The State of Portuguese E-learning in the BRICS

09 Francisco Manuel da Costa_largeby Francisco da Costa

Today we can surf around the world without a boat, but with a mouse. No more dressed as a sailor but in our living room with pajamas, and virtually with Google Translate, we can translate almost all languages and words and become polyglots. But, during the first period of globalization, the Portuguese language was the main vehicle of communication for voyagers, discovers, traders and sailors in many parts of the world. For instance, the Portuguese were the first to translate Japanese to a western language. By the way, Portuguese had a great influence on the Japanese language.

First, there was the ocean space to trade and communicate, now there is the cyber-space. Today, Portuguese is the 5th most spoken language on the internet and the 3rd on Facebook and Twitter. It is the official language in two of the BRICS Countries: Brazil and China-Macao (a former Portuguese territory until 1999).

In China, Portuguese is very trendy

Portugue?s e? a li?ngua da moda e do emprego na China. Within five years there will be over 5,000 college students learning Portuguese in China. Some Chinese universities have the second highest scores of entry in Portuguese studies. The University of Macao, the City University of Macao, (both are offering e-learning courses in Portuguese) the Macao Polytechnic Institute and the Portuguese Institute of the Orient have worked together to promote Portuguese language in China.

Portuguese e-learning made by Russia

In Moscow, a successful startup e-learning provider that focuses on the BRICS markets, is teaching business courses (in e-learning) in Portuguese for a  Brazilian audience. Under this Russian startup, tens of thousands of registered users were attracted to its courses and 80 percent of them were from Brazil and India.

The explosion of e-learning in Brazil

Brazil is living a terrific moment of explosion in Distance Education. According ABED, in 2011, about 3.5 million students enrolled in Distance Education courses in Brazil. This represents an increase of 58% from the previous year. More and more Brazilian universities are using e-learning technologies, more and more Brazilian students are doing Distance Education inside the country and abroad, and taking MOOCs. An American consultant from a very well known e-learning platform says that, since 2011, his business has increased in Brazil 300%.

Portuguese heritage in India and South Africa

Part of India (Goa) was a Portuguese territory until 1961. In India, Portugal assists with the growing demand to learn Portuguese. At this level, Camo?es Institute in India plays a main role in promoting e-learning courses. South Africa is a country with the largest and oldest Distance Learning University in Africa, UNISA (University of South Africa) located in Pretoria. Founded in 1873, it started to offer distance Education in 1946. This University has more than 300,000 students from around the world and stated to offer distance learning in many fields of study, from Bachelor degree, to Master’s and PhD. This university offers Portuguese language and culture courses. Fernando Pessoa, one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language, lived for a long period in South Africa and he wrote: “MINHA PATRIA E? MINHA LINGUA” (“My homeland is my language”).