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Ever since the end of the Science without Borders (SwB) programme, there was a big pending question about its successor and the changes the Brazilian government might want to introduce in the future. Although SwB cannot be regarded as completely unsuccessful, there was a wide agreement that the programme demanded improvements on many levels. And as claimed by the Brazilian ministry of education and its funding agency CAPES, these improvements come in the form of the new programme, initially dubbed ‘More Science, More Development’, which finally became PrInt (Programa Institucional de Internacionalização).
Launched at the end of 2017, PrInt is Brazil’s newest attempt at strategic internationalisation and excellence in education and research. Unlike its predecessor, it targets graduate programmes only and leaves the management of mobility grants to universities themselves, meaning that scholarships are no longer granted directly to students but are managed through their university. It will also offer language courses to selected students, something that its predecessor failed to do, resulting in poor assimilation abroad due to the language barrier.
The programme is still in its early phase as the interested universities applied to the Ministry of Education with the required internationalisation plan (see ACA Newsletter – May 2017), so ACA contacted colleagues from Brazilian universities to inquire about their first experiences with the programme.
It is clear that PrInt requires a high degree of engagement from higher education institutions (HEIs) and aims to encourage strategic thinking at institutional level by asking for the four-year internationalisation plan although, as we were told, many institutions failed to involve their international offices in the discussions and preparation of the Plan.
In terms of its scale, the programme is supposedly to fund only 40 university projects within a very large numbers of Brazilian institutions, which comes across as quite limited. Furthermore, it will fund only programmes with a certain quality grade awarded by CAPES, which according to our interlocutors, automatically excludes some new and high-quality programmes just because they formally need several years of operation to be eligible for the required grade. Another issue around the programme’s prescriptiveness concerns international partnerships – apparently, 70% of every project’s funding will need to be allocated to partnerships with specific countries on the CAPES’ priority list.
All things concerned, and given that the programme is still in its early stage, so not a lot can be said about its potential success or failure. Universities hope for its expansion in the future to include more projects and higher education institutions, and to quote one of the colleagues from Brazil: “Capes-PrInt also shows that the government has seen the need of internationalising Graduate Programmes and is willing to invest in it, so this is always great news”.
More about PrInt (in Portugues only)