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Streamlined recognition of diplomas earned abroad

Under an administrative ruling issued by the Ministry of Education (MEC) on December 14, 2016, it should now be faster for students who have completed undergraduate or graduate studies abroad to obtain recognition of their diplomas in Brazil. The new rules stipulate that the decision to validate a diploma should take no longer than 180 days. Priority will be given to participants in the federal government’s Science without Borders scholarship program, who will receive their response within 60 days at most. There had previously been no time limit and the process could take years. The ruling also requires that the analysis of each case take the differences between educational systems into account and concentrate on the academic conditions under which the training occurred. According to Elizabeth Balbachevsky, coordinator of international evaluation for the ministry’s Department of Higher Education (SESU), the intention is to replace the previous system, which was limited to comparing course content and credit loads. “The absence of a predictable, expeditious system for recognizing diplomas has fueled strategies that prioritize training abroad that resembles what is available in Brazil. Consequently, Brazilian science has failed to explore the wealth of educational alternatives offered at top institutions around the world,” Balbachevsky says. MEC has also launched the Carolina Bori Portal, which provides information on the new law and the documentation process. The site is named in honor of psychologist Carolina Bori, the first woman to head the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC).