26 April 2018 at 9:00 am
A Brazil market update
Despite political uncertainties and financial hardships in Brazil, the number of Brazilian students seeking an international education has grown almost 24 percent from 246,000 in 2016 to 305,000 in 2017.
This trend is mirrored here in New Zealand which has experienced growth from Brazil in all sectors over the last three years.
In the following market update, ENZ’s Senior Market Development Manager, Ana Azevedo, and International Market Manager, Julian Ashby, talk about recent initiatives that shine a positive light on the Brazilian market.
Internationalising postgraduate departments
Following the recent hugely successful Latin American roadshow, ENZ hosted an Academic Cooperation Seminar – New Zealand & Brazil last month in Sao Paulo to promote collaboration between New Zealand and Brazilian universities.
Five of the eight New Zealand universities attended, sending nine senior academics to the event. From the Brazilian side, 17 universities were represented by 38 academics and international staff.
Ana said the aim of the forum was to capitalise on the recent announcement by the Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (their acronym is CAPES – which it should be noted is not the same as New Zealand’s CAPEs), which has established a programme to help internationalise Brazilian universities. The Program for Internationalisation of Brazilian Postgraduate Programs (BPP) is a successor to the earlier undergraduate programme known as ‘Science without Borders’.
CAPES is investing USD$350 million over the next four years to internationalise the universities’ postgraduate departments. Up to 40 Brazilian universities will be selected by CAPES to participate and proposals involving international partners are due in May.
For the next four years, this initiative will be the focus of the Brazilian universities.
The New Zealand Ambassador to Brazil, Caroline Bilkey, attended the forum as did representatives of FAPESP, the São Paulo Research Foundation.
“Successful proposals could greatly enhance New Zealand’s engagement with the region,” said Ana.
Ana acknowledged the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in contributing funding and logistical support to ensure the New Zealand academics could travel to Brazilian universities after the event to solidify partnerships.
Future Proof campaign shows high digital demand
Interest from Brazilian students in New Zealand can be further seen through the results of the Future Proof campaign that is running on multiple ENZ channels.
Brazil currently has the second most active users globally from the campaign with more than 10,000 views to the Study in New Zealand website and 1,000 referrals to New Zealand institutions’ websites.
“This demonstrates that whilst the Brazilian audience is generally very happy to view content, they are also engaging with the message to a higher extent than normal,” said Julian.
“The more we learn about Brazilian students from campaigns like this the more we can actively target those most receptive to our messages,” he said.
Activating media in Brazil
At the start of April, ENZ hosted two senior (rival) journalists from two of Brazil’s most influential media outlets, Exame and Folha de Sao Paulo, on a one-week trip through New Zealand.
The journalists sought to answer two key questions:
1. How had New Zealand become the #1 ranked country in the world for preparing students for the future?
2. How had New Zealand made international education such an important industry?
Julian noted the trip therefore provided an opportunity to highlight key messages to the Brazilian market.
“The journalists visited and interviewed teachers, principals, students (both New Zealand and Brazilian), officials and lecturers across the state education system and the results have been very pleasing,” he said
Some of the key observations about New Zealand’s education system from Fabio Takahashi of Folha de Sao Paulo were:
Ask three before me
Children are encouraged to ask their peers for help before approaching the teacher, the net effect of which frees teachers up for dedicated one-on-one time with students and demonstrates to students that teachers aren’t the only holders of knowledge.
Learning & teaching same word in Maori (Ako)
A common refrain from schools is that students aren’t there to be taught but to learn, and that teachers foster this from day one. Fabio latched onto the Maori word that symbolises this – Ako.
Schools as staging grounds for tertiary study
High schools provide a high level of autonomy to students in picking their own career path and mirrors tertiary study (choose courses, get credit). This is unheard of in Brazil.
Freedom vs pets
One of the most powerful interviews conducted was with a year 13 Brazilian student, who started off stating that NZ teachers were authoritarian and cold compared to the more ‘huggy’ first-name-basis Brazilian teachers. However, as the student talked, he began to reflect on how much independence and responsibility he had in New Zealand bringing him to the realisation that his life in Brazil was like that of a pet…his parents fed him, housed him, ran him around, made all his choices for him, while in New Zealand he was free to go where he liked if he could figure out how to get there and how to pay for it. You could see the pride he took in this epiphany that he was actually free and capable of making life choices.
Toddlers with tools
As you’ll see from the photo in the published article above, the other thing that impressed Fabio was the 4-year-olds armed with real saws and hammers!
The answer then for how we do it was revealed through every level of the education system. Children are encouraged to be active learners and this is achieved through a national curriculum that allows flexibility for each community to adapt aspects of education to their own surroundings.
Fabio produced a full-page article in the largest national newspaper in Brazil that fully articulates why New Zealand is the #1 country in the world for preparing students for the future.
Articles published to date include: “A paradise for learning”, “How teens build successful New Zealand businesses”, “These two MBAs in NZ have 100% employability”, “Brazilian lecturer and PhD student create start-ups in NZ”.
The reach of Exame’s online readership is in the 20 million range whilst the print edition of Folha De Sao Paulo enjoys 300,000 subscribers.
For comments or questions on this report, please contact Ana firstname.lastname@example.org (Brasila-based) or Julian email@example.com (Wellington-based).