Congress extends affirmative action system in universities

Two months after the United States Supreme Court dealt a blow to race-based affirmative action in higher education, Brazil reaffirmed and extended its own system, writes Naiara Galarraga Gortázar for El País.

Brazil’s National Congress, dominated by white, middle-aged men, made the momentous decision on 9 August. The recently approved update to the quota system has made significant changes. It permanently establishes socio-racial quotas, subject to review every 10 years. It also broadens the eligibility criteria for family income to ensure that it benefits not only the wealthy, but also includes quilombolas – descendants of rebellious slaves who live in communities established centuries ago.

The implementation of quotas, along with significant expansion of higher education advocated by the Workers’ Party, has led to unprecedented diversity in university classrooms. These classrooms now better reflect the demographics of Brazil compared to the beginning of the 21st century. Previously, upper-class whites made up 55% of the student body. However, a recent study by the Nexo digital news outlet revealed that lower- and middle-class Mestizo and Black students now make up the same percentage. In other words, the number of non-white students has quadrupled to 1.2 million in just 20 years.
Full report on the El País site