which are closely interlinked and whose solutions are way behind schedule.
My thinking is that Brazilian policy makers could perhaps benefit from the American pragmatism in terms of finding solutions for problems and getting ideas out of the paper.